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Managers and organizational leaders may ask themselves, why is employee engagement important? The simple answer would be that an engaged workforce is passionate about their work, which is likely to translate to the organization’s success, all other factors held constant.
Employee engagement can yield significant benefits to your organization. First, increased productivity could ease organizational goal attainment. You can also observe higher employee retention rates, besides improved revenue generation. Thirdly, happier employees can provide better quality services, leading to higher customer loyalty and retention rates. Managerial roles can also be more accessible when the workforce is more driven and innovative.
Conversely, employee disengagement could have adverse effects. This article will explore the impact of employee disengagement on your organization and how to resolve them best. However, employee engagement does not happen on its own. The employer has to be deliberate about it. This article explains why employee engagement is important and provides a guide on achieving employee engagement it in an organizational setting. IF you would like to speak about developing a bespoke strategy with one of our workforce experts, contact us today.
What Exactly is Employee Engagement?
Definitions of employee engagement mostly center around the positive behaviors that engaged employees tend to exhibit. These behaviors include a commitment and willingness to contribute to the organization’s success. Engaged employees are proactive and go beyond their job description in matters such as innovation.
These outcomes can only be achieved when the organization shows interest in employees by asking for their opinions and concerns and incorporating this feedback into decisions. Generic gestures such as weekly office parties intended to foster interaction may appear insincere if the organization managers do not involve employees in matters that affect them. However, this is all easier said than done.
Engagement is a Two-Way Street
Managers cannot achieve employee engagement by simply implementing a list of ideas they believe will make employees feel valued. They must go a step further and determine whether the said ideas elicit a reciprocal response where the employees are more willing to contribute to the organization’s mission out of their volition. Managers can achieve this by showing a sincere interest in employee issues, listening, and incorporating these ideas in decision-making. That way, employees feel they are part of an entity that cares about them and are likely to reciprocate the same in their undertakings.
So, Exactly Why is Employee Engagement Important?
The answer to this question should come from the organization and an employee standpoint.
Engaged employees are more purposeful and enthusiastic about their work, leading to positive performance outcomes. An engaged employee is more likely to be productive, less likely to be absent from work, and more likely to deliver quality output. These outcomes occur because engaged employees hold the organization in high regard and are unlikely to carry out actions that jeopardize the organization’s operations.
Employee engagement also inspires innovation since employees have a voice, and managers value employee feedback and infuse it into the decisions at the organization. Engaged employees are also not micromanaged, meaning they are left to explore their creativity and contribute ideas that support the organization’s shared purpose.
Lastly, engaged employees have opportunities for career progression and a better work-life balance and wellness since the organization cares about their holistic wellbeing beyond the workplace.
How Employee Engagement Impacts Work Performance
Understanding the relationship between employee engagement and work performance can require a manager to consider the following:
- Whether career advancement opportunities are available for employees.
- Understanding the roles and responsibilities of individuals.
- The training, tools, and resources necessary to perform specific jobs in the organization,
- The recognition accorded to employee contributions to the organization.
- Whether employees are offered a chance to express their opinions freely.
- Whether managers express their care for the workforce effectively.
- How meaningful employee duties are, whether they better the organization or society.
Providing employees with a chance to improve their expertise, combined with a positive organizational culture, can improve individual and team performance. The next step would be to retain top talent by keeping them engaged with the organization.
How Employee Engagement Strengthens Key Business Areas
Employee engagement could yield massive benefits to the organization, ranging from increased revenue to higher customer satisfaction rates. Here are crucial areas that can improve with proper employee engagement.
How Employee Engagement Improves Customer Satisfaction
Customers are happier when they:
- Receive high-quality services
- Identify with organizational values
- They are valued by the organization based on their taste and preference
Engaged employees can lead to improved customer satisfaction in several ways. First, they can offer “above and beyond” service. Employees passionate about their duties extend beyond minimum requirements in service delivery. Personal and intrinsic motivation drives excellence that customers directly feel. Ultimately, customers can feel valued and become more loyal to the organization.
Employees can help to communicate the primary beliefs held by an organization. Customers are likely to identify with brands that share positive traits. The factor can improve sales in the long term through improved customer loyalty.
Engaged employees offer their engagement with customers due to attention and focus. Employees’ verbal expressions and gestures can confirm to customers how much the organization values their relationship.
How Employee Engagement Helps Drive Sales
Consumers often value organizations that offer personalized services. Happy customers translate to higher revenues. Employees play a crucial role in confirming the value attached to customer relations.
Dedicated employees can express their contentment by offering customers premium services. Minor issues such as providing customers multiple options and helping them make an informed choice can significantly benefit the organization.
Traits possessed by engaged employees, such as effective communication, further improve sales. The care given to customer orders can further enhance their satisfaction and loyalty to the organization.
How Employee Engagement Inspires Workplace Innovation
Managers can observe better organizational performance by engaging employees instead of embedding desired behavior in the job description. Employees linked to an organization’s internal and external aspects constantly explore better ways of increasing their productivity. Engaged employees can express their commitment through constant learning and innovation to meet specific goals in the required time and manner.
What You Can Do To Improve Employee Engagement Right Now
Engaged employees value their work and contribution to the organization. Their enthusiasm and dedication can enable them to perform better. When organizations focus on improving employee perceptions around the Manager, Organization, Job, and Team, they’ll see an increase in employee well-being, performance, and retention & engagement. Here are simple ways in which one can immediately start engaging employees.
Encourage and provide opportunities to improve and grow.
Offering employee growth opportunities can help to engage and retain them more. Chances to perform better in individual careers can be a great way to maintain high enthusiasm and dedication among employees. One can add online training sessions and webinars to employee development programs. The strategy can cost-effectively improve employee skills. Complementing peer coaching with manager mentorship can give good results too.
Advocate for work-life balance
Providing an excellent work-life balance can improve employee engagement in an organization. Shifting focus from time-based appraisal methods to productivity-based ones can help employees balance social and professional duties. Maintaining a reasonable workload can motivate employees to perform better and value their position in the organization. Introducing arrangements such as remote working and offering flexible working hours can help to improve workplace satisfaction and loyalty.
Pledge to focus on better health and wellness for employees
Creating a mutually beneficial relationship can improve employee loyalty levels to an organization. Employee wellness programs should raise awareness of possible physical and mental issues. Creating a regular wellness event program and fitness challenges can help to improve employee engagement.
Creating the Right Environment For a Positive Experience
Managers can foster employee engagement by implementing several strategies. For one, they should try a bottom-up approach where they strive to understand the concerns of the employees as well as their thought process to understand their wants and needs.
The organization should also maintain open channels of communication where employees know what is required of them and feel free to express themselves freely as they work on assigned duties.
Equally important, managers should be willing to appreciate and recognize employee efforts. Doing so could entail hosting an annual award ceremony or extending a simple gesture of appreciation or compliment for work well done.
It is also advisable that organizations have a clear path in career development where employees do not stagnate but climb the corporate ladder as they gain knowledge and experience at the workplace. Giving employees a greater role in the organization makes them feel valued, something monetary additions may not achieve.
Managers who understand how to foster engagement are also critical in creating a conducive environment. Few employees can fulfill their potential when their managers constantly breathe down their necks. Thus, managers must not micromanage employees if they intend to achieve engagement.
The organization must also show employees how their roles contribute to the mission. Doing so shows employees that they are contributing to something important in the broader scope of things, which creates a sense of purpose.
A Silver Lining to the COVID-19 Pandemic
The pandemic brought about numerous disruptions, especially in the workplace, where organizations had to rethink their work model to remain productive in an uncertain business climate. From a positive standpoint, it allowed organizations to re-examine and reevaluate their engagement with employees regarding onboarding, communication, and feedback. Now more than ever, businesses understand the need to strengthen employee engagement to ensure organizational success.
Employer Engagement Interviews Lower Turnover: a Success Story
Employee disengagement can lead to high costs to the organization. Organizations can decrease the expenses of losing employees and increase productivity by using the right tools. Finding out the reasons for employee disengagement and departure can help to make effective corrective strategies. Effective employee engagement strategies can have numerous benefits, as illustrated by the case study below.
Renal Advantage, Inc. (RAI) was born out of a complex merger—it combined 73 freestanding dialysis centers. The organization experienced significant employee disengagement and a 42% turnover rate.
RAI managers decided to measure the impact of the merger on employee needs, wants, and perceptions of the new organization. The idea was partly motivated by the differences between the merging companies, DaVita Inc and Gambro Healthcare. The managers aimed to gain a competitive advantage by differentiating themselves as an attractive employer. An outstanding workforce was projected to compensate for the limited resources (compared with key rivals).
RAI’s managers immediately noted the problems they were faced with. First, the gaps in employee supply and demand only worsened the case, given that the nursing population was aging. Secondly, managers estimated that up to 17% of the workforce was dissatisfied, an issue that could translate to high turnover costs.
RAI identified two priority areas for them to attain organizational goals. First, they would mitigate the supply and demand gaps. Then, they would attract and retain top talent better than their rivals.
The Employee Engagement Solution
Work Institute implemented an EmployER Engagement program that covered the entire employee population. The intervention used qualitative and quantitative methods to measure the following factors among employees:
- Their perception of the new employer (RAI)
- The quality of the organization’s supervisory programs.
- Employees’ intention to continue working in RAI.
RAI focused on improving the areas that were highlighted by the Work Institute’s analysis of the workforce. The organization focused on enhancing its perception by employees, supervisor performance, and reducing turnover. RAI then developed measurement scales to measure and track the progress made in critical processes. For example, the organization adopted a 5-point rating scale to evaluate the progress made in equitable resource allocation. Specific milestones would guide follow-up studies.
Supervisors were trained based on the employee study. Their actions were measured relative to the benchmarks identified in the study. As a result, the supervisors became more aware of their strengths and weaknesses. They also identified opportunities for self and organizational improvement.
The Effective Results and Impact
At the end of the intervention, the following results were acquired:
- The proportion of employees that regarded the employer as excellent increased by 22%.
- 10% more employees rated their supervisor as “excellent.”
- The number of employees intending to leave the organization dropped to 16% (from 22%).
- Turnover in the organization reduced from 24% to 12%.
Engagement Studies Provide Effective Engagement and Productivity
Engagement studies can help to capture the spectrum of employee experiences. The goal is to better understand issues such as reduced productivity and high turnover rates despite constant employee engagement.
The process is not a one-way street—employers share a huge responsibility for specific employee behavior. Work institute understands the collective nature of employee engagement. The development of the Employer Engagement model aims to address the key issues that are often overlooked. The tool creates an organizational climate where employees have intrinsic motivation and dedication.
Employee engagement studies can help in the following ways:
- They offer employees a chance to express their concerns freely. Employees also suggest ways in which the employer can capitalize on their strengths and take full advantage of the available opportunities.
- The Employer Engagement model establishes “why” employees depict specific behavior. The approach enables organizations to address the root causes of problems such as high turnover.
- The Employer Engagement model helps to measure and track progress consistently. Thus, organizations stay focused on key engagement goals.
- Using data helps the organization attain short- and long-term goals quickly.
Improve Your Organization’s Workforce Today
Work Institute focuses on employee engagement and retention solutions. Our employer engagement model can help to collect critical data on attracting talent, training, onboarding, stay, and exit interviews.
Why is employee engagement important? Understanding employee behaviors and attitudes can help to engage them better to improve organizational performance. You can learn more about employee engagement by filling out an online form to get in touch with our team here at Work Institute. You can also always explore our retention reports for further information and organizational support.
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