Why Is Employee Engagement Important?
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. 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 it in an organizational setting.
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.
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 Can We Increase Employee Engagement?
Now that one understands why employee engagement is important, it is only prudent to know how to achieve it for the benefit of the employees and the organization.
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.
How to Engage Your Employees
Employee engagement entails showing genuine care for the workforce, which materializes in them showing reciprocity by investing themselves in the vision and mission of the organization. Managers can show this care by listening, understanding, and addressing employees’ concerns and including their feedback in decisions at the management level. An organization that engages its employees will likely experience massive growth and attract and retain the best talent.
At the Work Institute, we can help you implement this at the workplace. Contact us today for guidance on achieving positive outcomes for the organization through employee engagement.
Image Credit: ANDREI ASKIRKA/Shutterstock