“Whenever we forget about the human need to be engaged and interested in the work to be done, technology can alienate even the information worker.” — Karl Marx, 19th century philosopher and sociologist.
Successfully engaging employees can have a profound impact on your workplace on many levels. It means that employees aren’t merely going through the motions to earn a paycheck, but are genuinely motivated and invested in their jobs. When you’re able to get your employees to “buy in” and give more than just the bare minimum, it can be a catalyst for progress while accelerating the growth of your business.
What is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is defined on Custom Insight’s website as “The extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work.” Simply put, it’s when employees are motivated beyond earning a paycheck and give a strong effort when performing their jobs.
What Does an Engaged Employee Look Like?
Engaged employees look forward to coming to work and understand that they personally contribute to the success of their company. There’s a feeling of inclusiveness, and they feel like what they do matters. Rather than feeling detached or alienated, there is a sense of connection — and engaged employees are passionate and enthusiastic about their jobs.
Benefits of Employee Engagement
Probably the most obvious advantage of engaging employees is increased productivity. In fact, research found on the Harvard Business Review website reports that “Organizations with a high level of engagement report 22 percent higher productivity.” That’s definitely not a number to scoff at and is tangible proof that there’s a positive correlation between employee engagement and productivity.
Some other significant benefits include:
- Decreased turnover/higher employee retention rate
- Higher employee morale
- Less absenteeism and tardiness
- Fewer accidents and safety incidents
When you combine all of these benefits, it means one very important thing for employers — increased profitability.
Fostering Engagement in the Workplace
While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for engaging employees, there are several techniques that should help. First of all, you’ll want to establish a company culture where employees are involved and actively participate. This means asking for their feedback, allowing them to make certain decisions and treating them as equals.
Direct communication is also key and allows you to get to know your employees on a personal basis. By speaking with employees face-to-face or on the phone, you should be able to develop stronger rapport.
Some other ideas include:
- Ensuring that they’re properly trained to perform their jobs at a high level
- Providing opportunities for growth and development (e.g. educational training and leadership development programs)
- Recognizing significant accomplishments
- Creating an encouraging atmosphere rather than one that’s fear-based
- Providing teamwork building opportunities where employees can become more cohesive
- Offering support
- Addressing any issues your employees may have and working to come up with a solution
Employee engagement is an often overlooked but essential part of running nearly any business. By creating an environment where everyone is working for the greater good of the company and exerting a hearty effort, you can extract the most from your manpower, and your company will be in a better position for achieving sustainable success.