When you have employees that are completely engaged in their work, they can achieve amazing results. Unfortunately, employee engagement surveys have also revealed that nearly 70% of employees are uninspired and unengaged at the workplace. If you have a business that is full of unhappy, disengaged employees then your organization is in jeopardy. Without a drive to achieve excellence, employees are less likely to contribute to their team’s collaborative efforts, which can potentially destroy your business. Profitability suffers, team member retention sits at lows, and absenteeism might run rampant in your workplace.
Why are Engaged Employees So Important?
According to Gallup, the lack of employee engagement costs businesses anywhere from $450 billion to $550 billion a year. You can actually save money by setting new inititatives to increase employee engagement.
Think about it like this – what are the positive impacts of having engaged employees? An engaged workforce isn’t going to be contributing to your employee turnover rate. Instead of looking for other employment, they’ll be taking advantage of growth opportunities in your organization. The company culture will likely place an emphasis on employee experience, meaning even new employees will quickly learn during onboarding that this work environment is welcoming and fulfilling. Employees will be quick and excited to dive into work, with less stress taking a toll on their mental health, so they’ll be productive day after day. With all these pros in mind, it’s no surprise that companies try to adopt an employee engagement strategy.
There’s really no downside to promoting employee engagement in the workplace, but often times businesses struggle with how to achieve it. Here are some practical steps and employee engagement ideas to help employees thrive in your workplace culture.
Step 1: Find out what your employees want and need
The first and most important step is to talk to your team and get employee feedback. It is best not to assume that every employee has all the tools, training, or support from management that they need. Check in with them and find out what they need, straight from their mouths. As you do this, be clear with them about what you are trying to achieve. As an added bonus, open communication in this manner might directly improve engagement, but only if you follow through on the information and metrics you gain to improve the company culture.
Consider making this a recurring event – pulse surveys can help you learn more about how you can improve employee retention and stay on target with your organization’s mission on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Are employees happy with current development opportunities?
Do they feel enough there’s enough employee recognition for jobs done well?
How’s the work schedule, or their work-life balance, under the current leadership team?
You may feel disappointed in some of their answers, but it’s better to have an issue identified than to let employees wallow in disengagement until they burnout and start to look for a new job entirely. Let your team know you’re passionate about them being more engaged, and willing to take the necessary steps to get them there.
Step 2: Make an action plan
With your employee’s feedback in hand, you’ll want to determine what needs and wants of theirs you want to address first. You may want to consider how quickly you can implement changes and how it will impact your employee’s engagement. Here are a few core values to keep in mind when deciding which engagement issue to address first.
- Will it reduce personal anxiety?
- Will it ensure clarity of objectives?
- Will it minimize uncertainty?
- Will it improve employee satisfaction?
If you see a common theme amongst your employees that they feel they don’t have all the necessary tools to do the highest quality work possible, then perhaps that should be your first action step. Ask yourself the above questions to determine if it will improve engagement. If I provide my employees with better work tools, will it reduce personal anxiety? The answer will most likely be yes as employees would feel more confident in their abilities with the correct tools. Go over each piece of feedback and order them from the most important to least important. Don’t forget to take into account how quickly you can address the feedback.
Step 3: Regularly update employees
Now that you’ve got a plan in place to take action, you need to keep your employees informed. You’ll need to update your employees regularly to let them know their feedback is being taken seriously and steps are being taken to promote employee engagement. This doesn’t need to be a complicated process. It could be as simple as sending a weekly email to keep your employees informed and engaged in the process.
Step 4: Check in with your employees after you’ve made changes
After you have implemented some changes to better cultivate employee engagement, check in with your employees to see how they feel. Following up with your employees will make them feel as though you genuinely care about their work life and wish to see them succeed – resulting in higher employee engagement. You might find they aren’t completely happy with a change you’ve made, and you may end up back at the drawing board.
Step 5: Recognize great work
Once you have reached step 5, you should have already taken several action steps to improve employee engagement at your business. To help keep engagement up, be sure to let your employees know often that you have noticed improvements in their work. You could even go as far as compensating them for their efforts. Recognition, positive feedback, and appreciation for a job well done is an extremely effective way to create an environment of engagement.
One of the best ways to improve employee engagement is by getting feedback from employees and taking steps to implement changes based on their needs and wants. This involves the employee through the entire process, making them feel as though they now have a vested interest in the business. They are helping you make positive changes, and in turn, you will see employee engagement improve dramatically.