What motivates employees to do a good job? How can organisations get the best out of their people?
These are questions that HR experts face every day.
Whilst all departments throughout the company can and should execute various employee engagement measures, HR departments are particularly vital for employee engagement approaches to be successful.
The impact of employee engagement on employee retention, as well as well-being and productivity, is something that HR experts must keep at the forefront of their initiatives.
Wondering how to do this?
In this blog, we’ll take you through the 6 ways HR experts can help with employee engagement, along with the benefits you can expect from putting together a successful strategy.
So let's get straight into it!
What Is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals.
This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don't just work for the pay, but work on behalf of the organisation's goals, ultimately creating more success for the company.
Engaged employees usually have key the same key characteristics:
They are active participants in the work they produce. They want to do it and they want to get it done to the best of their abilities - for both the employer and themselves.
They understand the company and where the company is heading - and what their contribution does to help them achieve that.
They are happy and content within their role.
They are committed to their work and when challenges arise, they are committed to overcoming them as well. Even introverted workers will step out of their comfort zones to complete the tasks.
Engaged employees are enthusiastic about their job - which means that they simply enjoy their work and their time spent there. Negativity towards projects rarely occurs in an enthusiastic employee.
So why is employee engagement so important?
Why Is Employee Engagement Important?
Organisations are continuing to struggle to engage their workforce. Even with 20 plus years of employee engagement awareness. Why is this?
In July 2017, just 41% of UK employees felt aligned with their organisations’ goals, and 36% of employees were likely to leave their jobs within one year due to disengagement.
The benefits of employee engagement simply can’t be overlooked – employee engagement has been proven to:
- Reduce staff turnover
- Improve productivity and efficiency
- Increase employee retention
- Deliver higher profits
- Boost business connectivity and performance
- Reduction in absenteeism
Not only does engagement have a positive effect on the employee, your company massively reaps the benefits of a happy and engaged workforce.
Difference Between Engaged and Disengaged Employees
The number of engaged employees within a business can often be an indicator of success.
As of January 2020, 38% of employees were disengaged and 21% of employees were actively disengaged.
The number of disengaged employees in a business can highlight serious workplace dysfunction, poor work culture and even a lack of clarity when it comes to roles and skills.
So what should HR specialists really be watching out for? Let’s take a look at the difference between engaged and disengaged employees:
Engaged workers are enthusiastic about the work they do. You look forward to seeing them on a Monday morning because their energy is contagious.
Engaged employees will most likely demonstrate:
- Consistently high levels of performance
- Natural innovation and a drive for efficiency
- Intentional building of supportive efficiency
- Clear understanding about their roles
- Emotional commitment to what they do
- High energy enthusiasm
- Commitment to their organisation
Disengaged workers, on the other hand, view their jobs as an exchange of time for a paycheck.
They arrive and leave on time, never volunteer for extra work or projects, and do little else beyond the minimal effort.
They usually show little passion or creativity for their jobs and go through the motions.
Disengaged workers may have been actively engaged workers at one time. Somewhere along the way, though, they became disengaged, maybe because of a lack of career growth or promotion, salary, job dislike, or distrust in their direct manager and senior management.
Disengaged employees will most likely demonstrate:
- Negative attitude
- Low Performance
- More absences
- Low energy
- Little to no commitment to their organisation
- Low productivity
6 Ways an HR Expert Can Help With Employee Engagement
If you're starting to see engagement levels dropping, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
We’re going to give you 6 ways that can help you bring engagement levels back up to where they should be.
1. Communicate Regularly
When considering the notion of how to improve employee engagement, communication is one of the most important factors to bear in mind.
After all, communication is integral to our everyday lives, especially in the workplace!
It determines how effectively we fulfil our daily tasks and how we engage with colleagues.
Maybe you’re seeing increased miscommunication between your employees. Especially if you’re a large organisation or enterprise.
This is probably due to staff unable to communicate with one another or maybe they rely on outdated and inefficient processes to exchange information.
Of course, with fewer staff relying on desktop-based devices than ever before, facilitating communication for office based and deskless employees is vital!
As an HR expert, improving your workforce communication methods should be one of the first things to look at.
I bet you’re thinking, ‘this sounds fantastic but where do I start?’
Firstly, think about establishing open management communications. From an “open door” policy to informal meetings, staff need to feel as if they can approach their managers for whatever they need to.
Secondly, review your methods of communication. Are you still using email to communicate with your employees? Are messages getting lost or simply not being read?
This is where a company intranet might be handy to have. Not only are they designed to engage. They give your employees a platform to communicate easily and effectively, from anywhere.
Why not get rid of the traditional workplace barriers? With so many integrated social features on an intranet, your employees can communicate in ways that are engaging to them.
2. Invest in Employee Wellbeing
Employee wellbeing and engagement go hand in hand.
It’s far easier for individuals to engage with their work when their organisation makes an effort to enhance their overall wellbeing.
So, what can you do to shift your focus more towards employee wellbeing?
Firstly, a company-wide wellness initiative is a great way to improve employee engagement. Employees that feel valued and genuinely cared for by their business are much more inclined to return the favour.
From incorporating flexible working to longer staff holidays, or even giving them extra benefits such as paying for gym memberships, these are all easily workable solutions that can help staff feel like they are really cared for.
3. Conduct Regular Employee Pulse Surveys
More often than not, engagement fails due to senior management not asking for feedback.
Pulse surveys are a brilliant tool for gathering useful feedback from your employees.
They’re a great way to understand how people in your organisation really think and feel about certain subjects. With quality data behind you, you can always be confident in making the right changes.
Sent out on a consistent basis - either monthly, quarterly or even weekly - Pulse Surveys act as a check in and can range on topics from employee satisfaction, communication, the work environment and more.
The results from pulse surveys are measurable and provide you with data so you can analyse which areas of the business need improvements to take action.
They allow businesses to gauge interest, understand an employee's opinion, gather feedback and more. Sounds great, right?
Recommended Reading 📖 : Pulse Surveys: The Ultimate Beginners Guide
If your employees don’t know what their organisation's values and purpose is, they won't be invested in the company’s success.
As an HR professional, you should be clear in what your organisation stands for and what the values are.
What are the key values of the business and why is this important?
Think about why it might or might not attract potential employees - especially those who want to feel engaged.
From corporate messaging to the conversations that take place, your organisation’s values and purpose are the defining elements that need to be seriously considered.
5. Empower Your Employees
Empowering your employees can be anything from being transparent to recognising them for any achievements, however big or small.
Recognising your employees goes a long way to making your staff feel valued and increasing their productivity that little bit more.
Over 91% of HR professionals believe that recognition and reward make employees more likely to stay.
Not only will their motivation increase, but others will feel inspired to work for the very same recognition, ultimately boosting workplace morale.
So, how can you start?
Well, employee recognition software helps companies boost morale and let their employees know that they care by celebrating milestones like birthdays, work anniversaries and achievements.
This creates a positive working environment, which will in turn, boost morale, improve employee wellbeing and increase engagement and productivity.
6. Credit Good Work
Similar to empowering your employees, one of the most important things to consider when trying to improve engagement is to credit good work.
Employees want to know they feel valued and appreciated, so making sure you give them some recognition for their hard work will go a long way.
This is a simple and effective way of celebrating your people and boosting morale.
What are the Benefits of Employee Engagement?
Now that we’ve covered the ways you can increase employee engagement, let’s take a look at the benefits.
Improved Employee Satisfaction
It’s important to note that employee engagement is not the same as employee satisfaction.
Satisfaction is boosted the more engaged your employees are.
A feeling of greater self-worth and that they are being valued for their contributions is part of the benefits of improved employee engagement.
Recommended Reading 📖 : What is Employee Satisfaction and How Can we Measure it?
Everyone wants their employees to be happy, right?
Well, there is no need to intimidate, micromanage or resort to peer pressure when your employees are happy.
In fact, they want to be here doing the work.
They don’t require to be told to get on with tasks, instead, they respond well to workshops and reviews as they see them as a positive to getting the best out of them and progressing within the company.
Decrease in Absenteeism
Did you know that engaged employees are more invested in their job and care about the success of the business?
No? Well, there’s more...
They are also firmly committed to their organisation's mission, and they're going to arrive every day with the intention to make sure it gets done.
Highly engaged workplaces saw 41% lower absenteeism!
In fact, taking the occasional day off can be a sign that employees are engaged. They feel secure in their role, and they're confident one missed day won't affect their workload.
However, you should be concerned about engagement levels when patterns of absenteeism begin to develop.
Improved Employee Health
An engaged employee is more likely to have better health than a disengaged one.
But why is this?
Since engaged employees are happier, they are less likely to be stressed about work and instead look forward to coming to work every day.
Increased Staff Retention
Who doesn't want high employee retention?
Well engaged employees don’t have a reason to look elsewhere for work.
I know, it almost sounds too good to be true! (But it’s not!)
A company’s employee retention improves when:
- Employees know they will be recognised and appreciated for their contributions.
- Employees see opportunities for professional growth and career development.
- They understand when business change happens and why.
All of these factors help improve employee engagement and establish trust between the workforce and their employer.
Measuring Employee Engagement
Measuring employee engagement the right way is often something a lot of companies struggle with.
The most common way to measure engagement is using surveys, but that's not all you should be using.
Surveys are only a small part of your engagement strategy and only one way of measuring. Employee engagement is a complex issue that requires effort from everyone within your company.
Let’s take a look at the other various metrics that can be used to measure and assess employee engagement.
Is your absentee rate increasing?
You will notice if your workplace is starting to become more absent or taking longer periods of time off.
You should begin to get a feel of those who are repeatedly missing work. The next step is to discuss how you can get these employees more engaged.
You may be noticing your retention rate is declining and employees starting to leave.
There is no defined rule for what a good retention rate is, but an industry number that gets thrown around is 10% over 12 months. If you have less than a 10% turnover, that is seen as positive - it all depends on the size of the business and the industry.
The average cost to replace an employee earning £25k sits at around £30,614. It’s a cost that can be avoided if you put the right measures in place.
Employee productivity is the engine on which a business thrives.
The more efficient your workforce is, the more your company will succeed. Productive employees focus on the right things at the right times. There’s very little wasted effort, and the work they do creates the results you want.
Knowing if your employee is meeting goals/targets is key in productivity.
Businesses have been using Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure customer satisfaction for years.
It can be hard to measure the feeling toward a business, so a scoring system can help make the exercise a bit more scientific.
Generally, questions are answered on a scale from 0 to 10, where anyone answering 0 to 6 is considered a detractor, 7 and 8 are considered passive, and 9 and 10 respondents are considered promoters.
To calculate your employee NPS, you simply subtract your detractors from your promoters (and ignore the passives) and divide by the total number of respondents: Employee NPS = (promoters - detractors)/ total respondents.
Employee satisfaction is a measure of how much an individual enjoys their job and how content they are in their role.
How satisfied an employee is with their job can deeply affect an organisation. From productivity slumps to loss of valuable employees, if job satisfaction isn’t measured within your organisation, it could face consequences.
Download Your Employee Engagement Guide for HR Experts
Still not sure where to start?
Don’t worry, we’ve put together a step by step guide, specifically for HR experts to help improve employee engagement across your organisation.
What Is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to their organisation and its goals. They don't work just for the pay, but work on behalf of the organisation's goals, ultimately creating more success for the company.
How Do You Improve Employee Engagement?
Companies that value their employees will reap the rewards of a dedicated, passionate and skilled workforce. You must put your employees' well being first, emphasising a good company culture.
Are you an HR expert and want to share your thoughts on employee engagement in the workplace?