Employee engagement should be considered of great eminence at every stage of a business. The zeal to achieve real change needs to come from the top of the pyramid and hence the engagement levels of an organization’s employees cannot be entirely the concern of middle managers. Senior executives and officers need to recognize what employee engagement is and why is it so significant. They need to make measurements and improvements keeping on that front, since doing so brings considerable rewards.
You’ll attract the employees you need if you can explain why your mission is compelling; not why is it important in general, but why you’re doing something essential that no one else is going to get done.
To begin with, it’s important to establish exactly what engagement stands for. Employee satisfaction is often quantified, but employees can be delighted at their jobs without really putting confidence in their roles. Many business leaders try to improve workplace satisfaction without trying to affect engagement. For obvious reasons, introducing a game room would make your employees happier, but does it ensure that they are more likely to stay with you, or care about the organization? Not necessarily. Most employees aren’t engaged, even in a happy workplace— estimated that global engagement levels are just 15% across the organizations on a global scale.
Engaged employees tend to work more diligently, stick around longer, and get you more satisfied customers. After all, the way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel.
Among the many perks of an engaged workforce, some of the most significant are better retention, productivity, efficiency, and customer evaluation and feedback. While assessing employee engagement can be a tricky business, since it is a far more qualitative measure, these hard figures make it easier to see the effects that employee engagement can have.
How to boost employee engagement in an organization?
What do engaged employees look like? They’re the ones who take the extra mile without being asked. They take their time in an exchange with a customer even if they’re about to get done with their shift. They’re passionate about their work and more productive for it.
Let’s take the example of the 700 engaged Apple developers that developed and deployed iOS 10 within 2 years, while their 12,000 disengaged Microsoft counterparts took almost 5 years to roll out Vista. When employees are engaged, they are more productive, year after year, leading to a huge upper hand over the competition, as time goes on.
Southwest Airlines is well known for its highly engaged employees who are known to go the extra mile to delight and comfort customers and motivate customer loyalty that is unconventional in the industry. Haven’t you heard of the flight attendant who amused passengers by rapping safety announcements?
While you may be able to observe noticeable signs of highly motivated employees, measuring and enhancing engagement across your organization can be more difficult. Here are some steps you can take to evaluate your current standard and begin to improve them.
1. Measure engagement through peopleHum’s NPS and Engagement index analytics
Executives can measure engagement by asking the right questions… and the traditional 50-question annual survey is not the only way to achieve this. Industry pacesetter peopleHum has refined the approach to questions covering topics from workplace expectations to having a best friend in the office. Moreover, modules like employee voice, recognition, etc are adding the cherry on the top. More and more companies are thus using peoplehum’s modified version of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and engagement index, which was originally devised to measure employee engagement. A few tweaks make the questions suitable for employees, giving you a snapshot figure for what percentage of respondents are passionate or active promoters of the business.
2. Start from the top and work down into the details
By asking fewer questions at the beginning, you can home in on weaknesses in engagement. A San Francisco-based workflow management company, Wrike uses just one question for their top-level key result: “Is Wrike the best organization you’ve ever worked at?”. From there, you can scour into the details of specific areas. you can start with questions like “Do you get opportunities to grow?”, and then spade deeper by following up with “Does your manager offer you enough support” and “Do you feel encouraged and empowered to pursue your own development?”
3. Check-in frequently and make it easier (mobile-friendly!)
It’s no good gathering engagement data at the end of the year; by the time you realize that employees have been unsatisfied and unhappy for the last 11 months, chances are you might be losing some of them!
Instead, the best leaders in the business are checking-in far more often. Intel runs polls quarterly to determine employee satisfaction and commitment. Meanwhile, Amazon, having modified their approach to employee engagement after previous years’ less-than-stellar reviews, polls employees on a daily basis in an effort to address day-to-day inconveniences.
4. Track attrition and efficiency
We’ve brought up how employee engagement results in positive changes for your business and its bottom line, so you should be calibrating these key metrics to see if your enhanced efforts at engagement are having a distinguishable effect and what should those efforts involve?
(Read peopleHum's blog on text recruiting and to see how it can keep your candidates engaged)
5. Define a vision/goal everyone can commit to
Engagement comes from buying into the ideology and purpose of the company and linking that to the day-to-day actions required of employees. If your business has a clear vision, it’s much easier to fathom how an individual’s contribution can fit into that. Let’s take the example of Reelgood, the streaming guide, whose ideology statement is simple and determined: “To be the place where people go to when they want to watch any TV series or movie.”
While McDonald’s has a vision on the lengthy side, it does clearly illustrate exactly what it expects of its employees: “To become the best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best symbolizes providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.”
6. Put processes in place to understand your culture
It is a very well saying that you want to encourage certain values within your business, but this won’t happen without you putting any effort on your part. Contemplate what you can do to ensure that the behaviors you’re looking for are promoted.
Google perfectly illustrated its commitment to creativity and innovation with the “20% time” rule, where employees were motivated to spend time on side projects, the likes of which gave rise to Gmail and Google Maps among many successful others.
John Lewis is another perfect example. While merely calling employees “partners” might have appeared to be an eye-catching novelty, the fact that the company truly invests in an employee ownership model has seen it successfully grow into the United Kingdom’s largest employee-owned business.
7. Give your employees internal communication tools
Technology has completely transformed the way we communicate, but not all organizations have kept up at the same pace as consumers. It’s important to make the most of the ever-connected culture that has evolved and use that to drive engagement in the workplace.
Employees will be more engaged when they are able to bond with colleagues, work together, and get more done. Team messaging platforms make this way easier than ever. You can also use these tools to connect the leaders with the rest of your employees. Virgin Trains encouraged this sort of “conversational leadership” with dedicated channels where leaders answered questions.
8. Keep assessing and engaging
The principal thing to remember with any transformational efforts in your business is that instantaneous success isn’t always possible. You might have started moving the needle, but to achieve long-term and noteworthy change, you need to continuously measure the effectiveness of your efforts. Keep communicating with the employees, measuring engagement, and asking for feedback.
Encourage employees to offer helpful criticism on new initiatives through swift and convenient channels and use these results to keep improving the measures you put in place.
Employee engagement is a continuous process as people and attitudes change, but the higher you keep it, the better your business will be.
After all, when people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home. As evident, to win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace. This is where it starts. peopleHum's employee engagement software can help you do that!