Employee engagement is one of the burning topics that HR teams worldwide are concerned about. Today, let's focus on understanding how some companies have managed to excel in employee engagement. For this, we will need to know the different strategies they follow to nail employee engagement in the modern workplace.
Let me start with a simple question. Do you feel disengaged at work? If your answer is yes, don’t be alarmed, you are not alone. A whopping 80% of the global workforce feels disengaged at work, making employee engagement the most sought after trait for any business.
Why have an Employee Engagement strategy?
It is a well-established fact that engaged employees are more productive at work than those who are disengaged. No wonder why HR professionals keep drumming up employee engagement every chance they get. Engaged employees are more likely to stay motivated and remain committed to their employers. They are also immensely focused on helping achieve the collective business goals of the organization and driving its future.
Disengaged employees will only bring down the productivity of other focused and engaged workers. They reduce the quality of customer interactions, service calls and this can make the work culture, retention rates, turnover rates, and other critical business areas suffer.
Organizations that are nailing employee engagement, determine which employees can stay, perform and contribute to organizational success. They measure employee engagement by using the right metrics on an automated HR tool(increasingly cloud-based platforms now).
Organizations make informed decisions using data generated by metrics customized for their engagement strategy. They understand that by getting to the heart of what matters to the employees, they can motivate high performance and align the talent with business strategy.
Approaching Employee Engagement
People in different regions have different ways of relating engagement with their jobs. For example, the workers in Eastern Europe and North America associate their engagement with the financial returns attached to the job. Other places, employees are just happy when they can connect to their co-workers and the presence of a good work culture further adds to employee engagement.
The other factors that can influence engagement strategies vary with industry, location, company size and how much money and resources the organization has at its disposal to invest in developing its culture. It plays an important role in coming up with the values and philosophy around employee engagement.
So, how do the best places to work nail employee engagement?
1. Understanding employee mindset
Keeping your ears close to the ground helps with understanding what the employees are thinking. Engagement surveys are one way to accomplish this. While this is fairly common in companies with modern work culture, companies like Recreational Equipment(REI) take a more personal approach.
The company hosts an online “company campfire” which offers associates and executives alike, a chance to share thoughts. Since they use a social media platform to host this campfire, it gives the company a chance to get to know its employees more intimately.
Since it’s launch last year, nearly 50% of REI’s employees have participated in debates and thought sharing discussions at least once. It reinforces employee engagement by providing them a platform to voice their concerns.
2. Intentional culture creation
Google’s challenge and innovation-driven culture cannot go unmentioned in a blog about employee engagement. Being one of the dream places to work for, Google’s engagement strategy goes beyond free food, stocked pantry, and the coinless laundry present on-campus.
What makes Google one of the best places to work is its company culture. Since, they hire new associates by committee, opinions of every member of the company are valued.
I wouldn’t be wrong if I say Google is one of the first companies whose company culture is so widely popular and acts as a guide to budding startups.
3. Appreciate all contributions alike
Be it in the office, on the roads or in the air, DHL Express pushes the limits of employee engagement. They harbor an incredible culture for thanking employees. They appreciate contributions from employees whether that’s through monetary rewards, honoring top performers at their annual black-tie event(Hollywood-style) or just by pinning notes of appreciation on the company corkboard.
When employees feel appreciated they are more engaged at work and stay aligned with the company vision much longer.
4. Commit to open, honest communication
Some companies value transparency, some flexibility, at SAP, however, communication is core to their company culture. So, employees clearly understand the “why” attached to their job, what are the expectations attached to the job and how their job helps drives the greater good of the organisation. The leaders are open to employee feedback and even encourage it. This builds trust and reinforces employee engagement.
Another important factor that drives engagement is the scope for collaboration. Employees collaborate with teams both local and global to accomplish projects. This remote working collaboration prepares the employees for modern work culture and provides great exposure.
5. Provide career growth opportunities
Facebook is one of the fastest-growing companies in the world. They have a great company culture where all the new hires train collectively at the boot camp, building interpersonal relations. They are provided with access to the source code of the entire company and can choose their own teams at the end of their boot camp training.
This shows the amount of trust they have in the employees and this is reciprocated by employees in terms of engagement.
Mentoring programs help employee engagement further. The open office culture makes it easy to interact with employees at all levels, providing maximum exposure and collaboration opportunities.
Facebook goes so far as to offer payouts if you decide to quit working for them. It looks like they encourage employees to quit and build their own solutions. But, who could walk away from such an engaged work culture?
So, providing the opportunity to quit, in this case, engages the employees even more.
6. Social engagements outside of work
Before you say “we do have a keg in the office pantry”, we are not talking about that kind of social engagement. In this case, we are talking about the commitment that companies show to the communities they are located in. We are all social animals, and gathering together for social causes builds a deep relation between people.
Cummins, a global power leader, shows commitment to the communities where it lives and operates. Their employees participate in large numbers in community-oriented projects. Participating in these events is a great way to strengthen relationships and adds an enjoyable social dimension to work. So, productivity improves when employees understand each other better and work together to solve problems. This understanding drives employee engagement and decreases voluntary turnovers.
7. Have a story worth telling
When you have a great story to tell about the birth of your company philosophy, people tend to listen. They might even be inclined to share your story with the rest of their circle. We observe this trend when we look at giants like Apple, Facebook, and Google to just name a few. They pride themselves at being a fast-growing, fun and friendly work culture. Their employees are constantly increasing their employment brand value by sharing their ongoing experience with the company. That is employee engagement at it's best.
Not just the employees but even those who don’t work there consider them innovative, fun and cool places to work at. Hence, a strong employment brand that offers clarity on the company culture and what it stands for attracts the right talent to the company.
To create an engaged, motivated and high-performing workforce, you have to have the right employee engagement strategy powered by understanding what your employees value most. So, if you want to retain your top performers, commit to developing an intentional culture that is open, transparent, and enables them to thrive.
To nail employee engagement, start by creating a great place to work. Participating in community events, celebrating your coworkers and fostering more open communication are some ways to show that you are building a culture where employee involvement matters. That, more than anything else, has to be at the core of building your employee engagement strategy.