19.02.2018

What is employee engagement and why it matters? print

Your business is only as strong as your weakest employee. The success of your company is driven by the employees you have on your team. Employing the best talent possible can be the difference between your success and your potential failure. Simply put – if you want to achieve your goals and increase your productivity, you need a strong team of employees, and they need to be encouraged to do their best.

It can be hard to know how to keep your employees working to the best of their abilities – managing a team of diverse people with unique needs will always be a challenge. No matter what, you need to work hard to engage and interest your employees with your company and your goals.

But what is employee engagement, and how is it linked to company performance? Read ahead to learn more.

What is employee engagement?

When it comes to their careers, you’d be surprised at how many people simply get up and head to work because they need to pay the rent and get food on the table. They have no passion, no drive, and no commitment to the end goals of the company. They don’t feel like their company’s success will impact them in any real or meaningful way, and so they are utterly unfussed about long term goals. As long as they get their pay packet, that’s all that matters to them. Sound like a lousy attitude? Sure. But what can their employer do to change this?

At its most basic, employee engagement means that an employee feels an emotional commitment and responsibility towards their place of work. They are engaged with your culture and goals - they don’t just head to work in order to receive a pay check or to try and get a promotion. Instead, they want to play a role in ensuring that the company is a success and that it achieves its goals.

They will often feel that they are part of something, and that their input is important to the end goal. 

How is employee engagement related to the performance of your company?

It is rather unsurprising that an employee who feels engaged is more motivated and committed. Rather than dragging themselves to work, trying to make it through the day, they see each day as another opportunity to do their best work and impress their colleagues and boss.

These employees will feel more valued overall, and they will relish being a part of your team. They may feel like they a part of the decision making process of your company, which means that they are much more likely to have valuable input on new ideas. They will spend time thinking about ideas that they could put forward, and ways that they can provide long term benefit to the company as a whole.

What drives employee engagement and what are managers to do?

As a manager (or company owner), one of your most important responsibilities is to improve and influence employee engagement. While managers of yore may have dismissed engagement as unimportant or a low priority, we now know just how vital it is to your success.

  • Set an example - One of the simplest ways that any manager can try to increase employee engagement? Set an example. If your employees see that you are engaged and committed, then this is something that they are likely to replicate themselves. A manager who lacks drive or who doesn’t seem to care about the company isn’t going to inspire much belief in their employees.
  • Recognise success and good work - Another great way that you can influence engagement within your company is to make sure that any employee achievements or contributions are recognised and applauded. Not only does that reinforce great engagement in the person, but also inspires their colleagues to also try to be more engaged in what they do in order to receive the same accolades. You can do this verbally, in an email or at a meeting, and you might even consider accompanying this with a small token of appreciation.
  • Be flexible and reasonable - In this modern world, employees really value a flexible approach to their working patterns. This means that if you can allow for flexible working (such as keeping their own hours or working from home) then do it. It has been found that employees who work from home or that can be flexible with their working hours are much more engaged in their role than others.

What impact does this have on millennials?

With the millennial generation came a change in approach to working. This particular generation’s needs and requirements means that you need to look at your own engagement methods and practices.

In general, millennials are well-educated, skilled in technology and are able to adapt to a number of skills and multi-task. They also have high expectations for themselves and enjoy coming together as a team to solve challenges.

Whilst they are driven in their working lives, millennials also place a high level of importance on achieving a work-life balance.

All of these variables mean that when it comes to keeping your employees engaged, you need to make sure that you move with the times. Approaches that may have worked 5 years ago are not always going to work now, and this means that your very first step should be to recognise what is important to your employees. They will guide you through the next steps.

When you understand this you can make sure that you utilise these key factors and use them to create a workforce that wants to succeed and grow, rather than people who just turn up so that they can get paid and go home.

______________

What do you do to encourage engagement with your employees? Have you tried anything that has worked? Or perhaps something that has failed? Leave a comment below and help others boost their own rates of engagement.

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