- What is employee engagement?
- Why is employee engagement important?
- What do employee engagement programs include?
- 5 Employee engagement strategies
- 15 best employee engagement activities at your workplace
- HR’s role in employee engagement
- How to measure employee engagement?
What is employee engagement?
Employee Engagement is defined as a state of mind in which an employee feels completely connected with his work and workplace. Employee engagement meaning can be explained as an alignment in the aims and goals of an employee with the objectives of an organization which makes an employee put in more effort towards his work.
Employee engagement is the creation of perfect conditions at the workplace for all the employees so that they give in their best for the achievement of the organization’s goals.
Employee Engagement is a force that motivates employees to either increase or decrease their performance levels. When you as an employer feel that your employees are not working for a promotion or an increment, rather they are working for the achievement of the organization’s goals; it means your employees are engaged.
Employee engagement and employee happiness: Is there a difference?
You should not get confused with the employee engagement meaning and the meaning of employee happiness. When your employees are content it means your employees are happy, they are satisfied but it does not give any idea about the level of motivation or the level of commitment your employees have. Your satisfied or happy employees will put in that much effort for which they are being compensated or being promoted. But, engaged employees will go the extra mile and contribute to the achievement of the organization’s goals.
Engaged employees will care about the results their work and efforts will bring in the organization. You should always try to build a culture of employee engagement within the organization for the achievement of the organizational objectives in the long run.
Why is employee engagement important?
Let us have a look at the major benefits you can have by implementing employee engagement programs in your organization.
1. Productivity and profitability is high
When employees in your organization like the work they are doing; they will do it more willingly. They will work harder and faster to yield better results. Moreover, when your employees feel engaged they even feel being treated well by their immediate managers or supervisors. This will result in employees putting in more effort to do their work and increased productivity.
2. Engaged workforce is satisfied and content
When your employees are not satisfied or happy, there is a lack of enthusiasm for everything they do in the workplace. This will result in a lack of growth in the organization as well. However, when your employees feel engaged, they feel satisfied with their role and work. This will lead them to produce better quality work and result in organizational growth.
3. Decrease in turnover and higher retention
Employee turnover is the percentage of employees who are leaving the organization and are being replaced by new employees. Retention is the process by which the organization does not let its employees to leave the organization and retain them.
When your employees are engaged, they will be content and enthusiastic about their work. They would not think about leaving your organization and finding other opportunities outside the organization. By this, your turnover would reduce and there would be a higher retention rate in your organization.
Read the complete guide to Employee Retention
4. Better health of employees
When your employees are engaged, they will always be in a good state of mind and hence this will reduce their chances of being obese or having other chronic diseases. Moreover, when you have engaged and productive workforce you will take numerous initiatives such as flexible schedules, free health check-up programs, etc. for the maintenance of good health of your employees.
5. Reduced absenteeism at the workplace
Engaged employees in an organization will not think about missing work. They are enthusiastic and would turn up for work every day. Disengaged employees do not feel connected with the organization and would often find excuses to not come for work which affects productivity in turn.
What do employee engagement programs include?
After the details on employee engagement importance, let us check out the major components or elements of employee engagement.
1. Strengthening of communication with the employees
The employees must open up about their ideas and make their own decisions. This is feasible only when effective communication occurs between the members in a particular team, employees and the employers, etc. By strengthening the communication of employees, you are encouraging them to be interactive which will build trust and develop healthy workplace relationships.
2. Rewards and recognition at the workplace
This is quite an important element of employee engagement. For all the good work done by the employees; incentives, rewards, and recognition should be given to them. This will encourage the employees and motivate them to work even much harder and better.
You might also want to read: Employee gifting – Creating a thoughtful corporate gifting strategy
3. Defining roles and responsibilities
When the roles and responsibilities of each employee are clearly defined, employees feel connected to the objectives of the organization. To have an engaged workforce in your organization, you must clearly define this framework because when employees know clearly about their day-to-day activities, they feel their work is being valued and is important for the organization.
4. Professional and personal growth
Employees in the organization need to feel that they are progressing both personally and professionally. An effective strategy for the rapid personal growth of employees in the organization should be taken care of to build an engaged workforce. If the employees start feeling that they are stuck in doing the same old activities each day without any growth professional or personal development they will start looking for other opportunities.
5. Great Leadership
The leadership in the organization needs to be very enthusiastic and good for creating an engaged workforce. With the managers being motivating, encouraging and trustworthy employees are going to feel engaged and grow.
6. Good work environment
You should try to ensure a peaceful and attractive workspace for your employees. The traditional work environment comprising of cubicles have been quite stereotypical and are experiencing transitions now. Your employees should have the liberty to personalize their workspace and make it comfortable.
7. Ensure employee health and wellness
You must ensure to include health and wellness in the strategy for building an engaged workforce. Various health care programs can be organized for the employees such as free health check-ups, health insurance plans, group fitness challenges, etc. at workplaces. This would make employees feel emotionally connected with the employers and this will also ensure low absenteeism at work due to health issues.
8. Feedback and evaluation
Feedback to employees is quite important for their growth and engagement. You should encourage more evaluation procedures and brief feedback for employees within the organization to improve employee performance and productivity as well.
Top 5 employee engagement strategies
The more the employee will feel that he is a part of the community, the more he will be engaged with the organization. You need to make your employees feel that their work is meaningful and they are valuable for the organization. This feeling once aroused in the employees will keep them with the organization for a longer period.
Some of the major employee engagement strategies which can be used for building an engaged workforce are mentioned below.
1. Bottom-up thinking strategy
One of the most important employee engagement strategies is to think in a bottom-up manner and not in a top-down manner. The people of an organization are the foundation of the organization and you should give importance to what people i.e. employees think and say. Employee engagement surveys and employee engagement questionnaire can be used to know about the thinking and expectations of the employees.
2. Make your employees feel that you listen
If you are taking the opinion of the employees then those opinions or ideas should be implemented. It becomes quite encouraging for the employees to see that their ideas have been listened to and are bringing some changes in the organization. This will act as a contributing factor to employee engagement.
3. Understanding learning styles and preferences of individuals
You should find out about the learning style preferred by your employees like online training or classroom training. Some employees might be good at individual training whereas others learn quite well in groups. By knowing about these preferences, it becomes quite easier to organize learning programs and courses for your employees.
4. Group learning / Training sessions
Training sessions can become quite stereotypical and boring. But, if some modern techniques can be used within the sessions like discussion in groups and then an explanation of ideas, team building activities, solving an issue in groups and the best one being rewarded, introducing some employee engagement games during session breaks, etc. can be implemented. These will help in creating an engaged workforce.
5. Employee voice
Employees should be free to raise their issues and also put forward their suggestions in front of the higher authorities in the organization. There should be a specific platform or a forum where employees can share their problems and get suggestions from all. An employee engagement app can be used with access to the members of the organization for sharing their issues and getting resolutions.
15 best employee engagement activities at your workplace
There are some very basic employee engagement activities which can be carried out within an organization for increasing the level of employee engagement in the organization.
1. Encourage employee friendship
You should encourage your employees to mingle with each other. Different activities like lunch, meetings or open-house meet can be organized by which the employees get an opportunity to know each other.
2. Collaboration within the organization
You can organize a training session on why collaboration is considered to be vital and how collaboration can happen.
3. Health and Wellness of employees
You should be interested in the health and wellness of your employees. You should organize health check-ups at the workplace, encourage employees to hit the gym regularly, organize a mental health day for your employees, etc.
4. Clear definition of individual roles and responsibilities
Try to make your employees clear about their individual goals and responsibilities. The more your employees have clarity about their goals and responsibilities, the more they are engaged in the organization.
5. On-boarding should be communicative
You can make the on-boarding process of your employees even more interesting and then evaluate the new hires about their learning on the day of on-boarding. This will initialize employee engagement from the first day itself.
6. Recognition for good work
When people in your team are doing extraordinary jobs, giving excellent and innovative ideas you should take the initiative of sharing these accomplishments with the entire organization. This will increase the level of employee engagement in the organization.
Further reading: Employee gifting, rewards & recognition
7. Motivational Speaker
You can organize motivational sessions by hiring talented speakers from outside the organization. These sessions can help in bringing the employees together and also increase the level of employee engagement.
8. Potluck lunches
You should encourage more and more potluck lunches within the organization. This will help in bringing the employees together during lunchtime and they would also get the opportunity to know each other more.
Cross-training your employees and making them work in a different role for different departments can be really helpful. This will help the employee learn new skill i.e. up-skill and work in a new role with more exposure.
10. Mentoring and coaching
Continuous coaching and mentoring should go on within the organization. This can be in the form of online sessions, training, workshops, etc. This will also help your employees in achieving professional development and make them more engaged in the organization.
11. Frequent internal communication
Open internal communications in the organization should be encouraged. You can instruct the managers in your organization to set up weekly meetings with their direct reports to discuss their problems, strategies for achieving organizational objectives, etc.
12. Event management
There should be various events organized in your organization such as tech fests, foundation day celebrations, cultural and fun activities, etc. You should encourage your employees to take up this responsibility and do the planning of the events. This will increase the scope of communication between the employees and in turn increase the level of employee engagement.
You can start a new method of making newsletter even more interesting by making it a comical video or a vintage video with some incorporated changes. The newsletter can also come from a particular group that would be formed for this purpose only. Employees will enjoy seeing the newsletter coming from their peers.
14. Promote perks in the organization
You can promote the perks which would be given to the employees for their work. The perks should be designed in such a way that they boost physical and the mental well-being of the employees.
15. Work-life balance
Emphasis should be given on the maintenance of work-life balance within the organization. The meaning of work-life balance is different for different employees. So, you can instruct the managers in your organization to speak with their team members and try to implement certain flexibility in the work schedule and timings for maintaining work-life balance.
Further reading: How to improve work life balance in your company
What is HR’s role in employee engagement ?
Mostly the organization and the employers face a common issue of managing the finances when it comes to the implementation of new employee engagement ideas. In such a case, you as an employer should give the most importance to the factor responsible for the foundation of your organization i.e. your employees.
You should think about the long term benefits an engaged workforce can bring to the organization rather than about the current investments needed for improving the level of employee engagement.
Mostly, the onus for implementing employee engagement programs and initiatives should be with the employee engagement HR. As said earlier, strengthening communication within the organization is an essential part of employee engagement strategies.
The different levels of hierarchy in your organization have their responsibilities and own problems. The upper management in the organization can put forward excellent employee engagement ideas but the middle management might face certain problems in the implementation of those ideas. This gap can be filled up by effective strategies for communication like daily hurdle calls, town hall meeting system, weekly and monthly catch-up with teams, etc.
The employee engagement HR can also initiate some fun but meaningful activities employee engagement activities to be carried out like employee engagement games, open discussions, etc. for building a friendly atmosphere at the workplace. This will increase the level of employee engagement in the organization. These fun-filled employee engagement activities will foster the feeling of friendship and loyalty in the organization and this will create employee engagement.
Good read: Role of HR in Employee Wellness
How to measure employee engagement ?
The best method to measure employee engagement in an organization is by conducting employee engagement surveys. These can be short surveys consisting of employee engagement questionnaire which can give a clear understanding of whether the workforce is engaged or not.
The employee engagement surveys can consist of around 70-80 questions covering relevant topics and should a clear picture of the level of employee engagement in the organization. Employee engagement surveys will also help the upper-level management in the organization to know about the demographic group which is at risk due to employee disengagement. With the help of this information, it would be easier for you to develop further meaningful employee engagement activities and employee engagement programs within the organization.
For measuring the level of employee engagement in the organization, the employee engagement surveys can be carried out by you at any time. You should consider doing a readiness assessment and even communicate the objective behind doing the survey clearly to the employees.
Also, the results of such surveys should be communicated to the employees and necessary action must be taken with consideration to the results obtained from the survey. Necessary actions when taken according to the results of these surveys will be really helpful for improving the level of employee engagement in the organization.
Lets get started with engaging your workforce!
Employee engagement is a chimerical force that can act as a motivating factor for either increasing or decreasing the performance of employees at the workplace. By increasing the level of employee engagement, you are increasing the scope of better customer service and high profitability in turn.
To get you started, here are a list of books on employee engagement that you should read.
You should necessarily find out the key drivers of engagement in the organization and implement employee engagement initiatives accordingly. As an employer, your investment made into employee engagement today will give you lucrative returns in the long run.
Now its your turn. Tell us what employee engagement initiatives you conduct at your workplace? Type in the comments below and let us know some activities we might have not covered in the blog.