Make Employee Engagement a Top Priority

Author : prathigna

March 24, 2020

Read to learn what this topic is about, and how you can improve employee engagement.
Employee engagement is probably the most popular yet misunderstood topic when it comes to Human Resources and organisations. It has grown into a key factor in the modern business landscape, becoming a competitive differentiator in this space where highly-engaged teams perform much better than their counterparts.
Engaged employees work for more than just their salaries. In this article, we'll elaborate on employee engagement in the following manner:

- What is Employee Engagement?
- Why is it important?
- What drives employee engagement?
- Examples of data-driven methods to improve employee engagement

What is Employee Engagement?
Let's start with defining employee engagement: it can be described as the emotional commitment an employee has to their work, their team's goals, and their company's mission, the emotional investment that employees make in their organizations. It is the passion, involvement, and motivation they bring to work, which they use to shape their actions at work.

Engaged employees identify with the goals of the organization
and align their own goals with the association's goals

Employment Engagement is not the same as Employee Satisfaction
A satisfied employee need not necessarily be an engaged one, they might be happy at work, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are working hard or productively on behalf of the organization.
While fulfilled employees may deal with their activity appropriately, they'll never rise above and go beyond, which is the key differentiation between connected workers and fulfilled workers.
When employees are engaged, not only are they happy to come to their jobs, they are always thinking about how their company can be better. This might include streamlining business processes, brainstorming new product or service ideas, or never hesitating to give a coworker a helping hand when it's needed.

Author of "Start With Why" Simon Sinek, defines employee engagement in the simplest of terms: "When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute."

Why is Employee Engagement important?
When it comes to team performance, studies have reported that the most engaged ones:
- Showed 21% more productivity
- Experienced 59% less turnover
- Earned 22% higher profits

In addition the improvements observed were:
- Employees took fewer sick days
- Averted inventory shrinkage
- Had more satisfied customers
- Increased workplace safety
- Improved product defect rates.

This is why a highly-engaged workforce benefits everyone in the company, from individual team members to management, customers and other stakeholders.
The focus on employee engagement is on the rise all over the globe and is no longer an issue relegated only to the HR team of an organization. It has become a business concern that requires serious consideration and is critical to the bottom line of an organization.

What Drives Employee Engagement?

1. Seamless Onboarding - employees need to feel at home and familiar as soon as possible, when they are newly recruited.
2. Positive Work Culture - the work culture that is best described as open, transparent, autonomous, while being respectful of employees.
3. Access to productivity and time management tools - to equip employees in managing their time and activities effectively, improving productivity.
4. Increased learning and development opportunities - based on their potential, they should be availed of opportunities to learn and develop.
5. Effective leadership, and succession planning - are they aware of the growth avenues and opportunities for leadership in the organisation.
6. Wellness and the workplace - is the organisation engaged in ensuring employee wellness at the workplace? Like Yoga classes, health seminars, medical drives etc.
7. Flexibility - If employees are given flexible working options, engagement is much higher as it shows trust and willingness to be not rigid.
8. Rewards and recognition - Are they appreciated for their contribution and efforts helping the organisation? Public recognition, feedback and regular checkins make a difference.

Think about your own team. How engaged are they?

It is no longer just the HR department that needs to plan activities to improve engagement - the main role of these is the duty of HR, but the planning and execution require active involvement of the leadership and managers in the organisation as well. The success of an employee engagement
program depends on employees' response to it. Employee engagement, is an organization-wide collaborative function, where all work together to create a better experience.

Examples of employee engagement

1. CB Insights and its move toward continuing education
A small and starter company with 300 employees, CB Insights offers a variety of benefits to its employees. They provide a stipend of $1,000 to employees to pursue higher education. They also have implemented diversity initiatives like unconscious bias training and their gender pay gap is below 10%. Employers who prioritise the career development of their employees are more likely to have an engaged workforce.

2. L'Oreal and its effort to welcome new employees in style
In 2017, with a unique initiative,L' Oreal built an employee onboarding app that was especially made to help new recruits understand and imbibe their company culture. L'Oreal made it clear that engagement begins at the start of the employee lifecycle, with the introduction of gamification and delivering key information in small, retainable chunks.