Employee engagement is defined as the emotional connection that an employee has to the organisation, the organisation’s values and its goals. The degree of engagement is reflected in how much discretionary effort (going the extra mile) an employee is willing to put into their job.
Global studies indicate that only 13% of employees are engaged, a dangerous figure considering that so much in an organisation depends on whether an employee fulfils their function.
An engaged employee lives your brand, they treat your business as their own and look out for their employer’s interests. A disengaged employee is one that when the employer leaves the office he or she downs tools and messes around for the day. The ultimate would be to have all your employees engaged, a tall order, just increasing the level of engagement will take your business places.
Lets’s look at practical factors that can be implemented to increase engagement.
1. Company Vision, Mission and Goals:
Everyone needs a direction and a goal to achieve. Communicate your goals to your staff, express them daily, encompass them in your behaviour and encourage them to act out the goals in their behaviour. As a leader eat, sleep and breathe your goals and keep reinforcing the goals in a positive light. A good way to communicate goals is to equate the goals to how they will affect the individual employee such as “if we improve quality, we increase customer satisfaction which leads to more orders and therefore sustainability of jobs.” Employees should be encouraged to take responsibility for their role in achieving the goal, however small it may be, and to hold their peers accountable for their actions.
2. Celebrate achievements:
The greatest psychological motivator within the workplace is a sense of achievement. Create an environment where an employee feels that they have achieved. Achievements needn’t be big things. Help the employee to achieve, by providing them with guidance and the necessary tools to achieve the outcomes of their job. An employee who feels they achieved something at the end of the workday will be far more motivated to push through the boundaries of their limitations tomorrow.
Providing resources is very important for the employee to fulfil the outcomes expected of them. There is nothing more demotivating than an expectation from the “powers that be” to achieve outputs, and even worse if the “powers that be” don’t understand the employee’s frustration or what the employee has to go through to achieve the expectation with very little or no resources. Engage in constant dialogue with staff, stop and chat with your staff, make time to spend with employees to understand what goes into their job. Lower-level staff love their seniors being interested in them, they feel valued and not just a cog in the wheel to achieve profits that they feel they see very little of.
Encourage buy-in from staff, ask them for their opinions and their inputs, there is a lot of value to be gained by getting a different perspective.
A sense of belonging goes a long way, develop a culture on inclusion and avoid exclusion. Make sure your practices are fair and don’t distinguish and discriminate against a certain person or group of people
Employees thrive on feedback. Do not leave your feedback for an annual review. Employees want regular feedback and discussions, they really do want to know how they are doing. Regular feedback provides a quick and immediate fix to problems and is a regular motivator that reinforces the concept of achievement where staff are doing well.
Certainty in all aspects of work are crucial for engagement, the employee needs to feel psychologically safe to perform to the required standards. The employee will require a framework to work in and hence job descriptions, policies and procedures and standard operating procedures are crucial to set parameters for certainty and expectations.
8. Lead by Example:
Lastly, a disengaged leader creates a disengaged team, lead by example and make sure you are a hundred percent invested and engaged before expecting others to follow, what you say and do will rub off on your team.
If you find yourself saying, “Why don’t my employees do their job, they just don’t make the effort” you may have an issue with engagement. Try some of the suggestions above to improve the levels of engagement. 13% Employee engagement in the world is devastating for economies and companies which could be so much greater than they are. If you have disengaged employees you are not alone, but a step in the right direction may help to change that.