HR is demanding, and it seems every task is crucial. You may feel you’re pedaling as fast as you can to take care of the basics—but there is one area you ignore at your peril. Employee engagement is how committed your workers are to the company, how hard they work and how long they stay, and it’s something you can impact.

Continue reading to learn what employee engagement is, the importance of keeping your employees engaged, how to improve it, and how to measure your efforts.

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What Is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment that an employee has to the organization and its goals. Employee engagement correlates with how hard they work and how long they remain at the company.

Engagement vs Satisfaction

Employee engagement and employee satisfaction are often referred to synonymously, though they have slightly different meanings. Both are important.

Employee satisfaction refers to how a person enjoys their job, where employee engagement measures their level of commitment to the job and company. If an employee shows up to work and watches Netflix or uses Facebook all day, they may be satisfied with their job, but they aren’t engaged in providing value to the company and its goals.

The Importance of Keeping Your Employees Engaged

Employee engagement is important to get the most out of your employees and to create an environment where people want to work. Keeping your employees engaged can also help:

  • Increase productivity. Engaged employees take pride in their work and are motivated to provide value to your company, increasing overall productivity.
  • Improve retention and reduce turnover. Employees that are committed to the organization are more likely to set career goals and remain at the company long term.
  • Create a positive company culture. When employees are committed and connected to the work they’re completing, it helps foster a collaborative and positive company culture.
  • Provide a better customer experience. Engaged employees work hard and provide the customer with the best possible product or service.

How to Measure Employee Engagement

Measuring employee engagement is key to understanding what factors are working and where you need to focus on improving as an organization. Here are a few ways that you can measure employee engagement at your company.

Conduct Surveys and Questionnaires

You can create a simple survey with a handful of questions that employees can answer in order to get a better idea of how engaged your workforce is.

Another option is to hire a third-party consultant to help craft an extensive questionnaire that allows you to better quantify the results and take appropriate actions.

One-On-One Meetings

You can have direct managers hold recurring one-on-one meetings with employees to discuss career goals and measure engagement. Managers can then report back to leadership on any issues or red flags relating to employee engagement.

Exit Interviews

Exit interviews serve as another one-on-one setting to discuss and measure engagement. Since employees are leaving the company in this scenario, they may be especially honest about what the organization can do differently to foster a more engaging environment.

Turnover Rate

For a purely quantitative measurement of employee engagement, you can analyze turnover rates to see if there are any trends that indicate employees are not engaged. For example, if you have a high turnover rate after one month, six months, a year or any other defined time period, it may be a sign that your employees aren’t engaged with the company.

How to Improve Employee Engagement at Your Organization

It’s one thing to understand how engaged your employees are, but it’s also important to know what you need to do in order to improve employee engagement. The following tips can help you improve your organization’s employee engagement.

1. Keep Employees Informed About Future Plans and Where They Fit

It’s difficult for employees to be committed to the company and their role if they don’t understand how they fit into future plans. Keeping your employees informed about the future plans of your organization makes them feel valued and motivated to give their all. They can also directly relate their work to the company’s larger goals and assess their contribution.

2. Ensure Pay and Benefits Are Competitive

If you’re asking employees to be fully committed to your organization but you’re not compensating them appropriately, they are unlikely to be engaged, and may look for opportunities with better pay and benefits. To foster engagement, show your employees that you value them and compensate them accordingly.

4. Invest in Good Management

One of the most important factors in determining employee engagement is management. Since employees and managers interact frequently, it’s crucial that managers have the skills and resources to help employees succeed. Ensuring that this is the case will probably require spending time to help managers improve.

“Once you get past satisfaction elements – meaning that pay is fair, desks are in a good condition, computers work, etc. – then engagement isn’t really driven by pay. Engagement is driven by the key experience between manager and employee. So, invest (not money) but time into your managers. Make sure their experience is meaningful, and that will distill down to the employees. Give [managers] growth opportunities, help them develop.” – Matthew Wride

3. Focus on Employee Career Growth and Development

Without defined goals and a roadmap to achieve those goals, employees may not feel like they have growth opportunities at your company. By focusing on career growth and creating an environment that supports development, employees will feel more valued and have more incentive to commit to the organization.

4. Recognize and Reward Top Performers Publicly

While defined goals can provide an incentive for employees to work harder, recognizing their accomplishments publicly makes them feel like a vital component of the company. Besides, if your employees are putting in the effort to help the company achieve its goals, they deserve to be rewarded for their contribution.

5. Support the Community Around Your Company

Many employees are looking for more than just a job. Actively supporting and volunteering in the community is beneficial for all parties. The company gives back to charities and organizations in need, and your employees gain a sense of purpose and contribution to something outside of the cubicle.

6. Emphasize Work-Life Balance

When the lines between work and life are blurred, it can affect engagement and performance. Not only can emphasizing and supporting the need for a work-life balance help increase employee engagement, but it also shows that you value your employees as people, not just workers.

7. Give Employees Facetime With Executive Leaders

To employees, executive leaders are names of people that they’ll never interact with. Giving your employees the opportunity to interact with leadership creates a positive environment where they feel their ideas are valued by high-level executives and other key stakeholders. With that in mind, they are more likely to put forth their best effort each day.

Questions You’ve Asked Us About Employee Engagement

Driving employee engagement is a collaborative effort between executive leadership, managers and Human Resources. Working together, these team members are tasked with creating an environment that fosters employee engagement.
Although every employee is different, factors that generally affect employee engagement include compensation, how valued they feel as a part of the company, career goals and growth, and the company culture and values.
“Regardless of where employees work or the type of work they do, the number one predictor of employee engagement is how they answer this statement: I feel like I belong here. In the case of deskless workers, the line managers have to work doubly hard to build a sense of connection and belonging. You can have belonging without being together physically, but you have to be creative and diligent. Some ideas: virtual check-ins each day; managers that share wins each day; weekly sessions for people to recognize each other (shout outs); strong chat tools; treat remote as the default setting, which means all meetings are recorded for viewing on a non-synchronous basis.” – Matthew Wride

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