Business Models

All about Employee Engagement

Employee Satisfaction only indicates how happy or content your employees are. It does not address their level of motivation, involvement, or emotional commitment. For some employees, being satisfied means collecting a paycheck while doing as little work as possible.

When organizations focus on how to improve employee satisfaction, changes won’t necessarily lead to increased performance. Oftentimes, the conditions that make employees “satisfied” with their jobs are the same conditions that frustrate high performing employees. Top performers embrace change, search out ways to improve, and challenge the status quo. They expect all employees be held accountable for delivering results, whereas low performers avoid accountability, cling to the status quo, and resist change.

Why is employee engagement important?

Employee engagement goes beyond activities, games, and events. Employee engagement drives performance. Engaged employees look at the whole of the company and understand their purpose, where, and how they fit in. This leads to better decision-making. Organizations with an engaged workforce outperform their competition. They have a higher earnings per share (EPS) and recover more quickly after recessions and financial setbacks. Engagement is a key differentiator when it comes to growth and innovation.

 Moreover, expectations of employees have changed. Mobile professional careers are much more common than “job for lifers”. Retention of top talent is more difficult than before. A company that has an effective employee engagement strategy and a highly engaged workforce is more likely to retain top performers as well as attract new talent. Successful organizations are value-driven with employee-centric cultures.

How is employee engagement measured?

Measure what matters.

 The best way to find strategies to improve employee engagement is by conducting a survey that has been developed specifically for this purpose. Employee engagement surveys must be statistically validated and benchmarked against other organizations if they are going to provide useful results. Without these things, it is difficult to know what you are measuring and whether the results are good or bad.

 Engagement can be accurately measured with short surveys that contain just a few questions, but such short surveys can only provide an indication of whether employees are engaged. They have a hard time explaining why employees are engaged or disengaged because they lack detail. Without sufficient information, an organization cannot develop meaningful activities, training programs, strategies, and initiatives to raise levels of engagement. This is the primary duty of a good manager to ensure employee engagement inside the company for better performance.

In order to get a complete picture of employee engagement, a survey needs to include about 50 to 80 questions that cover a complete range of relevant topics. There should also be open ended questions to further diagnose potential engagement problems in a company.

When should an organization measure employee engagement?

The best time to conduct an employee engagement survey is anytime. The timing of an engagement survey will have an effect on survey results, but it is always a good time to have a better understanding of how engaged your employees are.

Create a readiness assessment, communicate the reasons for doing the engagement survey, communicate results, and take action on survey results. These actions give meaning to the survey. Otherwise, a survey ends up being more of a waste of time and de-motivator

Strategic Alignment: Do employees have clarity of purpose and direction? Do employees understand how the work they do contributes to the organization’s success?

Strategic Alignment ensures that employees have clarity of purpose and direction, and that their efforts are focused in the right direction. If those efforts are not focused in the right direction, they could be wasted.

Managing Execution: The most effective managers excel at the people skills, but they also provide clear expectations, hold people accountable, and stay focused on delivering results.

Who should be involved in employee engagement initiatives?

Research shows that many organizations struggle to bridge engagement survey results to its financial impact on the organization. It is important to understand how engagement affects a company’s bottom line.

A high-performing workforce is necessary to remain competitive, even survive. Developing programs to raise levels of employee engagement must be intentional, have meaning, purpose based on survey results.

HR can lead the charge to create an effective employee engagement strategy, but it needs to be embraced by the entire organization. There is a clear gap between the optimism of upper management and what middle managers experience with their teams. To understand the whole-organization picture, it’s essential to have an effective, multi-directional communication strategy in the organization. Effective communication is one of the most important factors that is most likely to bring company success. Organizations that thrive are able to articulate and communicate what success looks like – as individual employees, teams and departments, and the company as a whole. This increases engagement organization-wide.