In a tight labor market, employers need to develop a stronger workforce – and increasing employee engagement is an effective solution. However, many companies fail when it comes to engagement.
HR thought leader JoAnn Corley said, “Organizations are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on employee engagement programs, yet their scores on engagement surveys remain abysmally low.” In fact, according to Gallup, employee engagement is at a worldwide low of 13%.
A powerful engagement plan gives you a competitive advantage. Thought leader Fred Coon shared his insight with Forbes Magazine. He explained that to increase employee engagement employees want four things:
For their work to have some measurable, positive impact on others’ lives
Leadership guru Simon Sinek argues that defining your “why” can’t be an afterthought. It’s the most crucial element that represents your business. Employees want to work with a company with a cause they can rally behind.
If you want employees to find meaning in their work:
- Articulate a clear vision to all employees. Your vision motivates employees far more than merely a paycheck.
- Demonstrate that employees have an impact on clients and customers. For example, we spotlight employees who receive exceptional client feedback. It makes a big difference in helping our staff find purpose in their work.
- Demonstrate how their work makes an impact on the company’s goals. When employees see they make a difference, it motivates them to take ownership. We have monitors around our office that act as scoreboards. They track our company’s progress towards meeting our monthly goals. This helps motivate employees to do their part in moving the needle.
To be treated as individuals
It’s always a mistake to treat your employees as mindless drones. Do you want your employees to put their heart and soul into their work? Recognize them for who they are, not just the role they fill. If you recognize team members as individuals, they will contribute more to your organization. They’ll also allow the innovative side of themselves to come out more often.
If you want your employees to feel recognized as individuals:
- Have managers actively seek ideas and opinions from their employees. When employees feel their input is valued, it encourages them to be proactive.
- Be personable when recognizing accomplishments. And be specific about what the employee did and why you value their contribution.
- Recognize birthdays and other key milestones, such as work anniversaries. At Verified First, recognized employees receive greeting cards that are signed by all managers. It makes a difference in fostering loyalty and retaining our talent.
The room to create and innovate
Innovation isn’t just a buzzword. It’s a critical way that your company can gain an advantage entering new markets. Research finds that there’s a strong correlation between engagement and innovation.
If you want engaged employees:
- Be willing to experiment. If employees feel their companies are unwilling to consider ideas, it discourages them from being engaged. So don’t let a fear of failure hold you back from trying new things.
- Take employee feedback seriously. Verified First values input and ideas from all employees, no matter the department. Our front-line sales and service staff have been a valuable source of improvements to our products and services.
- Organize a product competition that’s open to all of your employees. Verified First also holds an annual product competition, modeled after the “Shark Tank” TV show. We give special recognition to employees if we implement their idea. It encourages employees to look for new ways to create value.
To be respected and valued
If employees feel disrespected and they don’t know their work matters, they will do the bare minimum. However, they’re more engaged when they feel respected and valued. Treating employees this way makes them more likely to go the extra mile.
If you want employees to feel respected and valued:
- Look for ways to invest in your employees. Consider opportunities like personal development or financial incentives. Ultimately, the principle is the same. If you show genuine care for your employees, they will take care of your business.
- Make mentorship part of your culture. When employees have coworkers who help them learn the ropes, it helps them feel valued.
- Give them ownership. If employees know you trust them, it not only shows you’re working towards increasing employee engagement, it demonstrates that you value their contributions.
Increasing Employee Engagement Has a High ROI
Although it takes time to develop employee engagement, it’s an investment that pays off. Businesses with engaged employees outperform businesses with low engagement by 202%. Engaged companies also grow profits as much as three times faster than competitors.
Engaged employees have greater productivity and generate increased customer satisfaction. So ultimately, increasing employee engagement creates higher profits for the company.
When organizations choose to invest in their employees, it is a permanent game changer.