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Employee Engagement: What Makes Them Tick and Stick Around

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Employee engagement is all the talk. Whether it’s discussions among HRs trying to crack the winning formula to employee engagement or watercooler conversations among employees whining about the lack of the same. Need you be concerned about how you walk the talk with your employee engagement strategy? The latest research studies certainly say so. Insync Surveys reveal that engaged employees display 18 percent greater productivity and 60 percent higher quality, while an Aon Hewitt survey shows that companies in the top quartile of engagement scores enjoy a 50 percent higher shareholder return. Bottom line, employee engagement affects your business’ bottom line. Here are some things you need to know about fostering an engaging environment for your employees.

It starts from day one

Statistics show that the expenses a company bears to replace an employee during their first year is almost 3 times their annual pay. It’s interesting how much damage employers can cushion and sponge up by upping their engagement strategy. Often, organisations mistake employee engagement as a quarterly or once-a-year affair, where they take their team out for a fancy lunch or hold an annual celebratory event inviting employees and their families. Barely and rarely does that suffice. Engagement needs to start from day one. Bring in on-boarding activities that are geared at training and communicating the role requirements to new joinees and make sure you appreciate them as they master their roles. Employees who have a faster time to proficiency are naturally more connected and engaged with their organisation.

Managers who engage

The need of the hour isn’t just managers who lead, but managers who can also engage. Employees who are engaged are on the same page as their employers when it comes to the organisation’s roadmap. Statistics show that employees who are engaged in meaningful work i.e. understand how their work is playing a part in business success display greater commitment and productivity by upto 60 percent and 73 percent respectively.

How do you let your corporate vision and mission trickle down from boardroom conversations to everyday decisions of the average employee? Middle management is instrumental in this effort, and your job here isn’t done just as yet. Be sure to train your managers so they understand organisational goals and behaviours that matter, reinforce behaviours in their team through timely recognition and rewards, and connect their efforts to the purpose of the organization. While you’re at it, be sure you recognise managers for keeping the culture of recognition alive in the organisation.

One for the long run

Employee engagement goes beyond offering an enticing pay check, snazzy office space and exciting work, it also comes down to how you reciprocate with your employees and appreciate their efforts.  In fact, a global study revealed that 97 percent of employees find the need to be recognised. This need to be recognised can also influence crucial decisions that employees make during their lifecycle in an organisation. When done right, it pays back many times over. For example, by stemming employee turnover. Recognised employees are highly engaged, simply because they receive consistent (positive) feedback, they know what behaviours are encouraged and then simply repeat them. One survey that measured the effects of recognition program over 6 months, showed that the employee turnover rates simmered down by as much as 17.7 percent among employees who received at least one recognition during the period.

Level Up your game

Keeping your employees engaged is so much about turning the mundane into something magical, and gamification can be a great way to realise this motive. Structure your gamification strategy with  points, bonuses and rewards to keep employees engaged and locked in on their goals. As a study from Harvard University shows, employees are highly engaged when they know how well they are progressing at work. What’s more is gamification allows employees to pick their own learning goals and at their own pace. Of course you want to make sure your gamification strategy is in line with the intended audience. A sales employee, for instance, would appreciate it if a little risk-taking and target-pushing would yield comparable rewards. Throw in the sociability elements of friendly competition and interaction that gamification brings in, and you know you have a winner, or should we say a win-win; it gives employees an opportunity to interact, bond and most importantly engage with each other. With gamification in the lead the cycle of engagement fuels itself.

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