10 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement in 2022
Here, there and everywhere around the world, there's a huge craze among companies over customer engagement, but there remains a casual approach or in the worst scenarios, a deafening silence when we talk of employee engagement. Only 21% of employees around the world are engaged in their work according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report of 2022. This implies that they are not emotionally invested in committing their time, talent, and energy to add value to their team and advance the organization’s initiatives.
Something as critical as employee engagement has always been kept under the bush and it's time for that to change. Employees are the driving force of your business, or you can call them the wheels of your driving car. And, particularly today, companies are relying more than ever on their employees, to thrive and strive for betterment. So, just a good paycheck will not solely do the job. Without the right employee engagement strategy, organizations will face troubles with high attrition, poor productivity, and a bad brand experience. Hence, make sure you have a proper and effective employee strategy in place, for it is for a bigger purpose and the amelioration of your company.
Understanding Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is the level of an employee's psychological investment in their daily work and the overall success of the company. An article by Gallup says it is, “the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace”. Engaged employees have a positive emotional connection with the company and a sense of satisfaction and purpose in their jobs.
According to a 2020 study by Gallup on employee engagement and performance, companies with higher employee engagement witnessed a decrease in negative outcomes such as turnover and absenteeism as well as a significant increase in organizational success. Businesses with high employee engagement saw 23% higher profitability, 10% higher customer loyalty and engagement, and 18% higher sales productivity.
Thus, investing in employee engagement has direct benefits to the bottom line of the organization.
What Drives Employee Engagement
One of the most common mistakes of companies is approaching employee engagement as an intermittent concern in making their employees satisfied usually around the time of a survey.
According to a report by Gallup, there are five key drivers of employee engagement:
- A Caring Manager
- Ongoing Conversations
- A Focus on Strengths
Just a warm corporate culture and a good paycheck are not sufficient to make employees psychologically invested in your company and strive to do better each day. People want their work to have meaning and purpose. They want to be known for what distinguishes them. This is what motivates employees.
And they want relationships, especially with managers who can help them advance. This is the person who motivates employees.
Changing the Workplace Dynamics
Remember our aforementioned statement? - The employees are the wheels of your driving car. Every day your employees make decisions and take actions that are going to impact your company. The way your company treats employees, as well as how employees treat one another, can have a positive impact on their actions – or put your organization at risk.
According to Gallup's more than 50 years of employee engagement research, engaged employees outperform other employees in every industry, company size, and nationality, and in both good and bad economic times.
There are reasons why employee engagement is essential and a necessity in today’s corporate culture. They are listed below:
When you focus on making your employees satisfied and happy, they are more likely to stick to your organization longer. When they lack interest in their job and are less psychologically invested in your company, the quality of work will be hampered. And, in such cases chances of them resigning are also very high. Remember, not looking for another job does not stop them from accepting a better offer. So, focus on making your employees happy. Treat how you want to be treated.
As we mentioned before, engaged employees are more "enthusiastic" and "involved". Naturally, they will work harder and will strive harder for your company's growth because they like their job and also believe in their value to your company. They find a purpose in their work and are more than happy to help you achieve your goals and objectives.
Improved Customer Service
After all, for whom are you making so many efforts and working so hard? What is this bigger picture that we have been talking about? What is your ultimate goal? Who are you trying to serve? Well, it's your customers and potential customers, right? Every business revolves around its customers. What is a business without clients?
Employee engagement enhances the customer service, your customers get from your employees, which aids customer satisfaction, customer retention, upsells, and referrals.
Employees who are happy and engaged are more likely to care more about clients and leave no stone unturned to ensure a positive experience for customers and clients.
Highly engaged organizations generate 20% more sales than disengaged organizations.
However, if you're retaining employees, increasing productivity, and improving customer service, it stands to reason that your sales and profits will rise as well.
They Become Advocates of Your Brand
Employees who are well-informed and engaged are more likely to become your brand advocates. They'll spread the word about your company, share company content on social media, and help you expand your marketing reach and employer brand.
Employees are the most trusted source of information about your company and its services or products. This is known as employee advocacy and will naturally begin to occur.
How to Measure Employee Engagement
You can measure your employee engagement by conducting a survey or via certain indicators like absenteeism, turnover, and productivity. However, Gallup has identified 12 employee needs based on which it has also created its engagement survey which consists of 12 questions. The 12 needs identified by Gallup are as follows:
I know what is expected of me at work.
I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
There is someone at work who encourages my development.
At work, my opinions seem to count.
The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
I have a best friend at work.
In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.
10 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement
Build Your Trust
Trust lies at the core of any relationship and surely, an employer-employee relationship is not an exception. If you trust your employees and let them know it, they will automatically feel more valued and eventually, they will engage more with their work. They may end up feeling less important at work without your trust in them.
“Employee engagement is always built on trust. And when you gain that trust, magical things start to happen - employees develop a true sense of ownership over their jobs, and productivity rises. Ideas flourish, employees feel engaged, and working environments feel uplifted”, says Suzie Finch, the founder of The Career Improvement Club.
Give Your Employees a Voice
When you give your employees a voice, it empowers them and boosts their job satisfaction. They believe in their contributions to your company, find autonomy in their work, and also feel more responsible and entitled to the company’s growth.
“According to Shiv Gupta, the CEO of Incrementors SEO, “Give employees autonomy and empower them to do what they feel is truly meaningful and impactful work. It’s all about enabling them to shape their own story as opposed to fitting into one we have created.”
Know Your Employees and Sincerely Care For Them
This simple yet essential strategy will go a long way to enhance your employee engagement. When your employees get to know that you truly care for them and will do your best to help them when they need you, they will start caring for you in return and will go above and beyond for the success of your organization.
"Spend some time getting to know your people,” advises Bryce Welker, CEO at CPA Exam Guy. He further adds, “Familiarize yourself with their role, how they feel about the company, and get to know who they are as people when they are not at work—to build the kind of meaningful relationships that create engaged workers."
Nothing can replace an Effective Communication
CEO of MindHandle Eric Harris remarked that the major changes of 2020 will make a great impact on staff engagement and communication: "Between blended remote and in-person work, new rules for how to meet, safety concerns, and more, there’s a whole new set of criteria for internal communications.” Then he said, “An organization that knows what it stands for—and communicates this core belief system regularly—will have a considerable advantage as the world continues to change."
"Providing clear communication of company and team-wide goals has been particularly helpful in helping our employees be engaged, focused, and 'in it for the long run,” Ben Lamarche, General Manager at Lock Search Group, stated. “When employees are in the dark about what’s going on with the company, and formal collaboration and internal communication tools aren't made available, it’s easy to lose the motivation to do your best work."
Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO at Mavens & Moguls, said: "Communication is key to all of our community and employee engagement.” He added, “To stay connected and keep the team on track, I try to set the tone upfront with one rule: When in doubt, over-communicate. Especially now that everyone is working remotely, it is key to set up regular emails, video, and conference calls.” He then said, “If the lines of communication are open and everyone makes an effort to listen and be heard, then collaboration will happen naturally and the information will flow."
More than half of the professionals use Slack, by far the most popular platform, to promote internal communication. There are many possibilities, so be sure to choose one that suits the requirements of your team and business.
Tyler Forte, CEO of Felix Homes, added the following advice: "To further improve the flow of communication, I adopted ConnectTeam. It is a tool that allows my employees to connect through individual chat and group chats. It’s helped with maintaining day-to-day communication and collaboration within my company. It’s easy to use and encourages efficient and interactive participation between all levels of employees."
Make Sure Your Employees Continue to Grow
According to the latest Gallup State of the American Workplace study, 87% of Millennials feel "professional or career growth and development opportunities" given by a workplace are essential to them.
Paul French, Managing Director at Intrinsic Search stated that "continuing education is an essential aspect of company culture.” “One way we motivate and engage our employees is through education reimbursement for company-approved training and courses.”
Paul said, “When employees are supported to acquire new relevant skills or advance existing ones, they feel valued and cared for. Our workers are exponentially more invested in the company because there are clear paths for career growth and development."
Miranda Yan, Co-Founder at VinPit went on to say,"most employees are motivated to work when an organization truly invests in their career. Hence, we came up with the strategy to help employees develop their skills and have something to work toward that keeps them motivated.” He explained, “first we offer a $1,000 education stipend to all employees who have completed six months with the organization. Monthly peer-to-peer learning opportunities are offered, where one of our colleagues teaches a new skill. Additionally, we host a female-focused professional development lunch, and every month, managers attend sessions that teach lessons on core and strategic management skills.”
Miranda continued, “we’re also rolling a new program for entry-level employees to help them achieve their career goals and provide best practices for being skilled employees.”
“This learning and development initiative helps employees understand how we value them as individuals and choose to invest in them, rather than replacing them with other candidates for the skills we desire. This keeps employees more motivated to learn and to strive to perform better."
Build a Psychologically Safe Workplace
"Managers should ask themselves, “Have I created a psychologically safe workspace for my employees?’' Jeff Harry, a Top 100 HR Influencer at Rediscover Your Play, gave advice. “If not, how can I change this?”
“Work culture is determined by the worst behavior that is tolerated. Toxic people have cost Fortune 500 companies $223 billion in the last five years due to turnover," Jeff continued.
Brandon Monaghan, Co-Founder at Miracle Brand, recommended, "In addition to direct communicating and listening, set up a feedback portal for employees.” “This is meant to give them the opportunity to report any comments or concerns without feeling any pressure. It is extremely important to keep an open line of communication between employees, managers, and leadership."
Be Open to Employee Feedback
The key is giving your staff a voice and listening to what they have to say. Your staff members are more inclined to contribute and take initiative inside the company when they feel like you are actually listening.
"Build a platform or system that empowers employees to share their ideas and ask queries of the right people," advised Caroline Lee, Co-Founder at CocoSign.
"You should be flexible and responsive to the concerns of your employees. Keeping the conversation open lets employees know they’re heard and keeps your organization aligned over the coming months," said Will Eadie, Chief Revenue Officer at WorkJam.
"We support a constructive exchange of information, and emphasize at every turn that constructive feedback is a solid foundation for growth,” remarked Ewelina Melon, Head of People at Tidio Chatbots. “We also include our employees in the decision-making process by conducting a brainstorming session to see their point of view on our business and plans."
Matt Barnett, CEO at Bonjoro emphasized that "if we don't know what our employees are thinking, things can quickly turn south. '' Matt provided this example from Bonjoro’s own employee engagement strategy:
“Because of this, we have implemented regular employee engagement surveys and feedback sessions. The goal of these is to show our employees that the management listens to them and that we care about them and their opinion.”
Matt says that doesn’t have to be a strenuous or overwhelming effort. “By using various questionnaires and surveys we are able to easily gauge the opinions of employees and truly understand their feelings and opinions. These feedback sessions and surveys are conducted periodically, as it helps us find the real issues and help solve them.”
“Also, we have seen that the more our employees are asked for their opinion, the more they will feel valued and trusted,” Matt continued, “which in turn empowers them and helps them be more engaging at work."
Provide Regular Feedback
The CEO of Data for SEO, Nick Chernets, addressed the issue of management feedback to employees, which has been a major barrier to employee engagement. Nick believes it's crucial to strike a balance between positive and constructive criticism.
"A very common mistake managers make is giving feedback only when there is an issue at hand. This way, employees get the feeling that they’re not doing a good job—which can affect overall motivation,” according to Nick. “I have seen a lot of people whose performance dropped simply because they had poor feedback from the manager and didn’t have enough support to deal with dilemmas or challenges."
Make Employee Satisfaction Your Priority
Overwork and burnout are at an all-time high for many workers due to constantly linked gadgets, newly crowned home "offices," and the suspension of much of social life over the past year. And engagement is not guaranteed by that.
"Providing health and wellness opportunities not only benefits employees’ well-being but also you are helping your business. When employees’ health and happiness matter to you, employees feel valued as members of the company. And when they feel valued, they become less stressed, engage more, and enjoy what they are doing,” according to Liam Johnson, CEO at The Hitch Store.
94% of the businesses we contacted claim to have initiatives or programs in place to improve employee well-being.
According to John Berry, CEO of Berry Law," instilling programs to achieve wellness goals will set high confidence and allow employee engagement to soar.” “Providing resources or activities to deal with high-stress situations through team-based activities like a softball league or offering gym memberships helps show empathy for your employees and care for their overall wellness."
However, initiatives and programs are just the beginning. The leadership's attitude toward well-being will also influence employee involvement in wellness programs.
"I always stress the importance of rest and work-life balance to all of my employees. Make sure they're not overworking themselves by trying to keep up with different time zones, for example," Jason Akatiff, Co-Founder at Boundery, remarked.
Help Your Employees Achieve Financial Well-being
“Over 90% of Americans still struggle with COVID-related financial stress,” Kayling Gaver, COO, and Co-Founder of Tapcheck, made a point. “Giving your workers the resources to overcome financial challenges will allow them to perform their best at work by removing a significant portion of their stress.”
Of course, this does not obligate everyone to offer a big pay increase. Employees frequently experience financial stress due to problems with simple cash flow—money going out but not coming in.
Earned Wage Access' is one strategy to counter that (or EWA).
As stated by Kayling, “Earned wage access is a great way to give your employees financial flexibility. It’s a low-risk employee engagement strategy that lets workers access the wages they’ve earned before payday.”
“This financial wellness benefit allows them to improve their household cash flow and cover unexpected costs, like medical bills,” Kayling stated. “Surveys have shown that employees who have access to EWA demonstrate higher engagement and loyalty and are less stressed.”
“Offer EWA to enhance your employees’ financial wellness and enjoy a more engaged workforce,” Kayling said.
Alright, we will no longer bombard you with any more knowledge, haha! But, on a serious note, we have come up with all this information from industry experts and global surveys, and these will help you to successfully engage your employees, resulting in more productivity and eventually, more profitability, Although, following all of these may be difficult, you can start with a few. Some of you may have already implemented some of the above-mentioned tips. Best of luck! And we hope you achieve good engagement from your employees.