7 Steps to Improve Employee Engagement
There’s no doubt about it: When employees are engaged at work, they are significantly happier and more motivated—and it shows in their performance. In recent years, employee engagement has become a hot topic for many organizations battling high turnover rates and new employee expectations. However, despite acknowledging engagement as a priority, many organizations still have little to no understanding of what employee engagement actually is, let alone how to improve it.
So what exactly is employee engagement, other than a buzzword? While the definition is still somewhat ambiguous, employee engagement is essentially the level of commitment, loyalty, and passion that an employee feels toward his or her employer. When an employee’s personal goals are aligned with the company’s vision and goals, the employee is much more likely to be engaged in the workplace.
Despite the obvious importance of employee engagement, many employees today are still disengaged at work. A recent Gallup poll revealed that only 33 percent of employees in the United States are engaged at work. What does this mean for employers with poor engagement? In this post, we attempt to answer that question by explaining why employee engagement is important and how to improve it at your organization.
Understanding the Importance of Employee Engagement
Employees today are motivated by a lot more than just salary. In fact, a recent survey found that 95 percent of job candidates believe company culture trumps compensation. And employee engagement doesn’t benefit just the employee. Along with creating a more positive company culture, a high level of engagement benefits employers as well. Below are just a few of the reasons why employee engagement is so important.
Increased performance: Studies show that organizations with strong employee engagement see a 26 percent greater annual increase in revenue than those struggling to achieve alignment with their employees. Are you wondering how that’s possible? Because employees are the face (and heart) of a company, it’s no surprise that engagement has an impact on profitability and customer satisfaction. In fact, companies with highly engaged workforces outperform peer organizations by 147 percent in earnings per share.
Decreased turnover: Employee turnover is extremely costly for many organizations. In fact, employee turnover costs U.S. companies billions of dollars a year. (Yes, you read that right: billions!) And with the turnover rate spiking to its highest level in a decade, employee retention is more important than ever. Engaged employees are far less likely to jump ship. According to Gallup, only 37 percent of engaged employees are looking for a new job, as opposed to 73 percent of disengaged employees.
Increased productivity: By improving employee engagement, you can increase productivity and establish a culture that celebrates innovation and collaboration. In fact, studies show that engaged employees are 21% more productive than their disengaged teammates. Simply put, employees are much more likely to go the extra mile when they’re satisfied and engaged at work.
Improving the Employee Experience
Most of today’s business leaders acknowledge that employee engagement is a leading priority for their organization. However, many have no real understanding of what is currently not working and how to fix it. How can you improve the employee experience and transform your company culture for the better? Here are seven steps to help you improve your organization’s overall employee experience.
1. Understand what’s not working.
First and foremost, you need to evaluate what’s not working. With a better understanding of why you’re currently failing at employee engagement, you can identify areas for improvement and use those insights to inform your engagement strategy. A few of the most common reasons why employers fail at engagement are poor communication, lack of company culture, micromanagement, ignoring core values, failing to listen to employee feedback, and lack of opportunities for professional growth and development.
2. Cultivate employee engagement.
Employee engagement doesn’t happen overnight—or by itself, for that matter. In order to improve company culture, you need to help cultivate employee engagement by organizing team-building activities. These activities help build a sense of community and encourage employees to form relationships with their teammates. According to Gallup, research has repeatedly shown that there is a concrete link between having a best friend at work and how much effort employees expend.
3. Improve the onboarding experience.
Did you know that 69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for at least three years after a positive onboarding experience? First impressions go a long way. By improving your onboarding experience, you can immediately get off to a good start with new hires. With successful onboarding and training, employees learn how to do their job effectively and develop relationships with their new coworkers. Instead of overwhelming employees by forcing them to jump right in, take the time to develop an onboarding program that will leave a lasting good impression.
4. Communicate clearly and consistently.
Poor communication is one of the main factors contributing to employee disengagement. Too often, organizations lack transparency and fail to communicate with employees on a regular basis. You can improve this considerably by holding regular company meetings to update employees on performance, answer questions, and reiterate the company’s vision and goals. Leadership should also encourage managers to hold department meetings and frequent one-on-one meetings with each direct report. This helps keep the communication lines open and gives employees the opportunity to ask questions.
5. Create opportunities for development.
A lack of opportunities for personal development and continuing education often leads to disengaged employees and increased turnover. Aim to create new opportunities for employees to grow, both as individuals and within the organization. Clearly define each role, the responsibilities of each role, and how each role contributes to achieving the company’s vision and goals. You can also use dynamic org chart software to help with workforce planning and demonstrating growth opportunities to employees in a way that is fun and visually appealing.
6. Acknowledge performance.
Employees desire regular feedback from their managers, and you can improve employee engagement by simple acknowledging performance in a new way. According to Gallup, employees who aren’t recognized for their work are twice as likely to quit. Consider rewarding top-performing employees with incentives, such as merit-based bonuses and achievement awards. By creating a culture of recognition, you can inspire your team to contribute better work—and make them happier in the process.
7. Enhance the digital workplace.
Today, everything is digital, and employees expect nothing less. You can drive increased engagement by enhancing your digital workplace with new employee-collaboration tools, such as live org chart software. Dynamic org chart software increases efficiency and creates new opportunities for collaboration, communication, relationship building, organizational planning, and sharing a clear organizational structure with your team. These tools are useful on a regular basis, whether you’re onboarding new employees or sharing updates at a company meeting.
Understanding the importance of employee engagement and how to improve it are the first steps to establishing an engaged workplace. With the right processes and technology in place, you can completely transform your company culture and drive increased employee engagement that is sure to come with a host of other benefits.
Are you curious about how leveraging technology can improve your company culture? Schedule a live demo of Pingboard’s live org chart software to learn more about the role that organizational charts can play in improving employee engagement.