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Organisations Need Engaged Employees

This can be done through healthy discussions, sharing of ideas, respecting juniors, avoiding micromanaging and other doable measures

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We know that an engaged workforce is focused, dedicated, and loyal to jobs and the organisation. But what we may miss knowing is that a highly engaged workforce needs an enabling environment, so employees stay invested for their success and the organisation’s positive business outcomes.

Companies need to differentiate between ‘happy’ employees and ‘engaged’ employees to achieve this. They can start by considering employees as stakeholders rather than just as ‘workers’ labouring for their salaries or to boost the company’s bottom line.

Companies can create an excellent ecosystem at the workplace with the right stacking up of all the essential ingredients like exciting work, an identity for the employee, providing the right tools and training for their jobs, and building a culture of trust and recognition.

Having said that, employee engagement is not a simple or a one-time exercise to implement. It's a continuous strategy that needs to be fine-tuned for people and business success. When used in the right way, it has a quantifiable impact on business outcomes. A Gallup employee engagement survey pointed out that highly engaged teams are 21 per cent more profitable than disengaged teams, the latter costing American companies a whopping $550 billion per year!

In fact, employee engagement levels also forecast company performance during a recession. This considers the fact that engaged workers continue to make a difference, while disengaged ones get disillusioned, which impacts their performance.

One of the tried and tested ways of doing this is through employee engagement surveys designed to measure and assess employee motivation levels. These surveys give HR a peek into employees’ attitude towards work and the overall workplace environment.

HR has to work on the following aspects to develop a holistic survey and feedback system: Develop a survey communication plan, increase the survey response rate and communicate continuously with employees

about the developments in the organisation. All these factors help build employee trust and encourage honest feedback.

Organisations will have to work on the following elements that increase employee engagement levels.

Build employee trust and recognition: A Dale Carnegie study discovered that in 80 per cent of the situations when employees are not engaged with their organisations, it is because there is no trust between the employee and the immediate manager, a fact that holds good at all levels.

To change this, experts recommend some visible ways of building trust and engagement, like leaders walking around the hall and engaging with employees, asking for ideas before making a critical decision, creating a system of healthy interaction, and debating conflicting ideas over a business decision, sharing of bad news with the staff instead of hiding it, avoiding micromanaging, bringing transparency and clarity in managing, respecting the junior team members, and not the least, setting an example by removing the rotten apple. At the same time, rewarding and recognising high-performing employees.

Improve teamwork and productivity: Teamwork drives and helps build close-knit personal relationships apart from motivating employees to support one another. It brings different perspectives and ideas, which in turn increases their ability to problem solve and arrive at solutions more efficiently. There is a greater awareness of each one’s responsibilities and roles.

Enhance customer experience through happy employees: Analysts at Glassdoor, a company providing workplace insights, say that there’s a strong statistical link between employee well-being and customer satisfaction based on a large sample of some of the biggest brands.

Therefore, a more satisfied workforce is associated with the companies’ ability to deliver better customer satisfaction — particularly in industries with close interaction with customers, like retail, tourism, restaurants, healthcare, and financial services.

Retain talent: Studies point out that employees get rooted in jobs and workplaces and, consequently, become entrenched in their professional communities. They then become more engaged with their jobs and organisations. So, they hesitate to move out of this status quo as it would mean a disruption in both their social and professional lives. Companies can enhance this rooted experience and engagement by providing mentors and recognising their performances as team members. They can also offer financial incentives based on employment tenure or unique incentives.

Engage employees in a remote working system: The best way to do so is to stay connected through technology, foster social interactions, listen to feedback, keep them in the loop about organisational developments and support them with training and other tools. Organisations nowadays are also building online platforms where employees open up and speak their minds. In fact, some of them are creating virtual coffee vending machine areas and happy hours, so employees don’t miss their favourite hangout places.

Ushering in an industry-leading employee engagement experience ecosystem is possible. All it needs is for organisations to use the right keys to unlock the best potential of their people while keeping them committed to the organisation.

(The article appeared in the June 2022 issue of BW People publication, penned down by Veena Satish is VP People & Culture, MoEngage)


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