Employee Engagement

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Health Assured team

06 February 2020

An effective employee engagement strategy can empower your organisation and your people. Engaged employees give life to their teams. They work hard, drive results, and gain a sense of achievement from doing so—leaving them happier and more fulfilled.

Disengaged employees can contribute to toxic workplace cultures and problematic team dynamics.

You can see from this stark contrast how business success depends upon the discretionary effort employees give to the organisation.

There are many aspects of employee engagement to consider; including measurement, drivers for employee engagement, and various improvement methods.

In this guide, we'll cover what employee engagement is, effective employee engagement strategies, and top ways to measure employee engagement.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is an area of the workplace that has gained attention from employers and HR leaders in recent years. It slots into narratives around workplace cultures and has a broader focus on employee wellbeing at work.

However, there can be some lack of agreement on a singular employee engagement definition, with research varying in the core conditions that constitute employee engagement.

Some key studies define employee engagement as a psychological state that workers experience in relation to their role and workplace.

Other research defines employee engagement as the opposite of burnout—a positive, fulfilling and effective mind-state, with a willingness to invest and persist with workloads in a resilient manner. This study also finds a big link between job satisfaction and engaged employees.

The general consensus around employee engagement is a positive one; engaged employees are dedicated and concentrated on the task at hand. They're organised and motivated;as well as energised and committed. They're identified with their roles and see how they contribute to wider organisational success.

The indicators of employee engagement above highlight how highly engaged employees can contribute to organizational success and even improved financial performance; an organization's success depends on the people behind it.

Why is employee engagement important?

Employee engagement is important for a variety of reasons. On an organisation level, it's vital that your teams are working hard and staying motivated. This derives from meeting key performance indicators, targets, and goals.

If you're a customer or client-facing organisation, increased engagement and interaction will also impact customer experience in a positive way.

On a personal level, an engaged employee has improved life and work satisfaction, with staff more loyal and enthusiastic in their roles.

Some of the main benefits of employee engagement include:

  • Higher commitment and satisfaction levels.
  • Higher employee retention.
  • Greater productivity, synergy and motivation.
  • Increased profitability.
  • Reduced instances of absenteeism.
  • Improved customer loyalty.
  • Increased creativity and innovation.
  • Better customer service and customer satisfaction.
  • Reduced recruitment costs and lower employee turnover.
  • Better business outcomes.

Engage employees

Measuring employee engagement

Engagement metrics are vital in understanding how your employees feel about their roles. Engagement improvement efforts have to initiate somewhere; so define your starting point before you set out to improve it.

Once you begin to understand what drives employee engagement you can start to improve employee satisfaction and motivate employees more easily. You then take one step closer to an engaged workforce.

Improving employee experience is a long-term project so you must carry out this employee engagement research regularly. This can be done quarterly or monthly. By revisiting and comparing the results, you can track how your engagement efforts are performing over time and make adjustments where necessary.

We've put together some of the most common methods of measuring employee engagement below:

Engagement survey

An engagement survey is one of the most useful tools employers can use to understand how employees feel towards the organisation. Employee engagement surveys can be made anonymous, so you give employees the freedom to share how they really think and feel.

There are many free online tools you can use to create and send out your employee surveys. And this job usually sits within the Human Resources department. You can craft your employee engagement survey to include questions on a range of topics and send it out to the entire organization digitally. We've listed some common engagement survey questions below:

  • "How satisfied are you in your day-to-day life at work?"
  • "How motivated do you feel at work on a scale of 1 to 10?"
  • "Do you feel supported by your manager?"
  • "How would you describe the workplace culture?"
  • "How likely are you to stay in your role for the next 12 months?"
  • "Do you feel satisfied with your work-life balance and if not why?"
  • "How approachable do you feel senior leaders of the organisation are?"

These prompts help you to understand the key drivers of employee engagement. You can then use your employee engagement survey results to feed into your employee engagement strategy.

Focus groups

Many organizations measure engagement with focus groups. Groups can vary in size but they usually consist of a small group of employees who get together to openly discuss topics..

You can hold a focus group in a variety of ways. But the vast majority of organisations chose topics or questions before opening the floor to others. This more personal session can give you a greater insight into an employee's complex thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Exit interviews

Poor employee engagement is often linked with high employee turnover. By carrying out exit interviews, you can understand areas of employee engagement that you might be able to improve.

You can learn where your problem areas might be and where steps should be taken to improve an employee's experience.

Revisiting the results of exit interviews regularly will help you to see where you've made or what further improvements you can make. We've listed some common questions below:

  • "What were your relationships with your manager and colleagues like?"
  • "What makes you want to leave this organisation?"
  • "What do you think are the positive aspects of this organisation?"
  • "Were there any issues that you encountered at work in your role?"
  • "How would you describe the culture of the organisation?"

One-to-one meetings

One-to-one meetings can be a great way to talk about employee performance. But they're also the perfect platform to discuss how your team feel about their role.

You can ask them about what works and what doesn't. Find out if they have an issues and discuss their opinions of the organisation.

You can ask managers to collate these responses and feedback with a general consensus of how engaged their teams are.

Engaged employees

How to improve employee engagement

So, how can you increase employee engagement? It all begins with an employee engagement strategy. The purpose of this strategy will be to drive employee engagement, and much of this involves focusing on employee 'satisfaction' and employee 'experience'.

Because there are many aspects to engagement, there are many ways that you can try to make improvements. By outlining a clear employee engagement strategy and delegating responsibility, it increases the likelihood that your plans will come into fruition.

We've put together some recommendations below that you can incorporate into your strategy:

Employee engagement initiatives

Employee motivation is a key factor that contributes to engagement. Engaged employees are motivated to complete their workloads and contribute to business outcomes. Key drivers of employee motivation include feeling inspired, supported and appreciated for work.

Inspire employees with incentives for achieving their goals, targets, or KPIs. It could be a financial reward, but it doesn't have to be. It could be a team meal, drinks after work, or a motivating morning meeting too.

Define and improve workplace culture

Having a clear understanding of your company culture can help you and your employees see how they fit within the organisation. When considering your culture think about your organization's mission and values. What is important to you and your employees?

Defining a clear culture helps lay out the attitudes and behaviours that are accepted within your organisation. It sets the tone for interactions across teams and guides the direction of the company. It helps employees, new hires, managers and leaders act in alignment with the workplace.

Improving workplace culture involves setting out values that drive positive actions and behaviours such as those of honesty, commitment, authenticity and strength.

Give employees a voice

Employee engagement derives from a feeling of autonomy. Trusting employees to make good decisions and do the right thing is empowering and this can improve employee engagement.

It could be allowing employees the opportunity to set the pace of work or how they complete it. By offering every individual employee this responsibility, it reduced the chance of feeling overwhelmed.

By giving employees a voice in the way, they do things it encourages empowerment and personal growth. Discussing working methods in an open dialogue and considering employees' points of view in this way. It can bolster engagement and therefore business outcomes.

Support your managers

Direct supervisors and managers are going to be the ones leading your employee engagement process. So it's essential that you support them with the right tools and knowledge to do so.

Develop managers with adequate skills with training and workshops on people management. Effective managers will support employees right from the onset of the onboarding process and this is a big facet of employee engagement. But only if they have the training required to carry out this commitment.

Strong empowering leadership

Avoid employee disengagement with strong empowering leadership that encourages mutual respect between all members of your organisation. Striving towards company success is the job of your senior leaders. And this therefore involves playing a key part in employee engagement, too.

Encourage leaders to help employees and managers understand how they can work together in their teams. Strive to create a positive working environment, where they feel satisfied and supported.

Use an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

It's hard for employees to balance personal life and workloads, alongside other commitments. An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) lets your people know you care. By providing benefits like this to your employees you look after their mental and physical wellbeing.

An EAP offers mental health support to employees whenever they need it. When employees see that you value their wellbeing in this way, it increases engagement and productivity as a result.

Health Assured can support you with employee engagement

Here at Health Assured our workplace wellbeing team are experienced in increasing employee engagement in organisations of all sizes.

With our EAP, our clinical experts can help you create a plan and support employees in the process with access to 24-7 mental health support.

Get in touch with one of our wellbeing experts to find out more today by calling 0844 891 0352.

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