What is employee engagement and why is it critical for every company?

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What is employee engagement and why is it critical for every company?

This is a guest post from Melisa Marzett. Melisa is a freelance employee currently working for findwritingservice.com. She enjoys traveling, sports, cooking and swimming.

Employee engagement implies a psychological state of workers in which they are interested in the success of the company where they work, and are willing to invest their time and energy in the common cause. Indicators of employee engagement are initiative, enthusiasm, desire to actively participate in the life of the team, develop plans, make decisions, etc.

In different countries, professionals researched employee engagement to show the enormous impact of this indicator on the performance of a company.

Gallup research from a few years ago found out that:

  • Firms, where employee engagement is at a high level, are much less affected by staff turnover, systematic absenteeism and other breaches of discipline;
  • Factors that have a positive impact on the business (such as the profitability of the enterprise, customer loyalty), in such firms, on the contrary, are more pronounced.

Particularly interesting is the study of Aon Hewitt, which was devoted to one of the leading indicators of business success – profitability. The results illustrate the striking impact of employee engagement in companies on profits. As a result of increased participation by 1%, profits increased by $ 20 million, by 5% – by 100 million, by 10% – by 200 million.

Regardless of the size of the company, if the employee engagement increased, the profits also increased significantly. For a company engaged in retail trade, the growth could be up to 100 thousand dollars, and for a large travel company – up to 45 million.

Based on these studies, we can conclude that managing employee engagement gives companies tremendous prospects for further growth. After all, at the moment more than 80% of enterprise workers around the world are practically not interested in the work process, the quality of their work will leave much to be desired.

The advantages of high employee engagement in the workflow are apparent. At the same time, the staff demonstrates more diligence, creativity in solving urgent problems, politeness and interest in communicating with consumers with engagement. All this has a positive effect on the company’s image, customer loyalty and, ultimately, on the level of profit.

The healthy state of the team, whose employees are interested in the efficiency of their work, also leads to low staff turnover. If it is necessary to establish a new position, one of the employees will gladly take it. And if necessary to create a new role, the head of such an enterprise will not be limited in choice. After all, employees themselves tend to search where all the conditions for employee engagement are.

The researchers also note that low employee engagement is the cause of poor “efficiency” of employees and low quality of customer service. And this, in turn, leads to severe losses of income.

6 Ways to increase employee engagement with HR

Onboarding

It is necessary to create a favorable impression for employees about their company as early as recruitment. When a new employee enters the enterprise, he or she should immediately feel the general atmosphere of engagement. It is especially true of the case when a manager has the opportunity to get a very valuable professional on his or her staff.

When conducting an interview, you should try to immediately establish a trusting relationship with the candidate and prepare the ground for their entry into the team.

Among other best practices are:

  • Assigning experienced tutors for the newbies;
  • Check-in interviews with new employees in a month;
  • Engagement to adaptation an employee’s family members.

The personnel department of Microsoft knows some ways to shape employee engagement at the stage of workers’ adaptation. The number of employees of this company throughout the world exceeds 120,000 people, while employee engagement is at a very high level.

Work in this direction begins with the first day the employee is on the enterprise. There is a weekly adaptation course developed by specialists, as well as many programs for the adaptation of various categories of employees depending on their professional and psychological characteristics.

Stay interviews

A recent study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity has shown that conducting such interviews has a beneficial effect on the company’s market performance. Stay interviews can increase staff retention by increasing engagement, and you can use it along with weekend and evaluation interviews.

It is better to conduct a one-on-one interview in an informal setting. The goal of the manager during such a meeting is to clarify the point of view of the employee involved in various factors of production. Once you compare their answers to those of managers, it is easy to understand when the team is not satisfied with the organization, working process, and more. For a more holistic picture, you can explore employee engagement through interviews with employees who have an average or even low engagement rate.

The importance of ongoing interviews is that they reveal the causes of problems with employee engagement in the early stages, before they reach a critical point. Accordingly, management will have the time and opportunity to develop a plan for improving conditions and maintaining engagement. Also, any interaction with employees on the work of the enterprise increases their loyalty.

Individual development plans

Another factor affecting market performance is the professional development of the company’s employees. The higher the engagement of an employee, the greater his/her need for self-development and increased skills, which s/he will be able to apply in the future.

You can increase employee engagement effectively by creating individual development plans.

  • First, the preparation of such a project can be one of the methods for effective communication between employer and employees.
  • Secondly, the project will take into account the interests of the best employees and give them the necessary opportunities for professional growth.

An employee development plan may include various refresher courses, training, rotation, coaching, or working with mentors from among the most experienced employees of the firm.

Participation in bright, important projects for a company

Providing work with deep meaning helps with employee engagement. Most of the firms with high levels of engagement get to work on projects that are important to their shared mission. The participation of employees in such plans gives a sense of the significance of their work and, as a result, increases production efficiency. Of course, it is impossible to assign everyone to your best clients, but the possibility of joining the team of “chosen ones” also motivates employees.

The best employees with high engagement should be encouraged to rise to new levels. It may be participation in international conferences, attendance at any professional events of various sizes, etc.

A physical environment that stimulates creative thinking and supports health

Often, to increase employee engagement, it would help to revise the design of the working space of employees. The working environment has a significant influence on the mental and emotional state of a person, including performance.

For example, you can divide the workspace into several zones. One can be for concentrated work, another for brainstorming with the participation of the whole team, and a third for recreation. Staff performance will be much higher if the surrounding space is labor-intensive.

One should pay particular attention to recreation areas, which are still not provided in many enterprises. They help increase employee engagement, providing an opportunity for mental relaxation and maintaining physical health.

Time for creative thinking and innovations

The introduction of change always requires long research and planning, which is difficult to combine with daily concerns. You can maintain your staff’s interest in finding new ideas by allocating time on a weekly or monthly basis.

Employees will work on long-term projects aimed at the modernization of production with a great desire and commitment if you select specific hours for this. The introduction of this practice on an ongoing basis began in the middle of the last century. Modern firms also often take the opportunity to direct employee engagement to the development of progressive ideas. Among the famous examples is the Google company, where each employee can devote 20% of the time to developing author projects.

Company executives should understand that employee engagement is one of the most significant factors affecting the overall performance of the team.

Research conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity showed the primary criterion of engagement determines the confidence of employees in caring for their interests.

What makes employee engagement so important: hands-on examples of known companies

Example 1

Kenneth Hendricks, director of the American company for the import of roofing materials at ABC Supply, said that to achieve employee engagement and good relations with customers, employees need to feel comfortable while working. He launched a whole campaign aimed at meeting the needs of workers.

Hendricks devoted a lot of time to communicate with employees in an informal setting. He established a relationship of trust with everyone, creating an atmosphere of unity and engagement.

Besides, the entire staff of the company (which, by the way, includes 350 branches) had a specially designed weekly meeting with photos and personalized lists where corporate goals recorded.

This simple subject was an indicator of the attitude of the authorities towards their subordinates and, together with other activities, became an essential step toward ensuring that employee engagement was top notch.

Thanks to this, ABC Supply is still growing and developing at a desirable rate.

Example 2

Widely known online shoe store Zappos  has always kept corporate culture and employee engagement at the forefront. To join the ranks of the employees of this company, you need to pass this test for participation.

First of all, the candidate undergoes a series of interviews with staff and company executives. The candidate can also receive an invitation to a corporate event, where she or he has to show how quickly they can join the team.

After a four-week adaptation period, the candidate has the opportunity to leave the company, while receiving compensation of 3 thousand dollars.

The fact that less than 3% of people take this offer demonstrates the degree of the company’s prestige.

Employee engagement in Zappos is about a careful selection of specialists who meet corporate requirements and support common ideas and values.

Example 3

Another firm that actively uses the idea of ​​influencing customers through employee involvement is Reebok.

In 2011, a training center was established based on one of the company’s warehouses, where Reebok employees were engaged in improving their physical fitness.

In total, across the year, they lost 4000 pounds. The event received a comprehensive response and is spreading to branches all over the world.

Company executives have found a way to shape real employee engagement based on the personal perception of the company’s values. After all, to sell Reebok products well, you need to be familiar with sports firsthand and understand its importance in human life.

Example 4

FullContact chose another way to influence employee engagement. They developed a whole system of bonuses for staff. For example, once a year each employee receives a paid vacation — incentive amount – 7.5 thousand dollars.

Moreover, the company requires the employee to comply with the following unusual rules:

  • Mandatory use of leave;
  • Lack of professional activity during the holidays;
  • Lack of any connection with the office (telephone calls, mail, etc.)

In this way, the companies are trying to maintain employee engagement through caring for their health. Even during the holidays, managers have the opportunity to fully relax from work, while subordinates at this time can demonstrate their independence.


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