Today, companies are more focused on employee engagement. Remember that employee engagement begins at the top of the corporate ladder; which is to say, employees who feel motivated to engage, will be most likely to reciprocate it. Though it may sound strange, the evidence manifests daily when highly-qualified employees leave successful organizations for other, more alternative projects they feel more connected to. So, how is engagement encouraged as an integral force of a company’s success? Let’s take a look…
Step 1: Define it
Multiple studies have confirmed that employee engagement is always top of mind for Human Resource executives; ranking higher than psychosocial risks, talent management and supporting company growth.
Directly linked to the company’s success, the benefits of engagement are undeniable: A recent study shows that in the past year, American companies lost a heart-stopping $550 billion – all due to lack of engagement. That is, of course, aside from the excessive turnover risks, absenteeism and brand tarnishing.
Though it cannot be measured by one universal set of requirements, employee engagement does have at least two complementary aspects: the commitment to the company and contribution to business objectives. While companies focus on people, visions, core values and corporate culture, employees who are willing to do well , achieve and take pride in their work complete the recipe for success.
As Benoit Moransais of Qualintra (a world leader in measuring engagement and managerial skills) once said: “Engagement is energy!” If that’s the case, how do we channel this energy?
Step 2: Measure it
Let’s face it, evaluating engagement is tough.
Evaluation begins with the usual assessment tools: questionnaires, internal satisfaction (and dissatisfaction) surveys and performance reviews. But be warned; the use of multiple measuring tools can complicate or even hinder coherent action plans altogether, so remember that the answers are collective and inspire to better the work/life balance, improve workflow and foster the corporate development. Having a tool to measure your employee performance is an absolute necessity, while having multiple tools from different sources can be counterproductive.
Step 3: Promote it
Developing effective employee engagement is made up of three main elements.
Promoting a positive work environment is the first and most important step. This usually includes benefits (child care, telecommuting, collaborative spaces etc), attentive and reciprocal listening (in that both personal and collective contributions are correctly recognized), “open door” policies to encourage feedback and criticism, and finally through internal communications. In this case, close management is essential and a central source where employees can find a sense of community is key.
Next, comes the aspect of pride. And in this particular case, not all companies have been created equally. Skilled employees need to feel that their work aligns with their personal values, thus making work easier to complete (or become immersed in) if it feels right. For others, pride is all about having an authentic corporate brand, that fully represents the culture and values.
Finally, for most high skilled employees, they see their work as a means to self-realization. For these, the steps of personal development, mentoring, and encouragement of learning and development within the organization is absolutely beneficial!
Engagement is increasingly promoted from the highest ranks of the company; bridging the gap between engagement and performance. But with only 40% of employees actually engaged, there is still a lot of work to be done!
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