As in any meaningful partnership we all know it takes a bit more than a bouquet of flowers, fancy dinners and shiny things to maintain a happy committed relationship. Many of us want our connections to have substance and purpose.
So why would that be any different in our working relationships?
Employee engagement is not Coffee and Bagel Tuesdays, or after work social gatherings. Rather, engagement refers to the level of enthusiasm and dedication a worker feels towards their job. Not only does an engaged employee take pride in their work, but they care about the success of their company and want to feel that they’ve contributed to it as well. Their life’s fulfilment and well-being are directly linked to their work performance and influence.
As employers, you may recall meeting with bright-eyed and eager interviewees looking for a company that offers incentives like career development, great culture and growth. However, work gets busy. Deadlines need to be met, tasks start piling up and sometimes, in all the hustle- and bustle, employers may overlook the personal and professional needs of their employees.
Bit by bit, lack of: recognition, constructive feedback, mentoring, leadership, and equity can chip away at their spirit. What was once a resilient, positive worker is now a stressed and very disengaged employee.
Why should the disengaged employee experience matter to you as an employer?
Well to start, disengagement affects the bottom-line. According to an article by Canada Human Resources Centre, disengaged workers cost North America’s business economy over $350 billion in lost productivity each year.
Employee engagement can also be beneficial in the following ways:
1. Lower absenteeism
When employees are engaged, they have a higher commitment to their organization’s success. Showing up to work is important for them to meet deadlines and support their team and clients.
2. Higher retention
If an employee is not fulfilled in their position, they are more likely to start looking elsewhere for better opportunities. However, if they are challenged and their efforts are acknowledged, they are less likely to leave. An additional bonus is their increased loyalty to the company.
3. Greater productivity
A 2016 Gallop study found that engaged employees are 17% more productive than their colleagues. They work harder, more efficiently and beyond their normal working hours – if needed.
4. Better quality of service
When employees are given autonomy and trust, they take on that responsibility with genuine care and pride. This, in turn, is reflected in the quality of work produced and services provided to clients.
5. Happier employees
Engaged organizations don’t use intimidating scare tactics as motivators. Instead, they practice positive recognition, weekly touch points and have realistic expectations of their staff. When employees are treated fairly and well, they are less stressed and happier all-around. According to the 2019 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey, job satisfaction has a strong correlation with the quality of the company’s health plan. In fact, 87% of employees who rated their health plan as excellent or very good felt satisfied in their jobs, versus only 50% who thought their health plan was poor.
So, what should you do?
The Conference Board of Canada outlines influential factors that will keep your employees engaged, and some of them start with you, the employer. Your employees need to know that they can trust their senior leadership and have a relationship with you. Apart from that, employees need to feel a sense of autonomy over their work, to be given opportunities to grow personally and professionally, and to be acknowledged and recognized for their efforts.
Engagement not only increases an employee’s commitment and happiness, but it also benefits their organization’s profits and productivity. Taking the time to consider factors that influence their engagement is the first step in the right direction for employers.
1. Employee engagement. Canada human resources centre. Retrieved on June 11, 2019 from http://www.canadahrcentre.com/solutions/employee-engagement/
2. 10 reasons why employees get disengaged (and how to prevent it). Soapbox. Retrieved on June 11, 2019 from https://soapboxhq.com/blog/employee-motivation/disengagement-what-happens-to-your-employees
3. 14 benefits of employee engagement - Backed by research. Quantum workplace. Retrieved on June 9, 2019 from https://www.quantumworkplace.com/future-of-work/14-benefits-of-employee-engagement-backed-by-research
4. Four lessons from companies that get employee engagement right. Forbes. Retrieved on June 10, 2019 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2018/06/22/four-lessons-from-companies-that-get-employee-engagement-right/#79fa8ab321bd
5. Canadian organizations struggle to engage employees. The conference board of Canada. Retrieved on June 10, 2019 from https://www.conferenceboard.ca/press/newsrelease/16-07-13/Canadian_Organizations_Struggle_to_Engage_Employees.aspx
6. Employee engagement. Investopedia. Retrieved on June 11, 2019 from https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/employee-engagement.asp