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Employee engagement is one of the core principles of organisational success. It cultivates happier staff, increases productivity, and eventually boosts profitability. Without it, a company can find itself stuck in a rut with disengaged, unmotivated and unhappy staff.
Managers are increasingly understanding the importance of encouraging employee engagement and how it goes hand in hand with company growth and success. According to Gallup, 34% of US employees were engaged in the workplace, which is the highest level in Gallup’s history.
So, if you want to know more about the importance of employee engagement and why it is essential for transforming the workplace, read on!
What is employee engagement?
An engaged employee is present, focused, and motivated in the workplace. They go above and beyond their job role, feel that they have a purpose, and are committed to the goals and values of their company.
Employee engagement describes those who have more reason to go to work beyond a paycheck. They’re invested, absorbed, and devoted to bettering the company’s operations, reputation and interests.
The importance of employee engagement
1. It improves productivity
Gallup found that disengaged employees cost the US between $450 billion and $550 billion each year in lost productivity. Another Gallup research study, conducted in 2012, also found that businesses with a high level of engagement had 21% higher productivity rates. The key takeaway, then, is that employees tend to be more productive when they are satisfied with their jobs.
Job satisfaction gives employees the motivation and energy to go the extra mile with their tasks and job performance. Increased efficiency then leads to a better quality of work, and eventually benefits business results.
Employees should be enthusiastic about their work, motivated to offer ideas and always strive to do more. With high engagement levels, your workforce can benefit in these ways tremendously.
2. It encourages collaboration and communication
When employees find their work meaningful and feel valued as members of staff, internal communication and collaboration are improved. They are more open to developing plans and facing challenges together, and it has a positive effect on meetings and cross-departmental communication. These factors increase productiveness and eventually amplify business results and even employee success.
Communication from management is also vital as it clarifies the company’s goals and provides a shared understanding of the organisation’s performance and direction. Without this, there is a higher chance of misunderstandings arising in the workplace.
Building engagement through communication and collaboration tactics are, therefore, essential in pushing a business forward. Examples of this include having an open plan office or creating a communication toolkit that provides vital company information.
3. It builds trust and relationships
Open communication, honesty and comradery from management builds trust among employees. Staff members do not want to feel like another ‘number’ in the organisation, nor do they want to feel like they work in a factory. Employee engagement enables a company to feel more like a community, where management is open, honest and truthful with staff. By giving your employees a voice, recognising their contributions and showing compassion you can create better trust between management and staff.
Methods like engagement activities, open-door policies, and get-togethers can also augment a relationship between seniors and their staff. Monitoring and measuring employee morale and offering support and open feedback are additional engagement initiatives that build trust in the workplace.
4. It improves employee wellbeing
Another positive consequence of engagement in the workplace is employee wellbeing. When staff are happy and engaged at work, their overall mental and physical health is positively affected. And conversely, when staff are in good health, they perform better.
Gallup found that 62% of engaged employees feel their work positively affects their physical health, while 78% of engaged workers feel their work lives benefit them psychologically.
5. It creates job fulfilment
An impressive paycheck, an office pool table, or an Ugly Sweater Day aren't the only ways to retain happy and committed employees. They want a job that develops their skills offers a positive experience and enhances their careers. Employees want job fulfilment.
Employee engagement establishes job satisfaction. Some employees are not going to stay in a job just because it is financially secure; they want to feel engaged with their role. According to the 2018 statistics by Access Perks, nearly 60% of Americans would take a job they love over a job they hate, even if the preferred position paid half the amount of salary they would earn at the job they dislike.
Whether it is through training, a positive environment or communication, several engagement methods can instil job fulfilment in your employees.
6. It cultivates company culture
When staff feel valued and appreciated, it contributes to a positive company culture. Employees want empowering and fulfilling working experiences. They strive to work in a pleasant environment where communication is open, there's no conflict, missions and values are clear, and success is rewarded. This is all achieved when management puts focus on employee engagement permanently, and not just as a passing trend.
Engagement strategies can strengthen company culture, which can then lessen staff turnover. Low office morale and job dissatisfaction can spread among your workforce, which can be costly to the business. It's critical, then, that HR managers find ways to enforce engagement and make employees feel enthusiastic about coming to work.
7. It reduces employee turnover
A happy employee is a loyal employee. Engaging staff members is crucial for sustaining top talents in your workplace. It reduces staff turnover, and thus decreases burdensome hiring costs. When employees feel satisfied with their working culture and values, they are more likely to remain in that position and stay committed to their employer. According to a study by Josh Bersin, companies with highly engaged staff lowered employee turnover by 31%.
A disengaged employee will show up, do the bare minimum, and possibly quit their job for a better offer elsewhere. This then results in a vicious cycle, whereby fellow employees notice others leaving, and end up doing the same.
A lack of employee engagement is usually a result of:
- Feeling undervalued by management
- Low pay and lack of rewards
- Poor company communication
- Mismatch with values, goals and company mission
- Lack of collaboration
8. It improves talent acquisition
Companies that have low employee turnover rates and great business results are more likely to attract top talent. Jobhunters take notice of firms that focus on employee happiness and satisfaction. They're looking for organisations that offer a positive and thriving culture. These elements are usually affirmed through a company's social media accounts, website, or overall reputation.
Companies that are therefore developing employee engagement can stand out in the competitive job landscape and attract talented, in-demand staff.
9. It attracts and retains customers
Employee engagement not only retains skilled staff but customers too. Satisfaction has a domino effect – when your employees are happy with their experience, your clients will feel the same. Why? Because high morale and positivity are contagious.
When the sales force is happy, your customers will take notice. They'll be on the receiving end of a positive customer service, which will, in turn, attract and retain clients at a higher rate.
10. It builds success
An engaged workforce fuels better business results. Simply put, it can increase profits and company success. The 2012 Gallup study reported that companies with high levels of engagement were related to positive business outcomes. More specifically, they were 22% more profitable than those with low levels of engagement.
As mentioned earlier, a positive salesforce helps retain and attract customers, which ultimately drives more revenue and profit. Happier staff are also more likely to recommend their organisation's services or products to others.
One of the most valuable assets a business can have is its people. That is why employee engagement matters so much. Keep them content and improve their satisfaction on an ongoing basis, and you'll be guaranteed a happier workforce and successful business in the long run.
How do you achieve employee engagement in the workplace? Let us know in the comment section below!