What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is the degree to which employees feel responsible for their job at their workplaces, how committed they are to the organization, and how much efforts they put voluntarily to make sure the task in hand is well done.
Employee engagement is a very popular topic of discussion in any organization. According to a study, disengaged employees in the U.S. alone cost an organization a whopping $450 billion to $ 550 billion a year.
To avoid such loses to the organization and to create a workforce that is not only actively engaged but also motivated enough to perform at the workplace employee engagement strategies and best practices are essential.
Employee engagement strategies and best practices
Low employee engagement is certainly a global problem. Right now seven out of ten employees are disengaged. This attitude severely affects the organization’s growth and success and also the morale of the other members who work there.
Employee engagement strategies and best practices are a must for any organization today. Employee engagement strategies facilitate a harmonious work environment. A group of clockwatchers is fatal to the growth of an organization.
On the contrary, the organizations or businesses that excel in their employee engagement strategies and best practices outperform their competitors in terms of profitability and productivity and that is all that matters in this competitive atmosphere.
So, what’s the secret recipe to beat the odds? How does one come up with employee engagement strategies and best practices? It’s no rocket science, here are some of the employee engagement strategies and best practices that any an organization must promote:
Best Practice #1: Hire the right people
In an organization, there is a lot of discussion around shaping workplace culture. But the truth is you’ll have to do less work in this regards if you have your recruitment strategies in place. Before the face-to-face interview with the candidate, it is important that thorough screening should be done.
This will result in bringing onboard such employees who from the very beginning have similar vision and passion for the organization, thus proving your employee engagement strategy right!
Best Practice #2: Recognize the efforts
It might sound obvious, but companies need to show appreciation for the good work done by the employees. Recognition is one of the top three motivators, according to a study. Organizations that recognize the employees’ efforts are most likely to have less attrition.
Saying “thank you” doesn’t really require any investment. A simple humane gesture can engage the employees in the organization to perform better.
Best Practice #3: Invest in your people
Working in a fast-paced environment can exhaust the employees. An organization that prioritizes its employees is most likely to perform better. Invest in your people, organize training (internal and external) like better communication skills, how to work better in a group etc.to facilitate enthusiasm and better understanding amongst the employees.
Best Practice #4: Add some fun
Generating interest in what your employees do is one of the best employee engagement strategies. If your employees don’t show interest in the work they do and are just performing the mundane activity, there are lesser chances that they will be engaged in the work they do.
It’s easy to say that one should enhance interest in the tasks assigned to them, but adding a little fun to the daily tasks never killed anyone. It’s a good practice to make your employees job a little more enjoyable.
Best Practice #5: “Engaged or Happy”?
These two words might sound very similar, however, as an employer, you need to know the difference. Your employees might be happy, but they might not necessarily be engaged in the work they do. Engagement can be seen in productivity and happiness improves efficiency, which is an added advantage.
Best Practice #6: Communicate better
Communication is the key! One of the biggest hindrances in employee engagement is communication. In an organization if an employee feels, they can’t communicate freely or ask questions directly there is a likelihood of decreased engagement levels, which in turn hampers the growth of an organization.
How to implement employee engagement strategies and best practices?
Over the last decade, a lot has changed in terms of employee engagement strategies and best practices. Employers’ focus has slightly moved from people are satisfied with their work to people who are actively engaged in their work.
Employee engagement can be directly related to employee performance. In an organization, if the employee performs, this is directly related to financial gains. So, it’s a circle of performance. If an individual is engaged and its performing better than expected then it makes sense to the team, department, division and the organization to perform better together.
However improving employee engagement requires a more strategic approach, therefore we need to first put in place employee engagement strategies and best practices and then work on efficiently implementing the strategies. These strategies can be implemented in stages, as mentioned:
Stage 1 Know your people first: It is important to first understand what your employees think about employee engagement. To know this you can send a questionnaire to your employees and ask for their feedback. Employee engagement surveys is a quantitative method that helps an organization understand where they stand in current times and how they want to look like in terms of employee engagement in future.
Stage 2 Choose your approach wisely: Surveys are easy to distribute and one can easily get the feedbacks and tabulate the conclusion, however, there will be certain employees in an organization who would not tell the complete truth and would just fill the survey for the heck of it. Using a qualitative approach can also generate responses, that might help t0 get a better insight. An organization should choose their options wisely.
Stage 3 Develop a plan of action: A central plan of action needs to be developed at the organizational level as well as a local plan of action should be sorted at the team level. One needs to remember, everything cannot be fixed overnight. The changes need to be communicated to the employees in an effective manner that increases their awareness of them.
Encourage managers to engage in local plannings with their team members. Remember it’s not just one person’s task, equip your managers and support them to come up with employee engagement strategies and best practices. Your managers are the people who spend maximum time with the staff and the best source of feedback for any plan of action.
Stage 4 Implement the plan: Implementation of any plan is the most difficult and tricky stage. This stage determines whether or not all the hard work that you as an organization have put in will work or not. This is mostly because employees have adapted themselves to certain workplace culture, behaviors and competencies. Accepting changes is not an easy process for everyone.
Implementing the strategies and best practices may need the facilitation from external sources. It is a best practice to keep your staff in the loop of all the changes that are planned, the least they want are “unwanted surprises”.
Stage 5 Evaluate: Finally, it is important to understand whether the employee engagement strategies and best practices have been successful or not. To evaluate and to understand, revisit your employee data. What is the percentage of turnover, absence, reports of stress from the time the changes have been implemented?
Have these improved or become worse? Have the changes led to financial improvement in the organization? Are the targets being achieved? Talk to your managers, ask them if the employees are happy about these changes?
Evaluation of an ongoing process not only helps in understanding if that plan has worked or not but also to understand future references.
Lastly, employee engagement strategies and best practices directly influence the employees. To implement these practices its is always good to understand employee point of view, to generate better ideas that actually work. Ultimately it’s the employees whose hard work and determination determine the financial progress of an organization.