It’s a tough pill to swallow when someone chooses to leave your organization, especially for a competitor. But if you’re not working to ensure your employees are engaged, you’re likely facing this issue pretty frequently.
Employee engagement affects your staff’s desire to stay with your company, and is one of the main causes for employees looking for new roles. Globally, 85% of employees are either not engaged or are actively disengaged at work, and 52% of employees don’t believe their employers invest in improving employee experience. So without active effort, you’ll likely lose productivity, profit, and personnel.
But how do you measure and increase employee engagement? Here’s our take.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is the extent to which an employee feels connected and committed to their organization. The Harvard Business Review simplifies the definition of employee engagement as: people want to come to work, understand their job, and know how their work contributes to the success of the organization. There are many layers of engagement that can be broken into several categories — resources, growth & development, and community. Here’s what each means in regards to engagement:
- Resources: I have the resources to do my job well and have a clear outline of what’s expected of me.
- Growth & Development: I see opportunities for growth and know what I need to do to get there. Additionally, my manager or supervisor encourages my development.
- Community: I get along well with my coworkers and they seem to care about me as a person.
These categories intertwine, and each is an important part of ensuring your business is proactive about keeping your employees engaged. Here’s why.
Why does employee engagement matter?
How engaged an employee feels correlates to their investment in their role and how they interact with the company as a whole. So aside from contributing to the culture at your organization, engaged employees lead to increased profitability and productivity, better customer service and team collaboration, and improved retention and recruitment rates.
According to a Gallup study, businesses with a more engaged team had 24% less turnover, 10% higher customer ratings, 17% higher productivity, and 21% higher profitability.
How do you increase employee engagement?
The best way to increase employee engagement is by following these steps:
1. Outline your “Why” & Set Measurable Goals
You and your leadership team should start by determining the engagement outcomes you’re looking to achieve. Do you want to increase employee retention by 10%? Are you looking to improve the culture? Do you want to improve career pathing? Do you want your employee base to be more equitable and diverse?
There are tons of reasons to implement an employee engagement strategy, so outline your “why”, and get employee feedback on what matters most to them, too. You may think your culture is top notch, but if your employees disagree, you’ve got to address it if you want the opportunity to attract new employees and keep your current team around.
2. Determine Organizational Commitment & Set a Timeline
Next, decide what you’re willing to do to get to your goal, and set a timeline that’s reasonable. Think about budget, organization structure adjustments, and hiring needs, too. That way, when you go to communicate to your current staff and future employees, you’ll have a solid foundation for what they can expect and the progress you plan to make.
3. Communicate to Your Staff
Be clear on the above when you do communicate: talk about why your organization is prioritizing employee engagement, use data from feedback collected internally as well as industry standards, detail your commitments and timeline, and explain what you hope to achieve. Continue to keep your employees informed about the progress of your organization’s goals as they develop.
4. Measure and Adjust Accordingly
We’ll go into more detail about this below, but know this is as important as any other step in the process, as it tells you if your efforts are successful.
How do you measure employee engagement?
When it comes to measuring employee engagement, it’s all about feedback.
Send anonymous engagement surveys to make sure you’re keeping tabs on all areas that need improvement. And pay attention to see trends across the entire organization, individual teams, job level, and location. If a single team is really struggling with employee engagement, you know change needs to happen there first.
Questions in your engagement survey should measure several different relationships, as well. Peer-to-peer, individual contributor to manager, and individual contributor to the leadership team questions should all be considered.
Encourage managers to check in with employees on a regular basis on their growth through quarterly reviews, and give your staff the opportunity to do self reviews and manager reviews so that they can rate their experiences and contributions.
Another way to measure employee engagement is to hold exit interviews when an employee leaves your company. While you can’t change that employee’s experience, you can gain insight into why they are parting ways with your organization, and understand where changes need to be made so that other employees don’t leave for the same reasons.
Employee engagement can have a real impact on your business and your team. But by taking the necessary steps to promote employee engagement at your organization, you’ll be able to keep your employees around and attract new talent. For more tips on employee engagement, read our Employment Brand Playbook.