Employees are crucial to the success of your business. They produce the goods or services which, in turn, earn a profit for your business. Often, they are the face of your company as they interact with customers.
You feel like you treat your employees well and they seem to be getting the job done without too much drama. So you can move on to other areas of your business that need your attention, right?
Not so fast! It’s worth it to take a second look into whether or not your employees are truly engaged with their work. Have you ever considered whether your employees are working just for the paycheck? Or do they care deeply about contributing to the overall success of the company? Why should you even care? Simply put, because it’s good for business. We’ll tell you why.
What is Employee Engagement?
Some may equate employee engagement with job satisfaction. While there may be some crossover, it is important to make a distinction between the two.
An employee may be satisfied with their pay, the hours they work, and their ability to get a job done. Similar to a relationship, a person can be satisfied without feeling a passion toward their work. They may not look forward to coming to work and may be content with doing only the minimum amount of work required.
Employee engagement delves into an employee’s level of motivation, involvement, and emotional commitment – not only to their specific work, but to their overall perspective of the company they work for.
Levels of Employee Engagement
To better understand how engaged your employees are, let’s take a look at the different levels of engagement.
Engaged employees are highly involved and enthusiastic about their work and workplace. They are not only very satisfied with their jobs, but they continually think about how the company can be better; they care deeply about the overall success of the company. Willing to go the extra mile, they drive the organization forward. They feel like their job matters. They feel a loyalty to the company, their manager, and their co-workers.
Employees who are not engaged are psychologically unattached to their work and company. They do not put much energy or passion into their work.
Disengaged employees are not just unhappy – they’re resentful and can potentially undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish.
If you feel like your employees are working “just for the paycheck”, then they fall into the latter two categories.
Consider these statistics from the 2017 State of the American Workplace report by Gallup.
- 33% of employees are actively engaged in their job
- 16% are actively disengaged
- A whopping 51% are not engaged or disengaged
While that last number is deeply concerning, it also represents the greatest opportunity for employers to move the needle to get them up to where they would register as engaged. Focus your time and efforts on those employees. (And maybe consider whether it’s even worth it to keep your disengaged employees around?!)
The level of Employee Engagement in your business affects your bottom line
Employees that are doing an “okay” job may help your business survive in the short-term. However, your business cannot thrive in the long-term with a minimal level of engagement, or worse yet, no engagement at all.
Disengaged employees provide average or poor customer service, generate less sales, are disconnected from the business, and do the bare minimum. Disengaged employees often look for work elsewhere. Therefore, you will deal with higher turnover which includes the time and energy - not to mention the costs! - to terminate an employee, while recruiting and hiring a new one.
Studies have shown that engaged employees provide better customer service, generate more sales, promote the business, and are willing to go above and beyond.
The Gallup poll previously referenced found these results with highly engaged employees:
- Absenteeism is reduced by 41%
- Productivity is increased by 17%
- Turnover is reduced by 59%
- Quality defects go down by 40%
- Safety incidents decrease by 70%
- Sales increase 20%
- Profitability is 21% greater
In other words, the level of employee engagement affects your bottom line!
How do I know how engaged my employees are?
Several metrics can be used to see trends in your business: turnover, absenteeism, length of service, worker’s compensation claims filed, and employee advancement rates – just to name a few.
There are other ways to gather “soft” data. Get a feel for employee engagement by analyzing the level and tone of communication in your teams and departments. Take note of whether the work that people do actually aligns with your mission and vision. Asking for employee input is very important - conduct employee surveys, focus groups, and discussions.
Each company is unique in terms of number of employees, types of employees, and ways to measure engagement. We have the experience and tools to help you to find the best ways to measure engagement within your individual business.
How do I improve employee engagement?
The fact that you are even asking that question indicates that you care deeply about the well-being of your employees. Having a boss that cares about his or her employees to that extent sets a tone that encourages greater engagement.
As with most things in life, communication is extremely important. Let employees know that you want their time spent working for you to feel worthwhile to them. Ask them which systems benefit them the most and what could be changed or added to help them feel more valued and engaged.
Respect is also key to improving employee engagement. As Paul L. Marciano writes in his book Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work, “Without respect, relationships don't work. As our level of respect grows for an individual, so does our level of engagement. And when we lose respect, we disengage. It is difficult, if not impossible, to feel a sense of commitment to a person, team or organisation that one disrespects.”
There are also very practical steps that you can put in place to increase employee engagement. Some ideas include:
- Onboarding/new hire training
- Annual performance reviews, in addition to ongoing/daily feedback and recognition
- Fair benefits
- Transparency in your company’s goals and finances, whenever possible
- Self-development, cross-training, and autonomy – promoting a culture of growth
- Set clear expectations during the interview/onboarding process.
In conclusion, consider this: How great would it be to have a team of people who are committed to the success of your business as much you are? How much more progress could you make toward your vision and goals?
When you realize how valuable your employees are, evaluate their engagement level, and seek to put in the time and effort to increase it, you will experience growth in your bottom line and far beyond.
If you would like to get an outside perspective and analysis on the level of your employee engagement, get in touch with us. We offer a free 30-minute consultation and we’d love to meet with you!