From companies going for complete workspace makeover to letting the employees design their own furniture, businesses are in search of new ways to improve employee engagement. It has not been very long since employee engagement has become the new rage.
Often in the race to acquire and retain customers, many companies conveniently forget their employees. Employees are no longer just a bunch of people who work for you for the amount you pay. You have to vouch for their mental and physical safety. You have ensured that you are promoting their intellectual growth. You have to provide ample workspace… the list goes on
Welcome to the employee-driven business world!
Here we will be discussing why is employee engagement important. Could you give a wild guess on how many employees in your organization are really engaged? At least half of them?
You may be overestimating the number. Only less than a third of American workers identify themselves as engaged at their jobs. Organizations have suffered 50 billion dollars to 550 billion dollars of loss because of disengaged employees
In a research conducted with over 500 employees, 71% of the managers identify employee engagement as one of the most crucial factors in a company’s success.
Employee engagement is rightly called “the holy grail of today’s workplace” by The Harvard Business Review. Higher employee engagement leads to a higher stock price. To deploy effective employee engagement, you have to first get a clear and good grip on what is employee engagement, which is a whole other discussion. For the sake of this article, let’s just say that employee engagement is the emotional commitment of the employees to the company. Companies are spending millions and their CEO’s are brainstorming to implement new and improved employee engagement strategies that could keep their employees forever in love with the company. The primary objective of employee engagement is to nurture a positive workforce. Another equally important objective is to reduce employee churn as much as possible. It can damage your company more than customer churn. An employee knows your strengths and weaknesses. It is your responsibility to try and retain as many employees as you want, though sometimes they leave you owing to some unavoidable circumstances.
Engaged employees are ideal not because it is about creating a positive environment and spreading positive reviews about your company but because it brings in huge profits which are inevitable for any business to survive and moreover excel!
The effect of more engaged employees can be seen as a ripple effect throughout your organization. You should understand that engaged employee is not just an excellent employee who does his work in the best manner, he is the one who goes that extra mile for the cause of the company just because he feels obliged to and not because he was asked to. He takes the progression of the company as his own.
An engaged employee who is so passionate about your company would definitely provide your customers with higher service and productivity. He is going to do whatever it takes him to fulfill the customer’s needs. This leads to increased customer satisfaction. He would be able to transform the satisfaction to loyalty. This ensures multiple purchases. And what do increased sales bring to the table? More revenue. This, in turn, increases shareholder returns which are the stock price.
Other than this obvious reason, let us go through the topmost reasons to show why employee engagement is important for your organization.
“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.”- Doug Conant
1. Engaged Employees Boost Productivity
Employee engagement can be described as the key to activating a high performing workforce. They would do that one hour overtime because they have developed a strong emotional connection to your company. They want their companies to succeed because they relate to their company’s mission, purpose, or goals on a personal level. Studies show that the employees who are engaged in an organization are at least 21% more productive. Employee engagement can be considered as a symptom of success. Employees who feel good about their contributions to the company are going to be naturally proud to work since they know they are valued. Finding ways to engage your employees would ultimately benefit your company. Google employees are asked to spend 20% of their time on passionate projects that fall outside the scope of their jobs. This might look like a huge waste of time that can be utilized for the company. Some of Google’s most popular products such as Gmail, Google maps… etc came out of this 20%, thus benefitting the company in the long run.
2. Employee Engagement Increases Customer Satisfaction
One of the first things that your customer is going to notice about you is your employees. Your employees should be the embodiment of how your organization is. You should hire employees who are passionate about your company. Positivity is infectious and your customers are definitely going to notice how confident and proud your employees are and this is going to affect the buying behavior of your customer.
People who are passionate about their work are often the best people to interact with your customers. Why? Because that passion is infectious and your customers will notice it and become influenced by it.
If you follow the brand war of Samsung vs Apple you should be familiar with their play how the employees will be of those companies. Like Brand, Like employee is the subconscious reference we all have. There have been stories of customers leaving brands because of rude employees, and on the other hand, we have some stories that give us the picture-perfect examples of how employees should behave too.
In Logogenei, employees are trained to pick up slightest details about the customers while conversing with them. If a customer happens to mention a birthday or any other accession while booking a reservation, the manager pays a visit to the table and extends the wishes.
Another touching example is of the Walmart employee helping a blind person through the shop. A customer captured the moment and uploaded it to the internet and in moments it had gone viral. The employee need not have had to do it, but she did because of her passion.
Ideally speaking, engaged employees are living by your company’s values every day at work, and they shrewdness should be celebrated
3. Engaged Employees Are Less Likely To Quit
Would you break up a happy relationship? No, right! You are not going to just ruin something that is perfectly balanced and beautiful. Employee engagement takes the employee to that stage. They would be happy and satisfied, though it takes effort from you.
Businesses suffer almost 11 billion dollars annually because of the high employee turnover rate.
If you start to see this trend of your employees leaving out of the pattern, you should look into it immediately. Identify the root cause and try to retain them. If they get everything they want from you they are not going to look outside. Trying to make your employees stay by offering raises and bonuses would not work for very long unless you have successfully established an emotional connection between them and the company. There will always be another company that can offer a better monetary package. Ensure that you offer them more than mere financial values.
By fostering friendships in the workspace, you could replace work-life balance with work-life integration. This enables them to enjoy the office as much as their home. The shoe company Zappos refuses to hire any employee who believes that personal life should be kept away from professional life. They believe that there is just life. This kind of attitude actually helps the employee to be who he is in real life and can leave the “work-laugh” and “work-face” forever. This would take a load off the employee and helps him to be relaxed. This will boost his productivity and reduce the retention rate.
4. Employees Feel Satisfied When They’re Engaged
While working in a company, the employees do need more than just money. Employee engagement is not just beneficial for the employees. Engaged employees are recognized and this feeds the human longing to feel valued and appreciated. Taking Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the basic survival needs can be satisfied with money. As the needs go higher levels, money is incompetent to meet them and it is appreciation and recognition that can finally save the day. Engaged employees are successful in their workplace and are happier than the disengaged employees. It is a two-way street and both the parties benefit. As the number of engaged employees increases, the surrounding of each employee turns positive, resulting in collective growth.
These are the reasons why employee engagement is considered critical to businesses. Now you know what is employee engagement and why it is important. The next question is how do you keep track of engaged employees?
It is recommended for you to assess and measure your employee engagement regularly. More and more companies are employing 360-degree feedback surveys for an all-around evaluation. Once you have put in an effective internal strategy to collect information, you should be able to identify the changing behavior patterns. Accessibility to the performance graphs would be easy to comprehend and to recognize the anomalies if there are any. Recurring employee surveys are a great way to strategically collect such information with ease. From ensuring a healthy communication to providing an ideal workspace to appointing stellar managers, there is a lot to be carried out from you to make certain that you are giving your employees all they need to strive in professional as well as personal life. Employee engagement could be something as simple as a gesture from you that portrays consideration and respect towards your employees. After the great recession, the restaurant brand Chile decided that its time to strengthen their vision and mission and started focusing on employee engagement. “We connect, serve and give to create the best life.” is their new mission.
They started it off by acknowledging that the idea of work-life is very different from what it used to be. With the enhancements in technology, there is not much of a line between home and work.
To create a great place to work for their employees, they had to honor the fact that people now “bring their whole selves to the office”. People no longer want to hide or run away from who they are. They want to be the same person they are whether they are at work or at home. There is no mask in between.
And to acknowledge that, Chile dissolved their “no visible tattoo” policy. Since 2010, employee engagement has been steadily going up for Chili. The new data shows that now a whopping 75% of people at Chili are happily engaged with their work. Having loyal employees are ten times worth than loyal customers. Only if you are strong from within, you would stand the test of time. And if your employees do not love your company, how can you ask your customers to love it!