The shutdown of the economy due to COVID changed how people work. Remote work has become increasingly prominent in the workforce, and so has hybrid work. Everyone is getting accustomed to a new way of doing business. All of this is why employee engagement is even more critical now than ever.
Benefits of Employee Engagement
Aside from making your team feel like a team, employee engagement has substantial business benefits.
Quantum Workplace has a whole list of benefits, including increased productivity, employee retention, lower absenteeism and overall better business performance.
According to the site, when employees are engaged, they are happier, healthier and more satisfied with their work life.
Why is Engagement Necessary
That’s important because engaged employees pass that engagement on to your customers. An employee who understands what their business is doing will better sell your company. An employee who knows and understands your company’s brand will better reflect that brand in every interaction with a customer.
Your employees are a tendril of your business. Employees are the parts of your business that go out into the community and reflect what and who you are.
Your employees are often the first point of contact and usually the last point of contact that your business has with a customer. What kind of impression do you want to leave?
What Employee Engagement is Not
It can be easy to confuse employee engagement with motivation or job satisfaction. People can be satisfied with their paycheck and job, and they may even be excited about it. But they may not be engaged.
What are the Different Types?
So, what is employee engagement?
According to the site The HR Observer, employee engagement can be “cognitive, physical and emotional.”
On the cognitive level, this is when an employee is aware of and understands the organization’s strategy and brand.
Physically, it means that the employee uses their “physical and mental energy to perform role responsibilities.”
While emotional engagement looks at how well the employees feel “they can connect/trust the organization and its people.”
Note the use of the word feel. This is not about what you think as a manager or business leader. This is about how the employees feel.
Who’s Responsible for Employee Engagement?
Who is responsible and ensuring employees feel like they can be engaged?
A Gallup poll found that while employees are integral, the manager plays the most prominent role. In fact, 70% of a team’s engagement is connected to the manager.
The manager is the one who connects with the smaller groups of employees. In most cases, the manager is the one who has the most contact with a small group of employees and can therefore keep better tabs on them.
However, do not leave the burden solely on the managers. To create a team, employee engagement must be the responsibility of the entire team.
What is an Employee Engagement Team?
One of the best ways to do this is to create a specific team. This is a team of employees from several different departments that can tell management what needs to be improved and what’s not working at all.
This employee engagement team can also be responsible for brainstorming ideas on how to get employees involved and engaged in the business. Allow them the ability to create team-building experiences and find ways to keep people informed.
How to Engage Leaders in Employee Engagement
As a leader of your business, you can follow the employees’ lead in employee engagement. Employees usually want to know that they’re heard and that their opinions matter.
Listen to what they’re telling you and enact change. Take the time to truly hear what your employees are saying.
When it comes to engagement activities, participate! Have fun and follow the lead of others.
More than that, monitor the health of your team. The past few years have been challenging, and mental health is more important than ever.
For ideas on prioritizing and protecting your employees’ mental health, check out this previous post.
Employee Engagement Activities Without Cost
Employee engagement does not have to be expensive. You can do some things on little to no budget.
The site WheniWork has an extensive list of activities companies can do to increase employee engagement without breaking the budget.
- Volunteer together
- Assign mentors to new hires
- Encourage personal projects
- Get feedback
- Promote from within
- Define your company culture and get input from employees
- Encourage work/life balance
- Get to know people on a personal level
- Hold family events
HR Cloud also has a list of engagement ideas for employees. They include:
- Recognize your staff members for their hard work
- Provide adequate training
- Act on feedback immediately
- Help employees set personal goals
- Ensure staff takes breaks & vacations
- Celebrate company wins
- Start a newsletter
Whether you use the above ideas or create your own, know that there are many ways to foster employee engagement without spending a lot of money.
Money should never be a barrier to fostering a culture with every stakeholder involved in your company and what it represents.
When you take the time to focus on and improve employee engagement, your business benefits emotionally, structurally and financially.
Written by Erika Towne