Employee engagement is all about creating the right conditions enabling an organisation to get the best out of their employees every day, and ensuring employees are committed to the organisation’s goals and values.
Employees should be motivated to contribute to the organisation’s success.
It is based on trust, integrity, commitment and communication between an organisation and its workforce.
This is not something that can be imposed from above; it requires a cultural shift in the way an organisation acts.
People Management Strategies
Employee engagement is somewhat of an umbrella term for various people management strategies.
Research has shown that there are three key aspects of employee engagement:
- Intellectual engagement: the job and how to do it better;
- Affective engagement: positive feelings about the job;
- Social engagement: discussing work-related improvements with others.
The Benefits Of Employee Engagement
Engaged employees are happier employees, who in turn deliver improved business performance.
The link between how many people are managed, their attitudes and business performance cannot be ignored.
Employee engagement can also have a positive effect on an organisation’s brand and reputation.
Employees who are engaged at work will be the best advocates for their organisation and will protect the employer from the reputational risk that often comes from poor service or product quality.
A disengaged workforce can have a detrimental effect on business.
It can cause well-valued employees to leave, as well as productivity losses.
Management may also face a huge push back when trying to implement organisational change if employees are not enthusiastic about it.
How Do You Engage Your Workforce?
There four key cornerstones of employee engagement are:
- Leadership: Leaders must set the path for the future;
- Line management: Line managers need to be able to relate to their staff to get the best out of them;
- Voice: employees need to be able to communicate openly. Let them tell you what works and what doesn’t;
- Organisational Integrity: Practice what you preach. This helps to build trust within the organisation.
Employers should make the important distinction between drivers and enablers of employee engagement.
You should not assume that employees are demotivated, and they need managers to inspire and engagingly lead them.
Employees may only be demotivated by organisational barriers such as a lack of support or resources, or poor line management.
Management has a key role to play in employee engagement. It has to be organisation specific; a ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work.
Measure Employee Attitudes
An important part of employee engagement should be to measure employee attitudes.
This may be done by conducting a survey or holding a focus group to gain useful employee insight.
Recently, many organisations have moved to using social media to gain employee insight.
Using social media allows employees to interact with each other as well as management, gaining suggestions in real time, making the process far more active.
The more employee insight you have, the more you can focus on the best tools to implement for employee engagement.
Employee engagement is about having a greater understanding of how an organisation is achieving its objectives in addition to giving employees a voice to help achieve those objectives better.
Engaging employees helps them to feel like a fully integrated member of the team, with clear goals and constructive feedback to help them better reach these goals.