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According to a Jackson Organization study, companies that actively appreciate employee engagement enjoy a more than triple return on equity and assets than that experienced by firms that don’t. This is reason enough for all organizations to make a big deal about deepening engagement with employees. Contrary to popular belief, employee engagement goes beyond providing monetary perks. Psychological and social fulfillment are critical factors that determine which employees are engaged, motivated, and perform well to build a successful organization. Research reveals that four out of ten employees are disengaged globally and while 89% of employers attribute their attrition rates to people leaving for money, only 12% actually do. The rest leave because they are simply disengaged with their companies.
Culture and employee engagement issues have emerged as primary challenges faced by businesses around the world today, according to a recent study conducted by Deloitte University Press. While there is enough documented evidence to reveal a strong interconnection between company culture and employee outcomes, employee engagement matters as employees have several choices when it comes to employment today. And they are using it to move to organizations that value effective engagement.
So how can you model your organization to drive employee engagement in the best possible way? Here are 4 tips to help you do just that and keep your employees from mentally ‘checking out’.
UNDERSTAND THE PSYCHE OF YOUR EMPLOYEES
Have a finger on the pulse of your workforce by understanding their preferences through employee engagement surveys, informal one-on-one sessions, offsite and onsite activities, etc. Recreational Equipment, an adventure gear supplier firm uses social media to connect with its employees. It conducts online ‘company campfires’ where employees are encouraged to participate in lively debates and discussions. This informal setup helps break the ice, and makes employees feel valued and connected.
ALIGN EMPLOYEE VALUES WITH COMPANY VALUES
This requires creating a culture that intentionally conveys company values to employees, right from the start. Whether it is innovation, collaboration, or entrepreneurship – make your people aware of what matters most to you as an organization and get them to buy-in. Facebook does a good job of this by articulating its company values on posters, emails, in meetings, and through other employee communication channels to create a culture of engagement.
CREATE PASSIONATE EMPLOYEES
According to a Huffington post news piece, 88% of employees globally lack passion for their work and consequently feel disengaged. This is alarming as disengaged employees are often not alone – they pull down others as well, hampering overall morale and productivity. Organizations need to steer clear of this vicious cycle by creating passionate employees – through fun trainings, mentorship programs, attractive rewards, etc. M.D Anderson Cancer Center champions this approach by supporting employees in their career path development. Through its formal mentoring program, it helps employees develop and achieve professional goals at all levels.
GET EMPLOYEES TO PLAY BRAND AMBASSADORS
Make employees your brand advocates by giving them complete clarity into the company’s culture. They will then act as your spokesperson in the real world, helping your reputation to spread far and wide. Southwest Airlines does this well with their incredible employment branding initiatives. In an industry notorious for grumpy, overworked employees, the airlines stand out for its fun, friendly and ‘always ready to help’ employees who do whatever it takes to ensure a pleasurable experience for flyers.
IT’S TIME TO UNLEASH EMPLOYEE POTENTIAL
Employee engagement has little to do with having people who ‘do as you say’. It is about creating an ecosystem where people ‘want’ to listen to you. Engagement cannot be demanded – it needs to be built, by taking the right steps incrementally and consistently. While there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to creating an engaged workforce, these tips can help you get a good program started. Happy working!