Improving employee engagement in your organisation
Employee Engagement

Improving employee engagement in your organisation

Has your company considered employee engagement and how it could lead to improving your company culture and business performance?

Harvey Connor
March 30, 2021

If you're looking to improve your company's employee engagement and work practises then this post is for you. It's packed with tips and advice on how to make your employees feel more valued and important, while also increasing productivity levels. From taking care of their physical health (eg: improving office ergonomics) to make them feel more involved in the company, there are a variety of things organisations can do for their teams.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is a metric that assesses the level of interest and commitment employees have to their organisation. Engaged employees are those that display enthusiasm and drive in fulfilling their job requirements. They feel they belong, contribute and enjoy what they do. The opposite of an engaged employee is an actively disengaged employee who may be apathetic, inactive or even hostile.

With the field of human resources, employee engagement has become a hot topic in the past decade. But what does engagement actually mean? How does one measure it and what are its benefits for the organisation?

When you break it down a little further. You will quickly find that employee engagement is a reflection of how well people are integrated into an organisation's culture. It's when they feel comfortable, satisfied and fulfilled by the company they work for.

The importance of employee engagement

It's estimated that actively disengaged employees cost the Australian economy $70 billion in lost productivity each year. Employee engagement has a significant impact on employee retention, customer satisfaction and profitability.

Engaged employees are more productive than actively disengaged employees, because they are motivated to achieve and take personal responsibility for their performance. They also have more positive attitudes to their work which results in a better quality of work from them.

Engaged employees are also more creative, innovative and work more effectively in teams. It is at the heart of a healthy and thriving business. In order to be engaged at work, employees need to:

  • feel good about themselves and about their work
  • have a sense of purpose for their work
  • enjoy the people they are working with 
  • feel confident in their ability to do their job effectively

Ensuring employees feel valued, heard and respected is key in creating a culture of engagement.

Employee engagement is not a problem to be solved, it's an opportunity to be enjoyed and maximised. Rather than focus on ways to retain disengaged employees or create more engaged employees. Businesses need to focus on creating a place where all employees can be satisfied in their work and the organisation they are part of.

Key drivers of employee engagement

What are the key drivers of employee engagement you may be wondering. Here are the top five, which can help you understand how to get employees excited about what they do.

1. Opportunity for Growth 

The opportunity to grow and develop is where average people see a chance to really do something meaningful and satisfying. When workers are allowed to undertake substantial tasks. They are likely to feel that they are "making a difference" (which is the first level of engagement).

2. Recognition and Remuneration 

When employees feel appreciated and rewarded for the work that they do. They are likely to feel that their work-life balance is effective (second level of engagement).

3. Work Atmosphere 

Workplace communication is a very important element to consider when trying to figure out how to increase employee engagement. People want to work at a place where people feel that they are respected, valued as an individual and are "part of the team". This will have them working better and in turn, making the business work better.

4. Working Hours 

The key word here is flexibility. Employees want to know if they are out of the office for a meeting. There is still work getting done and that they will not be penalised. Added to this is the growth of flexible working arrangements. For both those who cannot work at specific times and for those who need to work from home.

5. Benefits 

The more benefits you offer, the more likely people are to feel engaged and dedicated to the company. This is especially important for millennials where they want great perks. It's no surprise that this group is attracted to start-ups, for example.

The value employee engagement in the digital workplace

The digital workplace and the growth of the hybrid working model has seen a significant shift in the way organisations thrive. Employees are now expected to be strategic, innovative and agile thinkers who are able to collaborate across borders, cultures and time zones. Engagement is critical for this type of workforce as it translates into productivity.

Organisations should understand that employee engagement will play a huge part in the future of the digital workplace. Understanding this and having tools to measure this will bring significant value for their business.

Creating a strategy to improve engagement and productivity is a task that organisations must tackle. In order to harness the potential of this skilled workforce.

To achieve an organisation's goals and offer an engaging working environment. There are many factors that play a key role in ensuring that employees feel engaged, thriving and bringing value to the overall organisation.

The employee engagement model

The employee engagement model is the theoretical construct of who engages in providing service and who does not based on the motivations of employees.

This model differentiates between employees motivated by tangible rewards (employees with higher levels of extrinsic motivation) and those motivated by intangible rewards.

Those engaged in providing service are more likely to stay with a business over the long term. Whereas those that are more extrinsically motivated are more likely to leave a business if they sense the reward is no longer sustainable.

Why the employee engagement model matters

Companies that have a large proportion of lower-engaged employees are less likely to achieve their business goals. In fact, it is more likely that organisations will not meet all of their business goals when low-engaged employees are present in a company. These organisations will also face higher levels of operational risk, a less attractive reputation and loss of competitive advantage. The business model can be significantly damaged by poor employee engagement.

In contrast, high-engagement employees are more likely to achieve their goals and objectives for the business. They are more likely to increase revenue for the business and have a greater chance of receiving recognition from their superiors. High-engaged employees have behaviours that are less likely to impact the bottom line negatively. As such they are an asset to any organisation they work in.

The employee engagement model hypothesis is built on the theoretical constructs that drive behaviours in an organisation. That these behaviours can be accounted for by different motivations of employees.

Behaviours are influenced by two main factors

Internal motivation: employees’ drive to achieve (their intrinsic motivation), which drives behaviour that is within the influence of the organisation.

Extrinsic motivation: employees’ drive to achieve (their extrinsic motivation), which drives behaviour that is not within the influence of the organisation.

Understanding these motivations will help organisations shape their employees' behaviour. The employee engagement model can help an organisation understand which behaviours affect the most important targets of the business

Companies are increasingly understanding how to positively influence high-performing employees. This understanding is important because it will allow organisations to foster higher levels of engagement in their workforces. These companies will be more competitive and better able to achieve their business goals.

How to improve employee engagement in your organisation

We covered the importance and upside to improving your employee engagement and the benefits your organisation will receive from positive engagement. The question being how do you improve employee engagement? We have put together a list of factors that you can influence to improve employee engagement in your organisation.

Employees are the foundation, this is why they are the most important part of your organisation. Without them, you will not be able to do the work you need to do. The smallest changes can make a big impact on employee engagement in your organisation. Here are some things your company can do to improve employee engagement.

1. Workplace tools

Having tools to help your employees get their job done is important. At the forefront of this hybrid working model is having the tools to manage team collaboration. Things like desk booking, meeting booking and collaboration tools to make their job easier. The future of this lies within using a unified working platform such as Nura Space.  This will help employees and managers with their employee engagement.

2. Encouraging learning and development

This is often underestimated. People who are not learning and developing within their role will not be engaged in their job. It is important to have dedicated upskilling (learning and development) and training time for employees. This will help them to understand the process, business strategy and how they fit into all of it.

When people are growing and getting new knowledge they feel their work is more valued and they are more engaged. This will also lead to better communication, collaboration and listening.

3. Creating a culture of ownership and support

People need to feel that their work matters, that it is worth the effort and that it has purpose. Create a culture of ownership where people can make decisions within the organisation, contribute ideas and create the future of your business. If you build this into your culture from the beginning. It will encourage employees to feel their job has meaning and be more engaged in their duties.

4. Planned feedback 

Provide employees with a regular review of their performance. Encourage this through the development of an employee engagement survey and provide them with a regular comment card for feedback. This will give you a time to look at where the company is and what their current strengths are.

5. Career planning and progression

Encourage your employees to have a career plan and seek advice on areas they wish to develop. This will help them understand their strengths and weaknesses, professional development and the progression that they should be taking. This will also enable them to learn from failures and be motivated by success.

6. Creativity

Creating a culture where creativity can flourish is important. Encouraging this by offering people a creative environment, rewards for creativity and promotes innovative ideas for new projects or ideas within the business. This will also encourage people to think outside of the box and come up with new ideas that may help the business. It will help encourage them to do their job more.

7. Positive company culture and strong leadership

A positive company culture typically starts with a strong leadership team. It is important to provide people with a positive environment where they are looked after and can contribute to the organisation. This starts with the leadership team. It is up to them to build a culture of trust, engagement and help employees understand their role within the company. This also helps create a strong work/life balance that employees will feel appreciated and supported by staff.

8. Reward systems

These are important to encourage people to do their best and stay positive. Provide regular rewards such as a bonus or a raise for those who have achieved great things. A strong brand culture can also help employees to feel appreciated and proud of the work they have done within your company. Giving them a productive environment where they are engaged with the company can also enable them to feel more positive about the company.

9. Work-life balance

Lots of organisations say they have an emphasis on work-life balance, but not many "actually" put it into practice. This will ensure employees feel that their work-life balance is being supported by the company. That it is worth doing the work. If you are looking at improving your company culture. Ensure there is a focus on how to help employees better balance their work and home life.

10. Honesty, transparency and integrity

An organisation that has transparency at the forefront of what they do will be seen by employees as trustworthy. This is why it is important to ensure that you are honest with your employees. Measure the transparency of your business by running a regular employee engagement survey. This will give you the ability to measure successes and failures. You can learn how to improve your employee engagement within the company.

How to measure employee engagement

Measuring employee engagement is an important part of understanding how it impacts organisations. The two most common ways to measure employee engagement are to look at using survey tools and feedback sessions. The other is by tracking employees' movements in the office.

Surveys should be distributed to all employees who work for the organisation at least once a quarter. The survey should be open-ended and the company should provide a space for employees to write out comments or complaints. This gives them a chance to talk about things in the workplace that they would like to see improved. In addition, the survey gives employees an opportunity to submit suggestions for new career opportunities within the organisation.

Many people believe the best way to truly determine an individual's level of engagement is by physically tracking their movement throughout the workplace. This can be done with technology that Nura Space has as part of their Unified Working Platform

By being able to track the movement of people around a building or property companies can quickly see when employees are and are not engaged. This can be determined by how often someone is sitting down versus standing or walking.

Companies should also know that simply asking employees for their input on engagement and then doing nothing about it is not a good idea. If a survey is distributed and the company is not going to take action based on the responses. They are wasting their time and the time of their employees.

It is also important to note that employee engagement should not be confused with employee satisfaction. Or how much job satisfaction an employee has when they are working within your company. Employee engagement deals with how much an employee identifies with your company's culture, values and goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to increase employee engagement for remote teams?

As remote teams become the norm, it’s important to make sure they are as engaged as possible. There's a lot of room for improvement here. Below are some tips on how to do your part in making remote teams more productive.

1. Daily check in

While a daily check-in is often not possible in an office setting, remote employees can take advantage of this. A quick daily check-in is a great way to keep everyone on track. It also allows remote workers to speak up immediately if they encounter any issues or unexpected hiccups.

2. Communication

The key here is keeping everyone in the loop. Do this by sharing company updates, company information, and anything else that's relevant information for your team members. This will help to keep everyone on the same page and enable them to work as efficiently as possible.

3. Mentorship

While many remote employees are self-starters, it still helps to have a mentor readily available. By having a mentor around, employees will be able to work with someone who has more experience than they do. Raising their skill sets and productivity in the process. In addition, mentorship allows for greater team collaboration and cooperation which will result in higher engagement among your employees.

4. Technology

Remote employees work with a lot of new technology on a regular basis. To help your remote team work more efficiently, leverage these technologies where possible. Some common examples are project management software and online collaboration tools.

5. Team building

There is no substitute for face to face interaction and communication, but the best you can do is something close. Look into an online training program to help your remote team connect and better understand one another on a deeper level. Allowing them to bond with each other more effectively as a unit.

Why does employee engagement matter in the hybrid workplace?

The hybrid workplace is a diverse and dynamic place to work where people have a mixed in office and working from home home model. This has been propelled forward by the recent pandemic. This environment is scary for some managers but many workers have thrived in this environment. Employee engagement in these scenarios is even more important. 

With these less in person hours, maintaining employee engagement with the business could seem hard for some. The good news is that some employees may be more engaged in this environment hence having a greater productivity output. 

Making the transition to this hybrid working model and using some of the tips form this article. Will help you and the company maintain employee engagement. It is a new and exciting working world.

What's the Difference Between Employee Engagement and the Employee Experience?

The difference between employee engagement and the employee experience is that the latter has much more to do with the day-to-day life of employees. According to research, an engaged employee will work harder than one who is not engaged. But what about the daily emotional experiences of those employees who are not engaged?

The employer experience has two objectives: first, to attract new applicants; second, to retain current employees. These objectives require a comprehensive approach that focuses on the experience of employees and how they feel about the workplace.

Engagement is more about how engaged they are with a business and their experience will form part of their engagement. A good employee experience will more often than not equal to part of the solution to good employee engagement.

Harvey Connor

Web & App Developer | ReactJS, React Native & NodeJS.

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