Successful organizations understand the importance of employee engagement. Employees need to feel like they do meaningful work and what they do makes a difference. Engaged employees put their heart and soul into their job and have the energy and excitement to give more than is required of the job. When employees are not engaged, it can have a negative effect on the customer experience.
According to Wikipedia, “an engaged employee is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, his or her work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization’s interest.”
According to Scarlett Surveys, 31% of employees are disengaged and 4% of those are hostile. If these survey results are correct, what can organizations do to improve employee engagement levels?
Organizations with strong employee engagement, have figured out how to create a culture that fosters engaged employees. They understand leadership’s role in communicating, developing and rewarding employees.
So what are some ways to create an employee engagement culture?
1. Strong Vision
Cultures of employee engagement have a defined, and well communicated, vision. Leadership is responsible for communicating the vision and keeping it in front of the employees. Employees should be able to recite the vision statement and be able to describe why the organization does what it does. Employees are emotionally attached to the vision, believe in what they do and are committed and loyal to the organization.
2. Consistent Communication
Good communication within an organization can be one of the most important things an organization can do to foster employee engagement. Employees spend a good portion of their life at work and have an interest in what is going on within the organization. They desire to know how the organization is doing financially, how corporate goals are being accomplished and how what they do contributes to achieving corporate objectives.
3. Supervisor Interaction
There is a lot of research that states that employees leave organizations because of their direct supervisor. The engagement of employees is tied to the leadership of their direct supervisor. This includes how information is shared, how employees perceive equity amongst each other and how well a supervisor demonstrates their care for employees as individuals.
4. Employee Development
Employees want the opportunity to develop and grow professionally. They need opportunities to grow in their job and within the organization. This can be accomplished by having a defined developmental plan for each employee. Managers should be constantly coaching their employees to fine tune skills and develop new ones.
5. Team Environment
Strong employee engagement is dependent on how well employees get along, interact with each other and participate in a team environment. Developing a strong team environment can help foster engaged employees. Employees need to feel like they belong to a community, a team and a family. Coworkers are often the only family some employees have so maintaining a work environment where all employees feel part of a team and work well together is very important.
6. Culture of Trust
Employees need to trust each other as well as their leadership. Employees are constantly watching leadership to see how their decisions affect the strategic direction of the organization and if their behaviors reflect what they say.
7. Clear Expectations
Employees need to know what is expected of them. This is accomplished by giving specific employee goals as well as the training, tools and resources needed to perform their job. Employees need to also be held accountable for achieving their goals through a structured performance management process.
8. Reward and Recognition
Employees need to feel validated and acknowledged as a valued part of the organization. Strong leadership demonstrates how much they care for their employees and shows recognition for employee efforts. Rewards and recognition should be integrated into the way employees are managed on a day-to-day basis.
9. Employee Satisfaction
Employees need to feel like they are part of the process, that their thoughts and ideas matter and that they have a voice in how their work is performed. They are on the front line and know best about how work should be performed. Actively soliciting employee feedback and incorporating employee thoughts and ideas into how the organization operates is a very effective way to engage employees.
10. Competitive Pay and Benefits
While pay and benefits are not the key indicator of employee engagement, offering competitive compensation, benefits and reasonable working conditions is a strategy for strong employee engagement.
This article was first published, October 29, 2010.
photo courtesy Catawba County