The concept of employee engagement has been around for many years. While similar to employee satisfaction, engagement is not synonymous with satisfaction. It’s possible for an employee to be satisfied with their workplace, yet not feel engaged. Engagement means that employees have a deeper connection to the mission and goals of the company. There are a multitude of benefits when your employees are invested in your business, motivated to contribute to its success and come to work ready to give their best each day.
Having employees who are committed to the mission of your company likely resonates with most managers. So, how does a business achieve this? Let’s take a look at some of the key components of employee engagement.
Engaged employees can see a connection between the work they do and the mission of the business. For many people, work is more satisfying when they believe in what they’re doing and when their personal values align with the values and goals of the company they work for. This means that management needs to keep the mission in the forefront of operations. When the operational strategies and goals align with the mission, it’s easy for employees to see a connection between what they do every day and the larger goals of the business. Also of note: connection to mission is also a key driver of workplace satisfaction for many millennials who comprise a growing percentage of our current workforce and tend to seek meaningful work.
Opportunities for input
Employees must feel that their voices are heard and their ideas and suggestions make a difference to the operations of the business. It’s important for managers not only to ask employees to share their ideas and feedback, but also to implement those ideas or make changes as a result of the feedback. It’s helpful to have strong systems in place for receiving and responding to ideas and suggestions. Tools such as an employee suggestion box, daily or weekly staff huddles, and employee forums or staff meetings with Q&A time provide opportunities for soliciting feedback and suggestions from staff. Ensure there is also an agreed upon way that management provides a response. Keep in mind that when employees share their ideas and nothing comes of it, they can become discouraged, or worse, disengaged. Managers, if you’re not going to utilize employee feedback, don’t ask for it.
Employees want and need to know what is expected of them. Clear job descriptions are helpful in ensuring that employees know what they are responsible for on a daily basis. Providing ongoing feedback is also of key importance. Performance evaluations are an important tool. However, engaging in an ongoing dialog with your employees is invaluable and provides an opportunity for regular coaching, guidance and praise.
Offering recognition, positive reinforcement and praise is another important element of engagement. Employees value positive reinforcement, thanks, and words of appreciation. Most people would rather hear a simple “thank you” than be given an Employee of the Month plaque. Just be sure the praise is specific, timely and genuine.
These are just some of the factors that lead to an engaged workforce. Creating a workplace where everyone is happy, committed and doing their best every day is worth the investment.