Employee Engagement Part 1
What is the business case for employee engagement?
If people enjoy their work , and are happy in the work environment, they interface better with customers, perform better, stay with the company, take less time off sick, make suggestions for improvements, and are more productive and profitable.
They are more motivated, and committed to their employer. They are focused on achieving company goals and developing the company as successful for the future.They are engaged employees.
Conversely disengaged employees tend to take more time off sick, have a higher turnover rate, impact productivity and profitability. They can drag others down and negatively impact customer service, sales, quality, and staff retention.
Engaged people care. They care about the company, its image, its profitability, that its customers are happy, that the business is successful. They will go the extra mile without being asked to, whether their manager sees it or not.
Global competition for employees with certain critical skills is fierce, and the ability to attract and retain such high fliers gives a company a strong competitive advantage. Being known as a company that is aspirational attracts high fliers.
Employee engagement is the key to a high performing, productive workforce and a profitable business.
How do you create the right environment to engage staff?
Many businesses are actively seeking effective strategies to build a culture of engagement. The topic is now high on the list of priorities of many Boards, who see it as a significant competitive differentiator.
One of the first actions many have historically taken is to hold an annual employer engagement survey, and there are very many consultancies and software companies jockeying for the contract to run those surveys.
Perhaps not all those companies were so keen to deal with issues that arose from the survey results. This in itself adds to a feeling of disengagement – why run a survey and ask for feedback, and then not even action the feedback you get? Surveys were often designed to measure employer engagement, but measuring something does not create it.
So now some companies are seeking a more holistic and inclusive engagement strategy. One that is integrated into the culture.
Engagement and Culture are intangible things, difficult to define, specify and measure. How do you create them?
Creating an environment that engenders employee engagement involves Management developing and embedding a culture that effectively communicates the Values and Vision, developing a workplace that is engaging, challenging and appealing, and recruiting people who will work well within it.
Management must constantly reinforce the message to new and existing staff, and regularly scrutinise and improve where they see an opportunity.
Some companies develop a brand, others such as Virgin, or Easy Jet, use the “Culture of the personality “embodying their leader with certain characteristics. This helps them to avoid being a faceless company, and allows staff, suppliers and customers to feel they have a relationship with the organisation. They can show some character in their communications, transforming the organisation from a faceless company into a personality that people like and trust, and want to do business with.