What makes an employee feel engaged?
It is very difficult to generalise, but factors that are likely to make staff feel engaged are a sense of “family”, of belonging to a team or company, of social fulfilment.
This is often strengthened by policies that demonstrate the company takes care of their employees, such as good restaurant or canteen facilities, clean and comfortable physical environment, sick time off, medical costs covered, generous holiday time, concern for family if they suffer ill health.
It isn’t just financial rewards, status or power that makes employees fell engaged, but a sense of motivation through shared Values and Vision, common mission and goals, loyalty and trust.
Salary is an important factor for many people especially in North America and Europe, and there is a correlation between people’s satisfaction with their salary and their engagement.
Companies that have high levels of employee engagement motivate high flyers and offer them early promotion opportunities.
Investing in Professional Development and planned career development has a positive impact on employee engagement, retention and performance.
Engaged employees say they have a sense of pride in the mission and achievements of the company, a commitment to the goals. A feeling that they can contribute, and help to achieve well-articulated goals and targets. They know that their efforts and success will be recognised and acknowledged. The feel trust and loyalty.
They say they get a warm and welcoming feel from colleagues, a sense of teamwork, comradeship, feeling part of something good. Even if the work is challenging and tough, hours are long, they feel valued and appreciated, listened-to and equipped to do their jobs.
Factors that can detrimentally affect engagement are failure of management to engender the feelings of team and family. Failure to form a relationship with staff and demonstrate care, concern, recognition, acknowledgement.
Staff will not feel engaged if the workload is consistently too high, the process is flawed, and targets are not achievable and no one seems to care; if there is a lack of investment in staff development, training, career development, or if it is difficult for high performers to achieve promotion. If the Culture is perhaps non inclusive; or the physical working conditions are old fashioned, depressing and difficult.
Maybe a Manager is not effective and needs specific training, or the work environment can be improved by provision of new equipment.
Perhaps a change of job is needed, or the current job is too pressurised and there needs to be some administrative help.
Management must beware the downward spiral of negative energy, frustration and anger at work, which can rapidly make everyone feel disengaged and is hard to turn around.
People will accept all of the above to some extent if the management have the right attitude, recognise the problems, acknowledge them, value and appreciate everyone’s efforts.
In particular people will rise to the challenge of a business crisis, even if it means long hours and difficult work, if it is properly handled, If the manager creates the comradeship of banding together to fight adversity.