Employee Engagement: A Time to Give

Employee Engagement: A Time to Give

Employee engagement encompasses many aspects of involvement including sales incentives, benefits programs, employer recognition, and collaboration.  The trend has changed to focus on a holistic approach to interaction with employees versus previous methods of just compensation or recognition.  This raises the question, how much is your organization willing to give to increase employee engagement?

There are three types of employees:

  1. Engaged: Work with a passion and feel a connection to your organization
  2. Not-Engaged: Checked out and put in their time but no real energy associated with the organization
  3. Actively Disengaged: Not just unhappy but actually acting out and undermining engaged coworkers

There is a considerable financial burden from a disengaged employee including lower margins, new hire cost, lost productivity, decreased revenue, and minimum ROI if any.  A recent Gallup poll shows that 24% of workers are disengaged in their work and are negatively affecting productivity.  It is not hard to picture this in your organization.  The fact that almost 1 out of 4 employees do not want to be there can be a daunting fact, especially when you consider how much is being paid out to the employee each week.  At the same time, it can also be considered an encouraging opportunity to improve the organization’s finances and culture.

What does your ideal employee engagement program look like?

It is essential to give the employee tools to be able to participate in employing engagement programs.  These tools allow them to report achievements and receive recognition that is in line with your organization’s values and mission.  There can be quantitative and qualitative measure to establish what makes the employees most engaged, which can then determine the positive impact on revenue.

Creating an environment where people can be comfortable, happy, and make the right decisions for the organization is critical.  Priorities can include:

  • Health and wellness
  • Sales
  • Safety
  • Employee recognition

Social recognition is also a key aspect and allows people to celebrate success internally and externally.  Criteria for successful social recognition and employee engagement:

  • Build a collaborative environment
  • Enable space that aggregates recognition
  • Public recognition
  • Customized reporting

How can technology help employees interact with organizations and increase engagement?

Empowering employees with technology allows them to manage their own responsibilities, which in return drives engagement.  Video and cloud technology can be used to highlight organization events, share knowledge, participate in interactive contests, and keep remote workers connected.  Gamification can be used to change behavior and allows employees to participate in new activity that is stimulating and challenging.

Integrated learning solutions help nurture talent and sell the benefits of what training and development can do.  Asking for feedback from the process will make the employee feel valued.  This can be done through surveys, which allow them to stay involved with strategic decisions within the organization.  It is critical to return the feedback and share it with the employees to ensure trust and actionability.  All communication should be two-way and have a segmented strategy and target audience.  If someone is not participating, it is important to understand why and make an effort to engage with him or her.  A well-defined survey can provide the foundation to the program.

Action Steps to an Employee Engagement Program:

  1. Establish a cross-functional team with a project leader that is in line with the organization’s mission.  These need to be highly engaged employees at all levels and departments
  2. Determine the benchmark for how employees will be engaged.  Establish a scale that will properly measure employee engagement
  3. ROI build out to determine financial results
  4. Funding approval by showing actual data and evidence of what the project will add to the program
  5. Evaluate the program and continue to collect data and analyze

Employee engagement is an ongoing process that requires a solid communication strategy in place with executive support during all steps to ensure the initiatives match up to organization culture.  The technology is a tool, not the whole package.  Human interaction is still necessary as well as having a company culture that encourages and supports the employee.  Everyone wants recognition and fulfillment, and high levels of engagement equal higher stakeholder returns.

Written by MJ Craig

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