‘Research has clearly proven a direct link between employee engagement, customer satisfaction and revenue growth.’
Harvard Business Review
Most Companies are not asking does employee engagement matter, but how to make it happen. Without a formal framework or roadmap and a set of implementation steps, organizations are wasting time and money trying to find their way.
According to Business Dictionary, the definition of employee engagement is the emotional connection an employee feels toward his or her employment organization, which influences behaviours and level of effort into work related activities. The more engaged an employee feels, the more effort they put forth.
But it involves more; the employee feels mentally stimulated, they trust management and there is good communication between employees and managers. They have the ability to see how their work contributes to the bigger picture, they have clear career and growth opportunities and they have pride being associated with the company.
For these reasons, leaders are looking for strategies and tactics on how to engage employees. According to Gallup, a staggering 87% of employees are not engaged or worse. 1 in 5 are actively disengaged which goes beyond the lack of enthusiasm for their work. They often communicate to others how bad things are. They are actually doing more harm than good, in effect sabotaging the organization.
For most, workers pay and other tangible benefits do not drive better than average performance. Don’t get me wrong, compensation must be competitive but in a situation where pay, benefits and rewards is better than most other places – this is not enough.
Fair pay, necessary resources, equipment, working space are considered the basics. These alone do not inspire employee engagement and great performance. Emotional Connection is the missing link.
How do you create an emotional connection? What is needed to truly engage employees and make it a ‘great place to work’?
- Great leadership
- Reputable organization
- Career opportunities & growth
To start building this environment means cultivating trust and enthusiasm. You must have a deep rooted culture of a shared sense of mission.
For organizations that make employee engagement a priority by committing the time and resources needed, the financial results can be stunning.
An engaged workforce finds meaning in their work, take pride in what they do, work with passion and feel connected.
Engaged employees are more likely to share ideas on how to improve things, are positive about the company with customers, other employees, suppliers and even their communities. They also stay with the organization reducing costly turnover. The employees thrive and so does the company.
Employees need to know what to do, how to do it and they might be equipped to do it. However, for better competitive advantage, they must also WANT to do it. The WANT is what organizations must strive for.
Key Employee Engagement Strategies:
- Better management & leadership
- Incentives, rewards and recognition
Making sure you have the right leadership is critical, especially front line managers and supervisors. The number-one reason people quit their job is bad bosses, not bad wages.
It should be noted that not every high performer should be a manager and there should be other growth opportunities available to those individuals besides being forced into manager roles.
With good leaders in place either by selection or development you are on the right path. Now you can work on purpose, incentives and recognition but great leaders will deliver on those things effectively.
As we’ve mentioned employees want to be part of a bigger picture. In order to create an environment where employee engagement can thrive, you’ll need to focus on these six areas that will help you to educate, inform, improve and empower your teams to deliver results:
- Brand Message : Every employee in the company should have a deep understanding of who the company is and what it represents. This empowers employees to make sound decisions. They understand how their actions contribute to the principles of the organization.
- Communication plays a vital role in linking what employees do every day to organizational goals. The purpose is to provide examples of how to put corporate values into action.
- Training and development demonstrates that the organization is committed to individuals success. It also helps the company as employees skills are improved.
- Innovation. Provide a process for employees to share ideas and new concepts. This will allow them to feel invested in the business. It is also important to provide feedback relating to the ideas and where they are in the process.
- Rewards & Recognition. This is key to making employees feel appreciated and valued. To be truly effective it should go beyond financial rewards. Peer to peer & Manager to employee recognition should be done frequently and should be specific in nature.
- Measurement. Key metrics should be communicated to teams so that they understand the impact that their decisions and actions have on overall company goals. Which metrics should you track? Retention, performance, employee referrals, absenteeism, customer engagement, financial performance.
What about GAMIFICATION?
Gamification is next generation engagement. Both a learning tool and a marketing strategy, but much more.
No matter what an organization wants to amplify – gamification provides the means to more deeply involve the participants. It can be used for almost any purpose and applies the same techniques as game designers to engage players. This creates a perfect fit for employee engagement. The difference between games and gamification is in the goals. Games are for the sole purpose of entertainment. While the goal of gamification is to more deeply connect and inspire participation, collaboration and sharing in ways that drive business values.
What makes gamification so compelling?
It begins with the addictive nature of online games. They attract and retain the attention of the players by tapping into people’s’ basic need for mastery, purpose and progress. Rewarding them as they advance, promoting healthy competition and collaboration. A community connection with teammates and competing teams.
Gamification also provides clear communications to focus teams on the key corporate goals and it provides real-time feedback on the impact of their individual performance. Those leading in performance, build their reputation across the organization.
Incorporating daily activities into the program and including business metrics specific to each role such as quota achievement, issue resolution, collaboration, sharing and competition individual employee goals feed directly into the bigger picture goals of the organization.
Careful planning is essential for an employee engagement program to meet company objectives. Here are a few basic principles that will help:
- Design programs that support your corporate strategy. Recognition, incentives and gamification are means to augments the experience and motivates desired behaviors and results.
- Create a formal business plan and launch strategy. Begin with a clear understanding of your audience and what drives them. An assessment or survey is typically included in this step.
- Determine your digital strategy. What mechanics make sense for a long term engagement map. What will the measurement metrics be and what allowance will you make for testing and adjustment along the way?
- Select appropriate tools and partners to ensure your success. Consider their track record, ability to customize to your needs, innovation, ease of use, support and consultancy.
Proforma SI, powered by Peoplecart, is here to help. Our experience and agility gives you the confidence you need to move forward with peace of mind. Our success managers will co-own your goals and objectives. Our team will create a custom platform that will foster engaged employees and teams, increase productivity and profitability across your organization.
Book a demo today to find out how your workplace can become an engaged workplace.