Employee engagement is something that goes hand in hand with increased productivity, employee motivation, and the ability to keep top talent in your business. We’ve all seen those articles about “The Best Company to Work For” at some point in our professional career, and those companies thrive on having a high rate of employee engagement.
It may sound pretty simple, but it’s true. Work gets done by the employees. The happier and more engaged employees are, will signify that there will be increased morale, a high productivity rate and ultimately, less employee turnover. All of this means that your company will have better results at the end of the day. There’s no getting around the fact that the connection between the two has been proven.
What is Employee Engagement?
In order for us to understand how to get employee engagement up, we first need to understand what employee engagement is. It’s not quite as simple as Friday lunches, pool tables in the office, and unlimited coffee. It can be a little tricky.
For the most part, engagement isn’t something that can easily be defined and isn’t anything that leaders can see or do. It involves a lot of smaller aspects of business that gives employees more freedom and power. With the state of the pandemic that we’ve all experienced, people are finding that a work/life balance is crucial, perhaps now more than ever! An employee experience will often define what engagement is.
Those who have families will have appreciated that many businesses allowed their employees to work from home and allowed them breaks and leniency in taking care of kids, doing shopping, going for walks, and anything else that you might have done to break up the monotony of staying in the same house all day. This checks a big box in the mental health, wellness, and happiness sectors.
Read more: Why employee experience matters in a work from home world
The Importance of Engagement
Following on from discovering what employee engagement is, we can take a look at the importance of what employee engagement does.
Employees are after freedom, work/life balance, happiness, culture, and so many more aspects of a company. A recent study at Workest by Zenefits shows that businesses with between 50 and 500 employees find it significantly more difficult to retain employees rather than hiring new ones. A few Smarp statistics on employee engagement are somewhat eye-opening as far as employees are concerned. Those stats can be seen as follows:
- 69% of employees say that they’d work harder if they were better appreciated.
- Companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable
- Higher employee engagement results in 41% lower absenteeism
- A good company culture increases revenue by up to
- 37% of employees consider recognition most important
- 74% of younger employees would accept a pay cut for their ideal job
- 81% of employees would consider leaving their jobs for the right offer
Some of these statistics may surprise even the savviest of HR professionals. Employee happiness is somewhat vital and having a company culture that is positive and inclusive can be game-changing. Bearing in mind, hiring a new employee is far more expensive than retaining a current one, it seems that having positive employee engagement is vital.
Behaviours of Highly Effective Businesses
How does one achieve employee engagement? A lot of employers talk about KPIs, hitting metrics, and having open and honest discussions about wellbeing. Some other companies that tend to do really well on the employee happiness list focus on transparency, behaviours, empowerment, and so much more.
One thing that many companies tend to do is focus on the smaller aspects of successful businesses that have excellent employee engagement. We discussed earlier that a lot of companies like to do unlimited coffee, Friday lunches, and “break” rooms with pool tables, but it’s the underlying benefits that are the real MVPs of company culture.
Dreamworks Animation is a company well-known to almost everyone and while they do have the refreshments and party parts of a company culture done well, they also encourage employees to do personal work and mandate a certain amount of time to spend on anything they’d like. This is said to boost creativity amongst co-workers and encourages them to share non-work-related projects and also makes them feel like they add more value than just the work they do.
Southwest Airlines is a company that is famous in the US for putting their employees first in terms of employee engagement. They have put practices in place year on year to boost a company culture that thrives. From allowing the employees to design their own uniform, to giving employees license to rap the safety briefing before a flight goes to show that they have a healthy focus on engagement and culture. Their CEO also gives a personal shoutout to employees who have gone above and beyond each week as well as monthly recognition in the in-flight magazine each month.
Another company in the US, Full Contact, is actually a customer engagement software company and they pay their employees $7,500 in addition to their salaries to use on mandatory vacation. If they don’t take the holiday, they don’t get the holiday allowance. This includes being unplugged from work entirely, so there’s no remote working while on holiday, and no answering emails or phone calls!
It seems that with all that has happened in the world over the last decade or so, things have developed so much so that life is made easier by the amount of connectivity we have. In being so connected across the world, perhaps companies can be a little disconnected from their employees and getting the right balance struck is an important part of what makes a good company great and builds a company culture to keep hard-working employees.
Why focus on employee experience?
The best investment you can make is the one you make for your own employees.