Social Good Blog Post

What is Employee Engagement and Why is it Important?

employees working together around a desk

If you are starting to work on your company culture and implement a social good strategy, ‘employee engagement’ is a buzzword that you have likely come across. But what does it mean exactly?

Forbes defines employee engagement as ‘The emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.

Essentially, whether an employee cares about the company beyond just working for a salary. They are invested in the organisation and its goals.

Why is it important?

Improving employee engagement can have a huge impact on your business. Companies with engaged employees report 22% higher productivity rates. And, not only that, higher engagement can also mean higher quality of work according to data from Gallup.

Investing in employee engagement will also improve staff retention. An Employee Benefit News study found that amongst the top cited reasons for leaving a job included issues with:

  • Work-life balance
  • Management behaviour
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Wellbeing

It can even bring a monetary value. Aon’s 2018 global engagement report found a link between higher levels of engagement and higher revenue.

I’m sold! How do I engage my employees?

It’s worth saying that employee engagement goes beyond simple social activities. Installing a pool table in the office and organising staff drinks are both fun ideas that your employees will probably enjoy. But this will not automatically lead to higher levels of engagement.

Engagement is about ensuring your employees feel valued in their positions and creating a culture of support and open communication within the company.

Measure your current levels

So, you’re ready to commit to improving your employee engagement. That’s brilliant, but where do you start?

It’s a good idea to start by getting to grips with the current levels of engagement within your company. You can do this by asking employees to fill in a quick, anonymous survey asking them how strongly they agree or disagree to a number of statements.

Some example statements are:

  • If I contribute to a project’s success, I know I will be recognised.
  • I feel comfortable to contribute new ideas in meetings.
  • I feel that my voice is heard when I raise and issue or idea.
  • I feel positive about my potential future career trajectory.
  • I trust our management team and my co-workers to do their jobs well.
  • I feel supported in my role.
  • Internal communication is clear and regular.

This will give you a better understanding of what you already do well and what areas will require a little more attention. To measure how your efforts are performing you might want to consider releasing the same survey quarterly over two years.

You should also make sure you are conducting entry and exit surveys whenever someone joins your team or leaves it. This will help you understand why they want to work for your company in the first place and why they have chosen to leave their role.

Listen to your team

Once you have your survey results, use them. Listen to what your team are highlighting as problem areas and start there.

If they do not feel supported, or are not confident to raise issues, you may have a bigger piece of work to examine with HR what has gone wrong with your company culture.

Some ideas to get started

Employee engagement is not a new idea, and many activities have been proven to improve levels of engagement across a company.

Some of these include:

Encouraging autonomy and flexibility

No one likes to feel that they are being constantly watched. Give your employees space to work without surveillance and consider allowing flexible working hours. Employees who have more control over their working day tend to be more motivated and enthusiastic towards their roles. You hired them to do a certain job – trust them to do it.

Work on your internal communications

Being open, honest, and transparent with your employees about the decisions that are being made on a strategic level will foster greater trust between your staff, which will, in turn, increase engagement levels. If employees understand why the organisation is making decisions, they will be more receptive to them and feel more emotionally secure in their roles.

Offer opportunities for development

As part of investing in your employee engagement, consider setting a budget for staff training. Let your employees know that they can request support for training programmes or relevant courses and look for opportunities to complete training workshops as a team.

Invest in employer let volunteering

Your employees have rich personal lives outside of work, support them to give back to the causes they care most about by allowing them some time to volunteer during working hours. Studies have shown that volunteering has real benefits for mental health and can offer the chance to gain new skills while doing good. Contact us if you want to know more about how Social Good Connect can help you with this!

Say thank you

Make an effort to notice when an employee has worked especially hard on a project or has exceeded their targets. Letting them know that you appreciate their commitment to the company and that you see the great work that they are doing will ensure that they never feel like they have been taken for granted.

In summary

It shouldn’t be hard to improve your employee engagement if you think of your employees as an entire human beings. In fact Bob Chapman says you should treat your employees like your precious child. How would you want your child to be treated at work? Would you want them to work for an organisation that truly cares about them as a person. Ask them what they need and want, and then really listen to them. Let them know that you are committed to being more supportive of their ideas and concerns.

As a business, your team is your greatest asset – invest in them.

If you want any more information about how to improve your employee engagement through volunteering, please get in touch here!

 

Written by Betty Henderson

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