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When your employees are happy, it’s easy to think you’re doing a good job. However, there are many reasons they might not be engaged and satisfied at work. What’s more, low employee engagement levels can harm their overall productivity and impact their ability to meet goals or targets.
One of the best things you can do to improve employee engagement is to invest in your team members and provide them with opportunities to grow.
Whether it’s through learning new skills or taking on more responsibility, helping your employees develop their knowledge and hone their talents will reap rewards for both their professional development and your business as a whole. It will also make them more satisfied with their work, reducing employee churn and increasing retention.
Learn more below about how to keep employees motivated and engaged with their work—from value-added training to upgrading your snack selection—so you can benefit from a happy, productive team.
What Is Employee Engagement?
All companies rely on employees to reach their business goals, and employees work best when they’re engaged.
Engaged employees have a strong relationship with their company. They’re actively involved in their role and how their responsibilities contribute to larger organizational goals, but they also feel committed to and passionate about their job.
Good employee engagement strategies aren’t just about having happy and productive workers. Studies have shown that highly engaged teams are 21% more profitable than those who feel less connected to their work. Yet, only a third of employees say that they are truly engaged in their role.
Looking at these statistics, it’s clear many companies can do more to improve employee engagement levels. But the process is multi-tiered and involves focusing on all aspects of the employee experience at work.
It’s also common for businesses to confuse employee engagement with employee satisfaction. The following section talks about the main differences between the two so you can separate your employee satisfaction strategy from your employee engagement strategy.
Employee Engagement vs. Employee Satisfaction
On the one hand, employee satisfaction measures the contentment and happiness of your employees. An employee might be content with their pay and benefits, your company culture, and even the snacks you offer. But your employees’ motivations, socio-emotional commitment, and involvement in their jobs can’t be measured by employee satisfaction metrics.
On the other hand, employee engagement drives your employees to perform better. This is where you can see their motivation levels and commitment to their work.
Engaged employees understand your business goals and align their interests and values with them. When you have an effective strategy for employee engagement, your staff are more likely to perform better and have higher satisfaction levels.
Barriers to High Employee Engagement
There are two major barriers to achieving high levels of employee engagement: lack of autonomy and lack of recognition.
Lack of autonomy
When employees feel like they don’t have control over business goals and tasks, they feel less engaged with the company. It’s essential to give them ownership over something so they feel invested in the company’s future success and can take pride in their own achievements.
Lack of recognition
People need to know their hard work is valued! Recognize your employees’ efforts and reward them for consistently good performance to improve engagement.
Suppose your company operations are too rigid, too compartmentalized, or too reliant on repetitive processes. In that case, you might run the risk of making employees feel like they have no autonomy or aren’t recognized for their efforts. These are things you should consider working on if you want your staff to perform.
Now that we’ve talked about the difference between employee engagement and satisfaction, let’s talk about how to measure employee engagement.
How to Measure Employee Engagement
Employee engagement drives your staff to go above and beyond what’s expected of them. To measure employee engagement, you should measure their motivation and performance. In designing an employee engagement survey, here are some questions to consider:
What are your expectations for engaged employees?
It’s easy to think employees will perform because you pay them. Unfortunately, that’s not often the case.
You can offer them benefits, such as free weekly lunches, healthcare, and unlimited PTO, but you can’t guarantee that they’ll work hard. Therefore, it’s essential to know what you expect from your employees and inform them of your expectations.
You can do this by having regular conversations with your staff. Ask them how they’re doing and if there’s anything you can do to help them perform better. Let them know that you’re listening and recognizing their needs and remind them of their responsibilities too.
What do your employees value?
It’s a good idea to conduct short surveys (one or two open-ended questions) regularly. Ask for their views on their work and how they see their workplace (colleagues and leadership). After gathering enough data, you’ll probably notice that employees value the following factors:
Teamwork and collaboration
Mutual trust among colleagues and leadership
Confidence and security in the future
Individual needs (pay and benefits)
Value and recognition
When you know what matters to your employees, you can inspire them to perform better. While you can go through the process of designing your own employee engagement survey, there are services and premade measures readily available online. You can tweak these to suit your business’s goals.
The Difference Between Engaged and Disengaged Employees
As mentioned earlier, employee engagement drives performance. Also, it’s easy to confuse engagement with employee satisfaction. To recap, a satisfied employee will deliver what’s expected of them, whereas an engaged employee exceeds expectations and identifies with your business purposes.
To illustrate these differences, here are some ways you can identify disengaged employees. Disengaged employees are unenthused about their work. They may feel like the work they do is pointless, which can lead to low performance. You can identify disengaged employees by their low morale and negative perception toward work and even their colleagues. A disengaged employee might say things like:
What’s expected of me?
I work because I need to, not because I like what I am doing.
Am I doing well? I’m not getting feedback on my work.
No one listens to me, so I don’t voice my opinions.
I don’t have the tools I need to do my job well.
On the other hand, engaged employees are focused, supportive of their colleagues, and identify with your company’s values. An engaged employee resonates with the following statements:
I know what is expected of me and I work hard to deliver on these expectations.
I have access to the tools and resources I need to thrive in my position.
My manager regularly gives me recognition and feedback, so I know where I need to improve.
I have the opportunity to do what I need and want to do.
My colleagues and the leadership team encourage me to be the best I can be.
I can speak my mind and know that I am listened to.
I understand the goals of my organization and I align my endeavors to meet those objectives.
As a business owner, your goal is to create a positive work environment that makes employees feel engaged and excited about their work. Satisfied employees are less likely to leave.
Employees are only as good as your leadership and influence, so you should invest in employee engagement strategies. Here are some tips for doing just that.
7 Ways to Boost Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is the secret to success for any company, and it takes effort to increase engagement. But it doesn’t have to be a big headache if you know where to start—bridging what you expect from your employees and vise versa. Here are few ways you can boost employee engagement:
1. Share Goals and Company Objectives to Build Trust
In your regular conversations with staff (whether individually or by department), let them know that you hear and are acting on their feedback. When you implement changes, keep them up-to-date with any major decisions that affect them so they can prepare and adjust as needed. Employees will feel more valued and connected with your company if they know that their voice matters.
2. Conduct Comprehensive Manager Training
Take a look at your workforce and their corresponding management. How is your work environment? Does it foster collaboration and cooperation? Are your employees’ skills over or under-utilized, and are their efforts recognized by the appropriate parties? You need to consider how your management staff works with their respective team members.
Just as your company evolves with trends and changes in your industry, so should your employees’ skills. Learning new skills is important no matter your experience level. As employees advance in their careers, it becomes more essential to not only work efficiently with colleagues but also stay up-to-date on developing technologies and eventually manage others as well.
3. Focus on Goal-Setting
You can only meet your business goals if your employees work toward them too. You can also give your managers insight into goal-setting and providing feedback during your regular meetings. Keep everyone aligned and on the same wavelength so they can inspire their teams to work better.
Give managers the tools and training they need to meet business objectives. For example, if you’re interested in implementing new cloud-based phone technology for your customer service team, train them to use it well.
It is also important to allow employees to voice their thoughts and opinions. Studies show that employees who feel heard and recognized are 4.6 times more likely to perform better. This is because they see that the leadership and management value their input—they can see that their work matters and how they fit into your company’s goals.
4. Offer Ongoing Opportunities for Mentorship, Coaching, and Training
Let’s face it: No one likes to stay in the same job forever. People like change, and so do your employees. Encourage your employees to continue growing and developing their skills. Offer regular training and mentorship programs so your employees know that there is room for growth within the company.
You can offer training programs on interpersonal skills so your employees can boost their customer support services. You can also train them to use new technology such as interactive voice response (IVR) and computer-telephony integration (CTI).
The fact is that happy employees perform better while reducing costs for companies that train and retain them.
5. Increase Employee Engagement by Upgrading Your Office Benefits
Have you checked out your office kitchen lately? Does it have enough appliances and space for you to prepare food, or are people constantly complaining about its lack of amenities?
It’s no secret that people like to snack when they’re working.
Whether it’s fruit, chips, or a sandwich, snacks help employees survive their shift. If your kitchen has a shared refrigerator and pantry, ensure that there are enough snacks available for your staff. Include healthy options like fruit and salads and other options your employees might ask.
A well-fed employee is more likely to work well because they won’t have to worry about food until they’ve gone home for the day.
Another way to spruce up your office is to add rest areas. Employees need a place to relax and refresh themselves so they can perform better. Consider adding sleeping pods or nap rooms. Research shows that companies like Google and Facebook see an increase in employee productivity and morale when their basic needs are met.
What all this means is that you should create an environment people—your employees—want to work in.
6. Ask Your Employees for Feedback
Your employees are the backbone of your company. Their feedback, input, and opinions matter just as much as their work does—and it shows. When an employee is engaged, they directly affect your customer satisfaction and experience. As mentioned earlier, a satisfied and engaged employee goes above and beyond to meet goals, and that can include delivering high-quality customer service.
To keep your employees happy and aligned with your business goals, ask them for feedback. Conduct regular performance evaluations and ask them how they think they can do better.
After asking for their input, keep your employees updated on any feedback or changes you’ve implemented. This allows the employee to feel that they have a stake in your company and that their opinion matters.
7. Find Thoughtful Ways to Appreciate Your Employees
Once you’ve listened to your employees’ insights—complaints and praises included—it’s time to show them how much you value them. Employee appreciation goes beyond their salary packages and benefits. Here are some ways you can show them how much they matter to you:
Create swag that aligns with company initiatives and your employees’ lifestyles (e.g., tumblers, jackets, etc.)
Send gifts for birthdays and work anniversaries
Regularly share wins and celebrate major company milestones
Host employee events and social gatherings such as team-building and happy hours
An employee appreciation program builds trust because your staff knows that you see them as human beings whose needs and interests matter. When employees feel that you care, they will reciprocate this by working harder and smarter, resulting in a win-win for all parties.
Fulfill Your Employees’ Needs
Employees are the backbone of your company. They keep everything running smoothly and efficiently, so it’s important to show them how much you care about their well-being.
A great way to do this is by providing a healthy work environment. Even small perks can go a long way in boosting engagement with your team members by giving them opportunities for growth in different areas of work.
If you want to learn more about how business tools can help you boost employee engagement, contact Aircall today to schedule a free demo.