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Employee Engagement

Employee engagement: What, Why & How [Comprehensive Guide]

Employee engagement is the ultimate catalyst that ensures the fostering of a happy workforce that brings in successful results. Employee engagement levels indicate how committed your employees are to the organization and its mission. To understand what is employee engagement in HR? let’s break the concept into varied sections and understand it in detail.

What is the definition of employee engagement?

Employee engagement is defined by the level of personal investment employees bring into their daily tasks. Employee engagement is evident when your employees trust the organization’s overall mission and their leadership team. The signs of a highly engaged workforce are that it always prioritizes innovation, customer satisfaction, and quality service.

Employee engagement is many times confused with employee satisfaction or employee well-being. Let’s understand a little better what is not employee engagement.

Why is employee engagement important for enterprises?

Employee engagement is the willingness of your employees to go the extra mile to achieve your business goals. It’s the emotional dedication your employees have for your organization. They don’t just work for the salary they get at the end of every month. They work because they are highly motivated to achieve the goals your organization wants to achieve. 

Employee engagement means that your employees care for your business, and not just you caring for them. They don’t work to please their bosses or just to show that they are working. They do overtime without being asked. They work even when nobody’s watching. Engaged employees work for themselves while efforts are directed towards the company’s missions, goals, and objectives.

They are always excited to take on new challenges, embrace change, and welcome solving tough problems. They also tend to be curious by nature, focus on continuous learning, and regularly seek new ways to broaden their existing skill sets.

Quick Fact: A study by Gallup shows that highly engaged workplaces saw 41% lower absenteeism

What does employee engagement mean for enterprises?

According to a 2018 Korn Ferry Survey, the majority, 33 percent of those changing jobs cite boredom and the need for new challenges as the top reason why they are leaving.

This indicates the need to keep your employees engaged in their job roles. 

Employee engagement should not be an option. It is a must for every organization that wants to attract and retain the best talent in the industry. The bigger the organization the higher  there is the possibility of disengagement among employees. Implementing employee engagement activities keeps your employees focused on the goal of the company and challenges their potential which translates into increased productivity, innovative ideas and higher retention rates.

These are only the surface-level benefits of employee engagement. There are several other advantages associated with it, let’s have a look at a few of those:

Benefits of employee engagement

1. Attract and retain top talent

A committed employee working towards organizational goals, when kept engaged, continues to work in the organization for a longer duration. Not only this, they act as ambassadors for your company and attract new talents as well. 

2. Higher productivity

An engaged employee is self-motivated and loves taking on challenges. They have the ability to work tirelessly and hence are highly productive as compared to a disengaged employee.

3. Better customer satisfaction

This is an indirect benefit of employee engagement but it does exist. An engaged employee works like they are working in their own company and treats customers as their own customers. So, they deliver better product quality and better customer service altogether.

4. Increased sales

The enthusiasm, optimism, and motivation of an engaged salesperson drive more than expected sales. They often tend to exceed the targets and create new milestones.

5. Enhanced business profits

All of the factors together contribute to increased revenue and hence better profitability.

Employee engagement has a direct impact on your business profits and shareholder returns. So, just like you invest in other business assets to fetch high revenue, you must invest in employee engagement too. That’s how you can make the most out of your pool of hired talented individuals.

Now, let’s jump to ‘How’

How to ensure maximum employee engagement?

Most of you might think that ensuring employee engagement is the job of the HR team. But here I’ll break the myth for you.

Employee engagement isn’t something that an HR can do alone. It’s part of the work culture. The HR makes strategies to achieve maximum employee engagement and then the strategies are implemented by leaders and managers throughout the organization. It’s a collaborative process that employees in all departments of the organization should experience.

Moreover, one very important question is when does employee engagement begin? Many of you might think that it begins after an employee is onboarded but that’s not true. It begins right from the start of the recruitment process and spans through the entire employee lifecycle until the exit or retirement.

Employee engagement shapes the experience your employees have in your organization. And it is a cumulative effort of many factors combined. 

So, here are a few primary factors that impact employee engagement at your organization.

1. Smooth onboarding 

Candidates get a glimpse of the company’s work culture right during their selection process itself. Also, at the time of onboarding, you must ensure that candidates get all the right assets and training for a smooth onboarding experience.

2. Good work culture

Work culture says a lot about the organization. Primary factors that shape a good work culture and keep your employees engaged are transparency, openness, autonomy, respect, and appreciation. A good work culture always promotes open feedback and treats employees with the respect they deserve.

3. Learning and development opportunities

Motivated and highly energetic employees always look forward to new learning opportunities. They love taking challenges and creating new solutions. A good work culture focuses on employees’ personal growth, learning, and development.

4. Effective leadership

Good leadership is crucial to a company’s growth and success. A good leader creates new leaders instead of just managing a team. The team of new leaders are self-motivated and just need the right direction to achieve their goals.

5. Succession planning

Proper succession planning gives a personal vision to each individual. That’s something they can look forward to as a result of their commitment and hard work. This is one of the key drivers of employee engagement.

6. Employee wellness

Employee wellness is very crucial to keeping the workplace healthy. It includes both physical and mental health. To combat stress and physical inactivity, many companies are now investing in yoga, meditation, fitness products, and other physical activities.

7. Flexibility

Every person loves flexibility both in their workplace and personal life. It simply keeps the employees happy and helps them plan a schedule that suits their needs. Flexibility helps organizations keep employees engaged as it displays the trust the organization has in them.

8. Awards and recognition

Not being appreciated is one of the most common reasons for people leaving the organization. Employees appreciate meaningful recognition for their work. Regular feedback and checking in on employees are positive drivers of engagement.

However, this might seem like an ideal workplace and a little hard to achieve. And this is why employee engagement is a two-way process.

It’s not only about what you do for the employees but also what they do for you. An employee needs to be optimistic, motivated, and should possess a positive attitude to be engaged.

How to measure employee engagement?

You might be building new strategies every month to increase employee engagement or you might be under the assumption that your employees are already engaged. But do you have any data points to validate your strategies and assumptions? 

Employee engagement is mostly non-quantifiable, and the ROI of employee engagement efforts can’t be measured in numbers, rather it’s seen in the work culture and the pace at which the organization is moving towards its goal. But that’s where employee engagement software comes to the rescue.

Employee engagement software gives you scores against various parameters responsible for employee engagement and helps you improve the factors against which you scored less. It is completely data-driven and gives you an exact picture of employee engagement at your organization.

Leena AI is one such employee engagement software that uses artificial intelligence to assess employee engagement at your workplace. 

What are the key drivers of employee engagement? What matters the most?

There are a number of factors that derive engagement in an organization. Each organization might have a unique set of engagement metrics but there are some engagement metrics that remain the same for all organizations. Let’s take a look at them:

Measuring the effectiveness of your employee engagement strategies is crucial for determining the success of your engagement plan. To determine the success of your engagement plan you need to clearly define the metrics you are going to measure the engagement levels against. Identifying what are the key drivers that influence engagement or disengagement in your organization will help you get detailed insights into which factor is or isn’t working for which department and which factor needs development. 

How to identify key metrics? This can be done by looking at the statistical patterns across all departments in your organization. If there is a department with a high attrition rate, or lower absenteeism, looking at such data can help understand which factors are impacting engagement levels. Low score items that are directly linked to engagement can be your focal point and you will have a database to build your first engagement strategy.

There are some points of concern that are unique to each organization. However, for many organizations, the key drivers of employee engagement remain the same. Let’s take a look at them:

Manager

How transparent and easy communication is between the manager and their team? Is the manager providing timely feedback and recognition to the team? Does the team have enough trust in the manager that they can freely share their opinions? Does the team feel that they have ample opportunities to collaborate with other teams to learn and grow? 

Growth

It is one of the most important engagement drivers. If your employees feel that they do not see themselves advancing in their current role or within the organization, they are most likely to look for other opportunities. Therefore, understanding whether your employees are getting learning and growth opportunities, freedom for innovation and creativity, and complete autonomy in their job roles are important.

Team

If your employees are not feeling a part of the team, they might feel the need to move out. As a result, measuring the levels of trust among the team members is crucial. Learning if there are any communication gaps among the team members is important. If they are collaborating or not is critical to encourage them to build inter-team relationships. 

Organization

Learning the existing state of mind of your employees about the organization is significant. Are they happy with the work environment, do they believe in the company policies, ethics, and vision? Do they have clarity about their goals or not? And most important, do they feel welcomed into the organization’s culture and face no biasedness.

Work

If your organization pays under the market rate, your employees might be tempted to accept a more competitive offer. To keep your employees loyal to your company, you’ll want to make sure you are offering competitive pay and benefits along with updated tools and resources to support their job roles. Things like a competitive salary, wellness programs, healthy work-life balance, time off, telecommuting, and health benefits can help improve employee engagement and retention remarkably.

Satisfaction

Your employees should feel a sense of pride in working for the organization. This can be measured through their feedback shared in engagement surveys and social platforms such as Glassdoor etc. Their level of happiness and satisfaction can be measured through their presenteeism rate, retention rate, high participation rate in engagement activities, and more. It is critical for employees to feel satisfaction in their job roles and the vision of the organization.

Leadership

Another key driver of employee engagement is the leadership team. Your employees must believe in the leaders of the organization. They should feel that they can easily communicate their ideas, opinions, and feedback to the leadership team. Simultaneously, the leadership team should constantly share the overall goals and mission of the organization to keep employees motivated and well-informed about the big picture.

Building an employee engagement action plan?

While planning your employee engagement initiative, do keep in mind that it will not give you noticeable results in the first attempt. It is a constant practice that requires continual automation, iteration, and evaluation. Let’s take a look at what your engagement action plan should look like:

Set the context right

The first step is to address the question of why do you need an engagement plan? The intention needs to be clear in order to execute a strategy faster and see successful results. Define your goals, strengthens your management, and build organizational agility

Define what needs to be measured?

Creating a well-defined framework will help you understand what your workforce needs and how you can meet those needs. Some of the elements such as career development, communication, fair treatment, skill development, and pay and benefits must be a part of your framework.

Find the right engagement tools to execute your plan

An AI-backed employee engagement tool can help you in automating many monotonous processes, that too at scale. Powered by new-age technologies such as machine learning and natural language processing, a well-equipped employee engagement platform can precisely predict your employee’s existing mood, any signs of attrition, and the overall mood score of the organization. Such can tools can take care of the execution of your employee engagement surveys end-to-end. Right from creating the surveys, and sharing them with employees to sending reminders whenever needed.

Analyze the data and build your action plan

Data is the most important key. Once you have received the feedback data, the next step is to observe engagement trends in varied departments. This data can help you understand what is making certain teams work efficiently. It is recommended to always compare the results of each engagement survey with the previous and keep updating your benchmarks for the next strategy.

Measure the ROI of your plan

Measuring the impact of employee engagement initiatives is a clear indicator of whether or not you are heading towards your desired goal. It is evident that not every metric can be quantified, however, a few key metrics such as employee attrition, employee absenteeism, employee productivity, and so on can be measured.

What is Leena AI?

Leena AI is an employee engagement software that assesses the engagement level of your employees across the lifecycle via short conversational surveys. The frequency of the employee surveys and the focus areas of the survey questions differ as per the stage of the employee lifecycle.

For example, a person who joined your organization just a couple of weeks back won’t know much about the work culture and goal completion. So, taking the same survey for all employees won’t fetch accurate results.

Let’s now understand how Leena AI actually works.

The process of assessing employee engagement begins with a short and simple survey in the form of a chat. 

  1. Employees are invited to participate in the survey via email or any other communication channel.
  2. Once the employee consents to take the survey, Leena AI asks questions to assess the engagement level.
  3. If any employee fails to take the survey, Leena AI keeps sending them automated reminders to ensure maximum participation rate. 
  4. Once there are enough responses, Leena AI algorithms analyze the feedback and show real-time insights on the dashboard.
  5. The dashboard reflects the overall happiness score of the organization, and rates employee engagement on various parameters such as work culture, leadership, employee commitment, etc. 
  6. Leena AI also predicts attrition, analyzes open-ended employee feedback, and helps you in action planning.

An employee engagement software helps you discover hidden employee insights and lets you pull the right engagement drivers to ensure maximum employee engagement.

Quick Facts: According to Gallup’s meta-analysis, the businesses that scored the highest on employee engagement showed 21 percent higher levels of profitability than units in the lowest quartile. Companies with a highly engaged workforce also scored 17 percent higher on productivity.

So, are you ready to take your employee engagement to the next level?

 

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