Employee engagement strategies are on the rise. Why? Because the modern-day working relationship between employees and employers is starting to lack one crucial aspect: Loyalty.
Consulting firm West Monroe recently surveyed 2000 employees and discovered that whilst 82% stated that they were loyal to their employer, in the same breath, a staggering 59% admitted they would leave their current employer if a more appealing offer emerged.
And it is that notion, the lucrative, “more appealing offer” that employee engagement strategies aim to negate.
In today’s blog, we’ll take a look at some example employee engagement strategies to ascertain what makes them successful in their mission. Plus we’ll be showing you how important it is to your business to not only implement an employee engagement strategy but also why you need to implement the correct one.
What is employee engagement and why is it important?
In the twenty-first century, businesses are facing a brand new problem: How to retain their employees.
Research from Investec has found that on average, a British millennial will change jobs around 12 times in their lifetime.
In part, this is down to two reasons. The first is that only 54% of employees feel that their company is loyal to them, and so this uncertainty breeds insecurity. To use the old adage: Employees are happier to jump before they are pushed.
The second reason is the copious amount of choice. New startups emerge all the time that offer realistic, modern-day benefits packages like flexible working and a games room downstairs. New hierarchies are developed where the structure is flat, so employees feel they have more of a say in the direction and future of the business.
Simply put, if a business fails to diversify and pivot with the changing working landscape and the needs of its employees, its workers’ heads are turned by what they see as a more exciting prospect.
This is where employee engagement comes into play. Employee engagement refers to the emotional commitment that an employee has to their organisation.
Employees that feel an emotional commitment to their workplace care about the company. That care then extends into increased productivity to help the organisation achieve its goals. An employee that cares wants a business to be successful, and so becomes a driver for organisational success.
Engaged employees won’t care about a new benefits package (provided your business supplies something to match), nor will they feel uncertain about your loyalty to them. Instead, their main care will be propelling your business forward to new heights, and that is why employee engagement is so important.
What are the key drivers of Employee Engagement?
There are three key driving factors that result in an engaged employee. These are:
- Feeling that the employee’s work was meaningful and made a difference to either the company or a client
- Feeling respected, trusted and valued
- Feeling self-confident and secure
Note that none of these factors involves higher remuneration packages. That’s because employees value a sense of belonging, community, and security, above their pay packet. Money can’t buy happiness, and it won’t buy engaged employees either if they feel that they are not valued, nor secure.
In essence, then, employee engagement is entirely holistic. The main theme of those driving factors is feeling. Employees want a sense of connection and that’s borne from how they’re made to feel within the organisation.
5 successful examples of Employee Engagement strategies
Identifying that employee engagement is holistic is crucial in how businesses then go about implementing their engagement strategies. Below we’ve listed some top tactics that are designed to successfully engage employees.
1. Build from the bottom
When we build houses, we start at the bottom because that is where the most important foundational layers are.
The same paradigm should be enacted when building a business. Its people are most important: They are the ones that power the business and ensure that it is reaching its goals and objectives.
So neglecting this bottom layer could lead to subsidence, and no business wants that.
One strategy that works most effectively to engage employees and check the sturdiness of that foundation is surveys.
The correct survey can act as a blueprint for better employee engagement. Ensure that the questions are phrased in a way that employees can openly provide feedback on the real issues. Then, hold a team meeting that goes through the survey results. Ask employees their opinions, and ask what the business can do to address concerns or improve upon issues.
The more your employees are asked to contribute, the more empowered, trusted and valued they will feel, which all helps build that sense of community and keep the foundations standing.
2. Understand how your employees work
We’ve spoken before about the definition of a growth mindset, and why it’s important for businesses to properly define and nurture those mindsets.
Without repeating ourselves, someone who is of a growth mindset and someone who is of a fixed mindset are not going to work in identical ways. Someone with a growth mindset will want to be continuously challenged and learning and failure to present this will leave them disengaged, whereas someone with a fixed mindset will react better to being praised on their results, and will find suggestions for continuous learning pressurising and demoralising.
Immediately you can see the conflict: A management style that is tailored too specifically to one mindset will negatively impact the other, and vice versa. Away from individual mindsets, the same lesson can be applied to how your employees work in general.
Some employees prefer to work individually, whereas others thrive in groups. Identifying these employees and then providing projects that play to their strengths is key in keeping everyone engaged by ticking two of the three driving factors.
Employees that do well working independently and with continuous growth opportunities will feel trusted and respected and will feel that their work is having an impact. Employees that work well in groups will feel confident and respected and will also feel as though their group work is making a difference because of its collaborative, community nature.
3. Provide career paths
A majority of employees surveyed in yearly surveys often suggest that they would stay at their workplace longer if they felt as though the organisation was investing in their career.
Employees – especially those of the millennial and Gen Z generations – don’t necessarily want to be numbers anymore. Instead, they have dreams of career progression and personal and professional development goals that they want to achieve. Businesses that fail to provide this roadmap are likely to be another reason why so many millennials switch roles.
Whilst not everyone will want to climb the career ladder, most people entering the workforce will at least now expect to see a progressive path. It’s unlikely that a Gen Z employee will want to withhold the same job title for forty to fifty years, for example. They will want to develop and progress from an entry-level clerical position, to a technical position, to at least a supervisory position throughout their working lives.
Keep your employees engaged by providing this. Not every single department needs to eventually end up top-heavy with middle managers (in fact, some employees won’t thrive in these roles), so strategically map out each role in each department and align that with the overall business goals and objectives.
Define the responsibilities of each role, and show employees how as the role progresses, their responsibilities and skill sets change and develop in accordance with their titles.
This aids your employee engagement in three ways: Firstly it gives employees motivation to continue working toward future goals and objectives, secondly, it provides opportunities for employees to grow their skill sets alongside your business, saving them needing to switch, and thirdly it shows that your organisation is placing long term value in them as people.
4. Be transparent
On the whole, loyalty is borne from trust. The reason that so many employees admit to feeling as though their organisation isn’t loyal to them is because they do not trust their workplace.
Admittedly, these fears are not unfounded. It used to be that employers could hire and fire at will, but that was before businesses started realising the cost that was having on both their bottom line and their productivity levels.
There are more reasons that are behind employee distrust, however. One significant factor is a lack of transparent communication between employees and management which leaves employees feeling wary and unsure of what is going on behind the scenes.
This wariness then breeds into apathy and prevents employees from immersing themselves fully into the company. If they also sense they are intentionally not being kept informed, employees will begin to actively distrust the company and once again, insecurity will lead them to an early exit.
Your business has every right to be discreet as situations arise or priorities change, but try where possible to remain transparent about how the business is performing, where it is headed, and the reasons behind any changes. Employees will feel trusted and respected, and ultimately, engaged.
5. Reward your people
We all benefit from positive feedback. It reassures us that we are doing well, and it boosts our self-confidence and our feeling of personal value.
So why do many businesses overlook praising their employees? Rewarding your employees is the simplest engagement strategy that there is. Rewards don’t even have to be magnanimous or bottom line balancing acts, they can be as simple as praising an employee in front of their colleagues in a team meeting.
Praising an employees efforts will reaffirm that they and their work are valued, and will also provide that much-needed confidence boost. An employee is likely to engage and become more motivated if they know their efforts are being recognised and appreciated.
Engaging your employees grows your business
And at Growth Idea, we make it our business to understand and grow yours. If you want to scale your business to the heights you’ve dreamt of, we can help with that by giving you the support you need. Need help getting started with your employee engagement strategy? Book a free consultation call with us today, and turn disengaged employees into business success drivers.