How to Drive your Business to Success using Employee Engagement
Last updated on January 11th, 2021
Some organizations have employees which don’t just go to work every day but try to follow organizational goals and try to achieve desired results. These employees are highly motivated, driven and consider the organization as an essential part of their lives. But what makes an employee dedicated towards an organization? How can organizations engage employees to make them feel a sense of ownership and collective responsibility? The key lies in employee engagement. This is a topic upon which you might find several public speakers giving lengthy PowerPoint presentations. However, there is a few key factors that need to be considered to motivate and drive a workforce towards organizational success.
What is Employee Engagement?
When describing the qualitative and quantitative relationship between employees and organizations, employee engagement emerges as a fundamental concept. An engaged employee is one that is enthusiastic about work, with a positive attitude to take forward an organization’s repute and interests. A disengaged employee, on the contrary can range from someone doing just the bare minimum of their duties to someone actively undermining the interests of the organization. The concept of employee engagement first emerged during the 90s, gaining much attention during the 2000s in management practices. Employee engagement is a well-established concept in human resource management and internal communications.
The Key Components of Employee Engagement
There are a number of factors which can be deemed as components of employee engagement. We have listed a few factors and drivers which can be considered as key to this concept.
High performing organizations have a high level of employee involvement. These employees don’t feel like small cogs in a big machine. They’re able to actively innovate and contribute towards the organization’s success. Although it is unlikely that all employees in such an organization are highly motivated, however, a large number of employees motivated towards the organization’s well-being can be deemed as an involved workforce. The early years of employee involvement can be deemed as one of the driving factors for the success of many large organizations such as Google and Amazon.
Committed employees are dedicated towards the organization’s goals and driven towards the success of the organization. They can be deemed as ambassadors of the organization, always looking for ways to add value to their work and the organization by and large. A committed workforce is often attributed to empathetic employers, who care for the well-being of their employees. A study titled, ‘Weathering the Storm: A Study of Employee Attitudes and Opinions’ showed that high-commitment companies outperformed companies with low-commitment employees by 47%.
An involved and committed workforce is likely to yield better results with more productivity. This productivity comes not only from employee’s focusing on their job but also the extra effort they might put in to innovate, reduce waste and find ways to achieve organizational goals.
Many organizations can make the mistake of considering all employees as equally capable of working at the same pace. When looking at the individual personality, motivations, intellect and other associated factors, it can be determined how the employee might perform. Some employees will always be more or less motivated than others. These are factors that can be determined by measuring employee performance using various metrics. These might include 360-degree feedback, Forced Rankings, Net Promoter Score, etc.
Drivers of Employee Engagement
There are a number of drivers of employee engagement that can be effectively used to increase employee engagement.
Tapping into Employee’s Strengths: Not every employee has the same strengths and weaknesses. Some employees can appear lazy, but they can be creative and might come up with innovative ideas which might allow the company to prosper. Similarly, some employees despite putting in extra time and effort might not be as productive and may need additional training and support. Understanding and encouraging innovation and productivity can be done by allowing employees to play at their strengths through workplace flexibility, training, encouragement and benefits for achieving certain goals.
Clarity of Job Expectations and Benefits: Many organizations can end up with hazy job expectations and benefits. Some employees might work hard for the first year assuming benefits which don’t really exist, resulting in demotivation. Furthermore, the chain of command, roles and responsibilities can be loosely described, resulting in some employees taking unnecessary blame for failure.
Career Advancement Opportunities: Employees who believe working hard can lead to career advancement are likely to work harder. However, with no clear benefits for hard work, motivation is hard to come by.
Relationship with Peers, Superiors and Subordinates: Many hard-working employees can leave an organization despite chances for career advancement and despite enjoying good job benefits. This is because a toxic working environment where peers, superiors and at times subordinates are uncooperative, stubborn and engage in office politics can be hard for a high-performing employee to work with.
Perceptions of The Ethos and Values of The Organization: A lot of organizations find it hard to do as they preach. When employees don’t see accountability for people in power flaunting the rules and view values of the organization not being shared, there is likely to be more resentment than motivation.
Employee engagement does not imply exploiting employees and using every ounce of their motivation for short-term gains. Using misleading perceptions regarding benefits, pressuring employees to perform well or tokenism isn’t going to produce a productive workforce. Employers need to be empathetic to the needs of employees, be fair with them, ensure accountability at all levels and provide employees a chance to grow as the organization prospers.
A motivated workforce that is ready to put in the extra effort to make sure that desired goals are met in a timely manner needs to feel that the organization also has their best interest at heart. Failure to do so creates resentment and might even lead to employees undermining the very organization they are working for. But a positive attitude trickles down from the top. If the top management can lead by example and be empathetic to the needs of the workforce, they are likely to have a high-performing, motivated workforce at their disposal, resulting in long-term growth, high productivity, employee and customer satisfaction.