Every employer would like to have engaged employees, but too many undervalue the benefits of having a workforce that is genuinely engaged and motivated.
For too many employers and managers, the concept of "employee engagement" is a bit too vague and subjective to be worried about. The tendency is to simply offer more perks or write of disengaged workers as simply uncaring or a "bad fit."
The problem, however, is far more likely to be that the culture and the managerial styles prevalent in these organizations do not foster employee engagement, satisfaction or motivation. And this is to the detriment of the company as these disaffected employees are likely to just find another job elsewhere.
Why Employee Engagement Matters
While some managers and employers may dismiss the impact of employee engagement, the truth is that there is a measurable cost associated with having disengaged employees. Studies have shown that an overall loss of productivity, an increase in absenteeism, and even employee turnover can be a real and costly result of disengagement.
On the upside, the opposite of all these trends has been shown to result from having a strong and vibrant company culture with engaged and highly motivated employees. For example, engaged employees show up to work regularly and consistently show themselves to be more productive. In fact, according to Gallup, highly engaged businesses in the US.. have seen an average of 41 percent reduction in absenteeism.
Because disengaged employees tend to feel disassociated with their job, manager or company they lack a strong sense of responsibility to the company. Consequently, it is less of a problem for them to not show up.
Here's a graphic look at some of the costs and benefits associated with both scenarios:
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The Managerial Art of Engagement
As noted earlier, part of the problem in many companies is the lack of awareness on the part of management when it comes to the subject of engagement. Because it is subjective and intangible, it is easy to ignore or notice. In addition, it is also difficult to quantify and measure.
However, it is nonetheless a real dynamic and it can be "managed" by caring and conscientious leaders.
An article from Legal Island offers these steps for building employee engagement:
- Ensure that employees have everything they need to do their jobs. Just as marketplace and customer needs change often, so do employees' needs.
- Managers should clearly communicate what is expected of employees - what the company values and vision are, and how the company defines success.
- Get to know your employees – what their goals and fears are. How do they define success and what direction do they see the business going in? Managers should show an interest in each employee’s well-being, meet and talk with them on a regular basis and establish what makes them feel fulfilled in their role.
- It is important that managers know how to manage and engage their staff. Managers should receive regular training in various people management skills training, such as performance management and talent development. These skills will teach management how to interact with their employees effectively.
- On an annual or biannual basis a development plan can be put in place for each employee. This will outline objectives for the employee and the supports available to the employee to achieve these goals. These goals and objectives should be created and agreed by the manager and the employee together.
While it may remain a somewhat intangible aspect of a company's culture, it is still possible to define and describe employee engagement. Or put another way, it is possible to "know it when you see it."
In an interview, Jim Harter Ph.D., Chief Scientist of Workplace Management and Well-Being, described how engaged employees are different:
“Engaged employees are more attentive and vigilant. They look out for the needs of their coworkers and the overall enterprise, because they personally ‘own’ the result of their work and that of the organization.”
Professional Help for HR Management
Employee development and engagement, building company culture and workforce management can all be part of the responsibilities of a company's HR staff. And oftentimes the tasks and demands can seem overwhelming. This is where having an alternative for your HR management can be highly beneficial.
Another key step in maintaining HR workload, while increasing your company's cost-effectiveness, is to consider outsourcing. A professional agency such as Accuchex can provide much-needed help with Human Resources needs and questions.
Accuchex is a full spectrum Payroll Management Services provider offering expertise in Time Management, Insurance and Retirement issues, as well. Sign up for our free "My HR Support Center" tour.