Engaged employees are absolutely critical for keeping a company thriving and growing. And the fact is that culture is the driving force for employee engagement. In other words, culture matters.
So, What Is Employee Engagement?
It can be defined by the degree to which your employees commit to their leaders or the mission of your organization, to their work, and to their longevity as employees. All of these elements inform and support your company’s customer relations, your sales and profitability. You could say truthfully that high employee engagement increases your bottom line.
An employee engagement study from Dale Carnegie identified three types of employees: engaged, unengaged, and actively disengaged.
It’s your engaged employees drive your company initiatives and move the organization forward.
If you have unengaged employees, they are typically doing the minimal work to keep their jobs. They tend to make up the bulk of most employees at most companies, however, these are the ones who could become most easily engaged.
The last group, actively disengaged employees, are often your most difficult workers and the most destructive to your company’s culture. These are the employees who are predominantly negative in their attitudes and are often vocally unhappy at work and in their jobs.
Time in Service Does Not Always Mean Engaged
Just because a worker has been with your company for a long number of years doesn’t automatically mean that he or she is actively engaged. Just showing up and doing the required work can be a form of passive participation, but certainly not engagement.
On the other hand, think about those employees who you feel really contribute to your company. These are likely workers who are highly committed, dedicated and motivated. The culture of your company should ideally be one that encourages these types of employees to stay and that motivates others to engage.
But what does that look like and how do you create a culture like that?
An article at TrainingIndustry.com suggests the following,
“Start by asking what your company values. Your mission statement should provide a guideline for the behavioral style, work ethic and priorities you desire in your employees. This understanding helps facilitate interviews, so that you’re hiring people who buy into your culture. It’s also important to incorporate these values into the daily lives of your employees, so you can retain engaged employees who believe in these values.”
Developing a culture that encourages employees to identify as a team is critical. And there are a few key elements that help foster and nurture an engaging team environment:
- A clear vision for your desired objectives as a team
- Communicating that vision to all levels of the organization
- An ongoing training and a learning environment
- Decision-making authority and accountability within the team
- Team-based rewards and evaluations
- A culture that invites different ideas and perspectives
This type of company culture makes it difficult and any individual employee to “opt out” and remain unengaged.
Practical Tips for Fostering Employee Engagement
Lack of employee engagement is a real issue in the American workforce and there are numbers of studies and surveys that support this situation.
For example, according to a Gallup poll, only 32 percent of employees in the United States are considered to be engaged, which means that more than two-thirds of workers are doing little more than showing up and doing their work.
Until they decide to move on and leave.
An SHRM survey reported that one-third of new hires left their jobs after only six months. This is a costly turn-over rate and it also means that employers typically must get new employees actively engaged with their organization and their position in less than six months.
Many other studies have shown that employees with workplace relationships are more likely to be engaged. In other words, the more friends they have at work, the more engaged they are. In fact, one study found that, of employees with no workplace friends, only a quarter of them were engaged. However, almost 70 percent of engaged employees had 25 or more friends at work.
A Forbes article by Mike Kappel, founder and CEO of Patriot Software, LLC, offers the following suggestions to “create a culture of organizational engagement”,
Provide Onboarding And Training
Employees who can master their workload have a better shot at taking pride in what they do. Workers who are eager to meet their goals are engaged with the company. Onboarding and training new hires are some of the most important steps you can take to ensure employees are engaged at work.
Set Company Goals
Employees want to know how their position fits in with the other positions in the company. And, they want to learn how their work affects your business as a whole. You can set general company goals as well as goals within each department. That way, each employee knows how their work is impacting the departmental and overall success of your business.
Engaged employees have a sense of comfortability and camaraderie with your business. Again, it’s important for employees to know their co-workers and develop friendships with them. But it’s also important to develop a relationship of respect and friendship between employer and employee.
Your employee engagement management should emphasize acknowledging employees for their hard work. According to Gallup, employees who aren’t recognized are twice as likely to quit.
Focus On Employee Development
There are many reasons job seekers apply for and accept a position, like salary and benefits. But, many workers also want the opportunity to grow their career. One Gallup poll found that 87% of millennials (and 69% of non-millennials) view development as important in their jobs.
You can focus on employee development in a few different ways. You might add new duties to the employee’s position to prevent boredom, allow room for growth in the position, or offer a job rotation program so employees do different tasks every so often.
Developing and fostering an ideal workplace culture that embodies your company’s values begins with strong leadership. It is the leadership of your organization that must create and nurture a work culture that incorporates the company’s mission and vision.
Your Partner in Workforce 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 below for our free "My HR Support Center" tour.