Forbes - How To Establish A Culture Of Employee Engagement

An article written by Mike Kappel one of the contributors at Forbes and worth a read

I’ve learned that neither you nor your employees can force workplace engagement.

Because having a successful business is every employer’s dream, companies emphasize employee engagement. With an engaged staff of employees, you lower your risk of turnover, boost customer satisfaction, and increase your company’s overall chance of success. Not to mention, there is a slew of accounting benefits of employee engagement.

It has to be ingrained in your business and within each individual employee. Find out how you can get highly engaged employees below.

5 Ways To Encourage Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is the level of commitment, passion, and loyalty a worker has toward their work and company. The more engaged an employee is, the more work they’ll put forth.

Only 32% of employees in the United States are engaged, according to a Gallup poll. That means over two-thirds of employees nationwide are disengaged with their work.

Picture two employees: One comes into work 10 minutes early each day, is excited to be there, and constantly comes up with and shares ideas for improving operations. The other employee gets to work on time every day, does the bare minimum, and counts the time until they can leave. Which employee is highly engaged?

For a business owner, the answer is simple. You want hard-working employees who are actively engaged with the work they do. You can create a culture of organizational engagement by doing the following.

1. Don’t Skip Onboarding And Training

If an employee doesn’t have a handle on their responsibilities, they won’t be engaged. Instead, they’ll be confused, frustrated, and rushed to catch up, which leads to disengagement.

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. One SHRM survey reported that one-third of new hires left their jobs after only six months. You have less than six months to get employees engaged with their position.

With a successful onboarding and training program, employees will learn how to effectively do their job. This is the time they can engage with you and ask questions, offer ideas, and voice concerns.

For most employees, onboarding and training is also the time when they bond with co-workers and develop a connection to the company. Studies have shown that the more friends employees have at work, the more engaged they are. One study found that only 28% of employees with no work friends were engaged, versus 69% with 25 or more friends. Onboarding encourages relationships among employees.

2. Set Company Goals

To run a successful business, you need a business plan with a list of goals you want to accomplish. To engage employees, you need to involve them in reaching business goals.

You should set annual, semi-annual, quarterly, and monthly goals so employees have something to work toward. Reaching goals is something that encourages employee engagement.

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.

3. Acknowledge Employees

Employees don’t automatically become engaged when you give them more praise, thanks, or any other type of acknowledgment. But, employees can quickly become disengaged if they feel like they’re invisible.

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.

When I say acknowledge employees, I don’t mean give them praise for every little thing they do. I’m talking about things like saying “Hello,” “Have a good night,” or “Thank you.” And when the employee puts in extra effort, acknowledge them.

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.

At Patriot Software, we have TVs that broadcast accomplishments, anniversaries, birthdays, and more. We also acknowledge employees in our monthly newsletter.

4. 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.

Employees want to develop their skills and continue challenging themselves. They don’t want to do monotonous tasks that require minimal effort. Engaged employees constantly use their mind and enhance their skills.

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.

Another way you can emphasize employee development is by offering educational assistance. This is a great perk that lets employees further their education. It shows employees that you value their career growth, and it also allows you to add new skills to your business.

5. Don’t Micromanage

If employees are told exactly what to do and how to do it, they won’t have the time or motivation to engage with the work. They’ll be more like robots. Employees can’t be engaged if they don’t have freedom in how to do their jobs.

Micromanaging can be damaging to your business. One business found that micromanaging resulted in 68% of employees saying their morale was dampened and 55% saying it led to a decrease in productivity. Lost morale and productivity leads to actively disengaged workers.

I don’t like micromanaging at Patriot Software, and my managers don’t like it, either. We encourage employees to work on their own, come up with their own ideas, and bring those ideas to the table. If we are watching over their shoulder every step of the way, employees wouldn’t have the freedom to develop their own ways to problem solve and engage with the work.

Instead of micromanaging, I let each employee make decisions about how to accomplish their work. This leads to higher levels of engagement. And, employees know they can reach out to their managers (or me) if they ever have any questions.

Start by looking at the big picture. Leave the details up to your employees, and you’ll end up with workers happy to put their own methods and ideas into action.

Forbes - How To Establish A Culture Of Employee Engagement.