If you ask one hundred small to medium-sized business (SMB) owners what the number one HR metric they look at in order to determine what their workplace culture is, they will say employee engagement. Employee engagement over the last decade has increasingly become a key performance indicator (KPI) that not only indicates the level of satisfaction among your staff but also highlights potential warning signs.
Workplace culture can activate employee engagement in many ways. Still, when your employees are engaged consistently, you will notice they are more optimistic, focused on the team’s success over their own, and always go above and beyond.
On the other hand, disengaged employees feel no real connection to their jobs and tend to do the bare minimum. They are quick to rush out of the door or log off right at closing, show an unwillingness to participate in company events, and become indifferent.
You can probably name a handful of employees who fit perfectly into that description. Now, as you think about them, their demeanor and middle to low performance, think about the great things that can manifest if they were engaged—it can be a true game changer.
There are two main drivers of employee engagement; organizational drivers and management drivers. Organizational drivers include a healthy work environment, clear organizational goals, the view that people are essential resources, and investment in employees’ growth and development.
Management drivers are those elements that are directed between the relationship of the employee and their direct managers. This can be job empowerment, clear and consistent communication and support, detailed growth trajectories, and the opportunities to work with the best tools and resources.
So how can you develop and sustain employee engagement both from an organizational and HR perspective?
Organizational Employee Engagement
Start With Data Points
The numbers do not lie, my friend. At a minimum, you need to gauge and measure employee engagement yearly through an annual employee engagement survey. When building this out, you want first to note your key performance indicators such as absenteeism rate, turnover rate, and overall employee satisfaction. From your results, you should identify what contributes to or has the highest impact on employee engagement while also recognizing the variances between the best performing and engaged teams and the ones with less engagement. From there, HR and the management team can begin building a plan to increase engagement in those areas.
Consider Unobvious Impacts
There’s every likelihood you’ll evaluate alternatives for revising HR practices to facilitate employee engagement. One thing to not forget is the impact of those alternatives and changes on different business facets. Before any change is made, you need to ask yourself if these changes are sustainable as the business grows? Is this adaptable to in-person and virtual culture? How can we ensure these practices are sustainable for our managers? These head-scratchers can ensure you are creating holistic plans built with your employees in mind first and foremost.
Work On The Trust Factor
How do you begin to build engagement if there is no trust between the management and the employees? As with any relationship, trust is fundamental, and the best way to build trust is to be consistent in your actions and communications. Trust is not created by one flash gesture and then fizzle. It is produced through the small, meaningful, and consistent actions that lead employees to feel safe and allows your management to be seen as reliable. For example, if this year’s key initiative is improving employee engagement, please, for the love of all things puppies and kittens, don’t run a survey and then not follow up with a report of the results and an action plan of next steps. Follow the process through to the end with completed commitment, and your employees will start to follow the example you set for them in their day-to-day.
Employee Engagement Through HR Management
Enrich Roles And Assignments
No one wants to work a job where they bring no value and impact to their team or the wider business. Make sure your roles and responsibilities have meaning and are an avenue for fulfillment for your staff. Include variety and autonomy in employee’s every day tasks. Emphasize mutual respect in so that employees view their role more broadly and become more willing to go above and beyond what’s in their job description. You’ll find that employees will be much more engaged and have a passion for what they do.
Onboard And Train Effectively
Onboarding is not a one and done. Through professional development planning, your employees should be given resources and training on how to increase job performance and their capacities to perform at their best. When they perform at their best, they will have higher satisfaction and therefore leads to higher engagement. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Monitor Performance Management
Set goals that align with the objectives and mission of your business. Provide feedback, give room for taking on more challenges and recognize accomplishments.
Employee engagement is a critical driver of the survival and success of your business. Not only does employee engagement promote retention of great talent willing to go above and beyond, but customer loyalty will also be maintained, and there will be an improvement in organizational performance.