Employee engagement has been proven to be a strong predictor for business success. A reason, companies are paying more attention to how to improve engagement. Recent studies from Gallup show that engagement slightly increased in March 2016 to 34.1%. Up from 32% in 2015 and 31.5% in 2014.
With Gen Y's and Millennials, the majority of the workforce, companies need to raise the bar in how they look at it. Engagement is often one of the deciding factors in whether an employee stays with a company or chooses to leave. Employees today want to feel valued and have purpose in their job. No longer are employees staying with companies due to loyalty. But instead, because they know and believe in the "why" they are doing the job and how they are contributing to the organization.
Most of us learn from watching what others are doing and adding our own spin to it. What are the leading companies that rate high in employee engagement doing?
Making engagement a priority. Engagement has to start from the top. True leaders are not chosen based on their skills alone, but their ability to manage and build relationships across the organization. When it comes to engagement, leaders need to be involved, committed and communicate their mission and purpose.
Clarifying work duties. Employees want to have a purpose and feel that what they are doing is making a difference in the organization. Yes, the fun perks are an added benefit for employees, but when an employee feels as if they bring value and their skills are appreciated, employees become more engaged.
Creating a culture. When engagement is weaved into a manager's performance expectations, they realize the importance the role of engagement plays. They feel empowered and can execute on what needs to be done. Working together with employees, leaders can identify roadblocks and opportunities for growth. An engaged culture includes acting on what needs to change, follow up and always making engagement a priority.
Open communication. Communication is essential in employee engagement. Whether it is at team meetings or one on one meetings, managers need to communicate and share best practices and offer feedback. When managers and employees communicate and listen to each other. They act as a team, learning and growing together.
Building Relationships. When employees are treated as individuals and not just as employees, it creates a positive atmosphere. Managers need to go beyond just knowing who their employees are, but understanding who they are and what makes them tick. Knowing your employees talents, beliefs, experiences and goals will drive performance and success.
Hiring and Coaching Managers. Look closely at who you are hiring and who is being promoted. Promotions are often given to the wrong person for the wrong reason. And not to the employee who will make a difference and knows how to manage people. Considering people are your best asset in a company, leaders need to make managing and caring for their employees a priority. Coaching managers and emerging leaders will spotlight people development and management skills.
Who are some of the top companies that are noted for excellent employee engagement? Achievers nominated 50 companies that were leading the way in engaging employees and making their workplaces more productive. These companies were honored with "Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplace Awards". The criteria included communication, leadership, culture, vision and values, rewards and recognition, corporate social responsibility, performance, and professional and personal development. One of the companies awarded was Cargill. They were recognized as "going beyond just employee surveys but continually pushing themselves to include community involvement and engagement in the hearts and minds of its employees." CBRE was also recognized as it creates "a workplace environment that promotes creativity, collaboration and integrates and encourages a healthy work/life balance." Other companies awarded included Autotrader, CISCO service platform group, Humana, KPMG, Tata and Zappos.
As leaders of companies, you need to ask yourself. Why not go the extra mile and make employee engagement a priority? Why contribute to the staggering $350 billion dollars lost in productivity with disengaged workers?
But rather, strive to increase the 34.1% of engaged employees, each month beyond March. Remember engagement is not rocket science but putting a flashlight on the obvious. Engagement occurs when employees know the mission, are treated as individuals, relationships are built, learning and development exists and yes, a little bit of fun is present. When companies realize that their bottom line is being affected by employee engagement, more companies will make it a priority.