Employee engagement is a key part of any HR strategy. But how effective has employee engagement been in addressing the biggest challenges faced by today’s companies? Even with all the hype surrounding engagement, however, a survey conducted by Gallup shows that only 13% of people feel engaged in their work, and overall engagement levels haven’t improved in years. Is all this chatter about engagement just a lot of sizzle, with little substance?
Turns out that beyond its feelgood appeal and buzz-worthiness, employee engagement is actually changing the world of work as we know it. Let’s go into the five ways employee engagement is impacting our work.
1. Engagement is helping companies win the talent
Creating a workplace culture where people feel connected to their colleagues and the company’s mission, vision, and values has become top priority for employees and employers. This is because of the shortage of skills that many companies are currently facing, as well as the rapidly evolving expectations of their best and brightest talents. As a result, companies that prioritize a culture of active, continuous engagement are much more likely to increase their value.
Now that you’re working from home, keep engagement levels high by pooling together your people’s mutual interests and hobbies, so you can create online clubs and digital hangouts. This is the perfect time and place to engage in a fun way, bringing together your employees in one virtual space. Engagement increases when your people experience both work and play!
2. Engagement is creating happier places to work
This may surprise you, but very few people actually leave a job only for a higher salary. In this knowledge-based economy, productivity is based on the unique genius of highly skilled men and women who refuse to be treated like cogs in a machine. Sure, fair compensation matters—but it’s not what fuels today’s top talents. An engaged company—one where team leaders recognize, acknowledge, and reward the efforts of their people—goes a long way towards boosting people’s sense of workplace satisfaction.
Now that you’re working from home: Take advantage of tech tools that call your people out for a job well done. Sending a Shoutout or a company-wide Kudos blast that acknowledges your people for their hard work and accomplishments is proven to increase engagement, even when doing so remotely.
3. Engagement is forcing HR to leverage technology like never before
Engagement is based on connectivity. However, teams today (especially during COVID times) tend to be widely distributed, with an increasing number of people working remotely. As a result, HR teams are embracing the kinds of technologies required to boost collaboration and overall connectivity in a working world that’s more flexible than ever.
Engagement-driven companies are led by HR teams that dive deep into KPIs, employee experience platforms, and other tech tools. Using people data, HR can quickly test new ideas and engagement activities to see what’s working and what needs to be deleted.
Now that you’re working from home: Integrated collaboration tools are the perfect way to keep your people connected and communicating. For example, our integrations with Slack, MS Teams, and other communication platforms make transparency possible, increasing engagement rates and improving collaborative project workflows.
4. Engagement is doing away with the 8-hour workday
A productive employee used to be one who dutifully completed a set of predefined tasks. But today people at work are expected to excel in critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity to devise novel solutions. However, studies show that the 8-hour workday actually prevents people from getting into that all-important creative flow. So if longer hours don’t matter, what does? Engagement. Truly engaged team members are allowed to innovate, take creative risks, and are encouraged to exercise their brains with deep learning while at work.
Now that you’re working from home: Keep your people engaged remotely, be flexible with your home-office hours, and understand that everyone works at their own pace and on their own schedule. Instead, implement deep learning by assigning to-dos and projects that require your people to get creative at any hour of the night—or morning.
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5. Engagement is growing tomorrow’s organizational leaders from within
A major demotivator for many people is the lack of new professional horizons. Again, it’s engagement to the rescue. Companies that focus on engagement are much more likely to promote from within. This makes sense: building a workplace culture based on engagement translates into the implementation of organizational policies like performance reviews, pulse surveys, and other mechanisms that can quickly spot tomorrow’s next great leaders. Sourcing your homegrown talent this way will boost your company’s engagement levels and overall performance.
Now that you’re working from home: Implement internal mobility, especially working from home. After all, presenting your people with new opportunities and greater challenges are shown to increase engagement, and not just because they want that promotion, but because they want to add to their already existing skillset. Offer more responsibility to your hardest worker where you see fit.
Are you only measuring engagement?
Most companies understand the advantages that come with an engaged workforce. Yet the disengagement epidemic persists and is having an adverse effect on the bottom line to the tune of $7 trillion in lost productivity. What’s holding many companies back is a myopic focus on measuring engagement. But that’s only the first step. To catalyze the creation of a more motivated workforce, improving engagement should be top of mind.
And, companies that take that extra step, from just gauging to serious action, are finding that engagement is having a profoundly positive impact on their world of work.