Employee engagement is a big topic these days, as companies recognize what this can mean to their productivity and performance. A 2014 survey reported that 78 percent of executives surveyed rated engagement as an important or urgent issue. Research has shown that engaged employees are more productive, provide better customer service, and stay in their jobs longer. Employee engagement is moving from an annual survey, to an on-going business concern.
Are your people engaged? Do you think they’ll keep working for you 5 years from now? Every now and then, organizations should rethink the way they treat their staff. Surveys are an excellent way of finding out if your company’s production goals are being met or not. Of course, there are others ways to boost engagement, too.
The traditional view of engagement
The concept of employee engagement was originated in 1800s. An early industrial engineer did a study on how employees’ attitudes could impact their productivity. A few decades ago, Gallup started doing engagement surveys to measure this and report the results. Today, there are many different surveys and tools, from a plethora of suppliers, all of which are designed to help determine the level of engagement at your company.
Typically these surveys are done annually. Though it can be useful, it is limited because it isn’t updated often enough. Engagement can be affected by many work-related issues that come up all the time. A new generation of tools to build engagement is emerging. These focus on creating an “irresistible organization.”
Look at Google who’s reshaping the work place. People are allowed to chat, interact, and play games during breaks; the traditional office space is completely changed – no more cubicles, no more monotony, and no more routine. Companies are finally starting to understand that the key to success has one name – teamwork.
Reasons for disengagement
Creating a high performance environment where employees feel engaged is not a simple task. There are many factors in play at any time. The reasons people are disengaged can be varied.
The old view was that most employees left a company because of their direct manager. New research shows that it is usually a combination of their management as well as organizational factors that drives a person to quit.
When a company is going through a transition, there can be uncertainty and doubt among employees that leads to disengagement. When people feel that the demands on them are too high, and that they are not adequately compensated or rewarded, it can spark disengagement.
Employees may lack engagement because they perceive no interest in developing their skills, or no career path for them at the company. If working conditions are unpleasant or difficult, this can also lead to dissatisfaction and disengagement.
Engaged vs. committed
The term engagement can give us a limited view. It implies that we just need to grab people and engage their attention. Instead, what companies really need to do is to build organizations where work is meaningful, exciting and fun. The goal isn’t just to get employees to be engaged with their work, but to make them fully committed to their job and the organization.
Rather than just conducting an engagement survey, achieving this level of total commitment can require some serious changes. Some companies are even redefining their mission. For instance, pharmaceutical companies are shifting their identity from being a “drug company” to being a “health and wellness company.” Employees can feel better aligned with the company, and that’s what you need to get them committed to the organization’s success.
Other companies are looking at redesigning jobs, updating the work environment, changing the performance appraisal system, investing more in employee development, or adding new benefits. All of these help to drive engagement and commitment, and all of them go far beyond the traditional annual survey.
Companies should redefine their viewpoint on employees. Rather than see them as “hired hands” they should want to “engage” them. Organizations must understand their workers if they want to retain them for extended periods of time. People are the essence of services and products. In order to boost employee engagement, your company should want to attract, entice and allure with great strategies and well-thought leadership.