What Is Employee Engagement And How To Encourage It?

Picture of Zack Williamson

Zack Williamson

Employee engagement is a hot topic within the HR community. In companies that specifically cater to HR solutions, of course, it’s important as it’s a selling point to their business model, to other companies who have a different culture, all it is is a fancy buzzword that gets thrown around. But in actuality, it is important for a healthy working culture and the success of companies often relies on it. Being an intangible asset, gauging employee engagement has been relegated to online surveys where companies think they can truly determine whether an employee is engaged in the workplace. In truth, you can see it from the way people perform and generally behave in a working environment.

Defining Employee Engagement

To put it simply, employee engagement is the extent to which employees are passionate about their job, their commitment to the company, and the amount of effort put into their work. That doesn’t sound as simple as just saying employee satisfaction, but employee engagement isn’t just about satisfaction. Being satisfied with work simply means to be happy with your work, someone who doesn’t do anything at work all day but somehow gets by can be satisfied but isn’t an engaged employee.

It is everyone’s job to help boost employee engagement, but more so for the “internal” team. This team consists of HR and anyone whose job it is to do the backend work of a company or the administration of the core employees. This team is responsible for helping create a workplace where people want to come in and do their best. This can be achieved through creating processes that enable employees to do their best work, providing better support for all staff, and even creating clubs to help bring people together.

The Importance Of Employee Engagement

Performance. Employee engagement helps drive performance levels. If your company wants to raise the performance levels of its employees, employee engagement is the key. Having high-level staff is going to play a factor in being able to quickly raise performance, but having them engaged is that “secret ingredient” that keeps that performance from faltering.

Any business that has problems with absenteeism, attrition, communication, or late submissions would benefit from a higher level of employee engagement. In fact, you can tell a business has worked on this if all of these metrics drop and you see a rise in productivity and profitability.

Raising Employee Engagement

First and foremost, having proper communication is key. Managers should always be up-to-date with their staff. Equally as important, is making sure that everyone knows their purpose and how they fit into the company, essentially the “why” of their job. Employees are not soldiers, you shouldn’t just be barking orders at them and expect them to follow them happily. Knowing why a task is so important to the company’s goals and that each employee is crucial to the success of the team as a whole, will drive performance levels up. It essentially humanizes the work they do, making it easier for people to stand behind.

Aside from the engagement employees should have with their direct manager or team leader, they should also be aware of the organization’s presence. Now, an organization doesn’t consist of a sole person, so what does this mean? Some people view the organization as the whole internal team, meaning everyone in upper management, HR, and the company culture. Another way people view the organization is purely by the upper management. Boosting the engagement of this group of people and the rank and file staff is relatively easy in theory but hard to do consistently.

A simple way “the organization” can interact with the staff on a regular basis is to talk to them. This is easiest with dedicated employee relations officers, but can be done by anyone. For upper management, this may be more difficult as their jobs tend to get in the way of being able to have watercooler-style chats with staff. An alternative to this would be to regularly engage with the staff in work chat applications. Being online and interacting with staff on Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc, is another way to show their presence. Participation in live events is another great way to have employees see upper management, effectively showing that they exist and aren’t above everyone else.

Clubs and other groups are an easy way to engage with more people in the company. It can effectively connect anyone, given that they have the same interests. Having something like a bicycle club may connect someone like the president of the club with a data entry specialist. Clubs offer a place where everyone is on common ground and non-work topics can be talked about. The biggest benefit to company clubs is that it creates a stress-free environment for people to bond, where job titles don’t hold any real sort of merit.

The Wrap Up

Employee engagement is important to the healthy growth of a company. Whether some companies know it by this name, or instinctively do it without knowing the term, ultimately doesn’t matter. The end result of having employees that are productive, higher retention rates, and an added benefit for recruitment, is the positive reviews that happen by word of mouth to the friends and family of current employees.