In recent years businesses have taken a greater interest in their employee’s wellbeing, overall satisfaction levels, and engagement.
There has been an evolution in the way that companies now think about their staff and the value they place on ‘human capital’ – the driving force behind their businesses.
Employee engagement is often spoken about as integral for the long-term health of any business. But what is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is a term used to describe the emotional connection and commitment the employee has to the organization they work for, and it’s wider goals and way of working.
Motivation is also a key factor within engagement; motivation is generally lower in employees who have low engagement.
Many companies talk about employee engagement and may have goals and processes to help drive it. But what are the real, tangible benefits of employee engagement? Are there benefits that can truly impact the bottom line and success of a business?
Let’s take a look at some of the ways that employee engagement can drive business growth.
The importance of employee engagement
A recent Gallup study found that “engaged employees are more present and productive; they are more attuned to the needs of customers; and they are more observant of processes, standards and systems.” The same study found that engaged employees were 41% less likely to be long-term absentees.
In terms of work quality, according to the Harvard Business Review, engaged organizations have double the rate of success compared to less engaged organizations.
Talent Culture has even been able to assign a monetary value to increased employee engagement. They claim that by increasing investment into employee engagement by as little as 10%, company profits can increase by up to $2,400 per employee per year.
More engaged employees are less likely to leave the company quickly and as such, businesses can save money by retaining their top talent, which will dramatically lower hiring costs.
To this end, more engaged employees are also more likely to refer friends and family to the company which can attract the best talent whilst still keeping hiring spend low.
How can we make employees more engaged?
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses across the globe to rethink a lot of activities that used to be the norm for their business.
Now that the majority of businesses have adopted a hybrid working approach – this is one where many people will work from home most of the time – so it is even more important to put processes in place that will help build employee engagement.
Many employees may be lonely and feel isolated. According to the Buffer’s 2021 State of Remote Work Report, up to 27% of those surveyed said they struggled with “not being able to switch off” and a further 17% said they struggled with loneliness whilst working from home.
Considering these worrying statistics, there is a huge opportunity (and necessity) for companies to think about new processes and practices that can be established to help connect teams and make employees feel connected, heard and valued, even when they are distributed.
An office football table and a few slices of pizza and beers on a Friday is no longer enough (if it ever was) to keep employees feeling engaged and valued.
Most managers recognize that employee engagement is extremely important to the success of their overall business (71% according to Harvard Business Review). But despite this, the majority of employees still remain disengaged at work.
The Engagement Institute conducted extensive research on this topic and found that disengaged employees cost US companies up to $550 billion per year.
Making sure staff feel heard and have a safe outlet to be able to speak openly and honestly about their experiences at work, is therefore integral.
According to Forbes, employees who feel heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.
Tech tools such as bots can help facilitate this by sharing regular surveys and check-ins with staff as well as promoting internal wellness schemes that can help foster a feeling of being valued and supported.
Promoting staff wellness can also have a greater impact in engagement.
Wellness and mental health has become even more important as a result of the impact of the pandemic, the majority of people will have experienced stress and anxiety at one point or another or may still be experiencing it profoundly.
Engagement and the “Great Resignation”
Many employees have been leaving jobs which they do not feel support them enough or help them strike an appropriate ‘work-life balance’ in what is being termed the ‘Great Resignation‘.
Therefore, it is more important than ever that companies start actively participating in supporting the mental health and wellness of their staff if they are to avoid losing key talent en masse like we are currently seeing in the US and Europe.
One thing is certain, companies need to begin working on effective processes to keep staff engaged and happy today or their business will feel the impact tomorrow.
There are a myriad of challenges that businesses are facing at this time; supply chain issues and increasing emergency events related to extreme weather are just a few examples.
Now is not the time to take your eyes off the ball and ignore the lifeblood of your businesses: it’s people.