What is Employee Engagement?
Employees who are highly engaged tend not only to be happier and more satisfied, but are also more likely to drive productivity and innovation. This article explains what ‘employee engagement’ is, its connection to motivation, wellbeing and other aspects of working life and gives some ideas as to how employers can help build successful employee engagement.
What is Employee Engagement?
While most employers associate employee engagement with communication and financial incentives, these aspects make up only a small part of what is involved. In order to improve levels of engagement employers should actually aim to ensure that employees feel commitment to, not only their employer, but also their role, their colleagues and their employer’s core values and goals.
In essence, employee engagement underpins the emotional commitment an employee feels toward their employer and its goals.
Engagement can be advanced through a variety of mechanisms, including:
- active listening;
- effective communication;
- recognition and reward;
- continuous professional development and training;
- good quality leadership; and
- the provision of a safe working environment.
Employees who feel more connected with their employer tend to have higher performance levels and usually ‘go above and beyond’ what is expected of them. That said, overbearing or excessive management can lead to employees feeling micromanaged and suffocated, resulting in them believing that their employer doesn’t trust them to carry out their duties. It is therefore vital to strike a balance on both sides.
Measuring Employee Engagement
Depending on the size of your business, there are a few ways to measure staff engagement:
- Survey Providers: An employee engagement survey will measure how engaged employees are by surveying an employer’s staff and asking them questions about the employer. Generally, the survey provider will work closely with the employer to understand the aims of the survey in order to identify the best questions to include. The survey provider will then analyse the results and report back to the employer on their findings. These types of survey are typically undertaken on an annual basis.
- In-House Data Analytics: In-house data analytics is the most common method used to measure employee engagement and is typically used by employers who wish to create their own set of questions and analyse the results themselves. Generally, an employer will be assisted by their Human Resources (HR) department to identify trends such as absence, employee turnover and low performance rates which in turn will identify the best questions to include. The employer and HR department will then analyse the results to identify what the employer does well and where it could improve, incorporating any required improvements into its business plan.
Employers who like to measure employee engagement on a more regular basis may wish to consider implementing monthly one-to-one reviews, as well as exit interviews. Such steps can help an employer determine its strongest and weakest areas of employee engagement.
Improving Employee Engagement
Where a gap is identified within employee engagement, employers are encouraged to take steps to improve the same. The following areas have been identified as being most effective for enhancing engagement:
- Effective communication and active listening.
- Employee health and wellbeing.
- Evaluation and review.
- Core values (to be understood by both employer and employee).
- Personal development.
During these unprecedented and unpredictable times, maintaining communication is more important than ever. Doing so not only maintains a level of understanding in respect of an employee’s health and wellbeing, but also ensures employees are aware of any business developments and essential updates which, in turn, contributes to the employee feeling part of a ‘team’.
www.gatekeeperhr.co.uk is Rix & Kay’s fixed cost, employment law and HR retainer service. GatekeeperHR provides businesses with access to a dedicated team of experienced lawyers and HR professionals who you can speak to, or meet face-to-face, at any time. The service includes as standard, a full HR compliance audit for your business access to a dedicated online portal of valuable employment law and HR resources.