What is Employee Engagement?
Learn the definitions, characteristics and best practices around employee engagement
We talk a lot about employee engagement but do we really understand what it looks like? What are some telltale signs that en employee is engaged? What behaviors, attitudes, and actions help us visualize employee engagement?
Engaged employees are fully involved and enthusiastic about their work and company leading to positive business outcomes including:
What are some of the characteristics and behaviors of an engaged employee versus those of an unengaged one?
Sunday 5 p.m. – Outlines and maps out workweek. Jots down a few ideas for a new blog.
Monday 6:30 a.m. – Inspired by an idea while showering. Knows she is empowered to develop an idea into an action item with high likelihood of meaningful accomplishment
Monday 9 a.m. – Short weekly check-in with manager to discuss week ahead, obstacles, and desired outcomes. Also discusses new idea she came up with over the weekend. Manager recognizes her for the idea and encourages her to go for it.
Tuesday 10:00 a.m. – Attends a one-hour training session and walks away with a new way to complete a particular task more efficiently.
Tuesday 12:30 p.m. Lunch with co-worker
Wednesday 4 p.m. – Works efficiently with access to tools to get the job done. Finishes up RFP without any frustrations over material or work-related tools like proper software, Internet access, or printer malfunctions.
Thursday 3 p.m. – Pulls together team of peers to brainstorm on new initiative. Her enthusiasm inspires a few of her co-workers to join in on the project and take on some of the tasks.
Friday 12:30 – Team lunch. She is called out by manager for great work. Peer talks about Thursday’s brainstorming session and shares enthusiasm for project with larger team.
Saturday 8:00 p.m. – Chatting with new friends at a dinner party and talks about her company with enthusiasm. One friend asks for her business card and they connect on Linkedin.
1) Driven by leadership
Employee engagement programs are most effective when the CEO and senior management are 100% behind employee engagement and lead by example. Employees are much more likely to model the desired behaviors when they see their own managers living and breathing employee engagement.
2) Accessible (web and mobile)
Making employee engagement easy to access anywhere and anytime boosts likelihood of employees actually “engaging” with the engagement program.
3) Approachable (easy and fun to use)
Consistent with accessibility, an employee engagement program will have a greater success rate when it’s not overly complicated and actually fun to use.
4) Encourages frequent actions and high-levels of end-user activity
Employees will participate often if you make it easy for them.
5) Empowers employees to make decisions and participate in the program
Why not ask employees what they think contributed to happiness at work and higher levels of engagement? Including employee, company culture, vision and values into an employee engagement program ensures a sense of ownership from all stakeholders.
6) Reward for high performance
It’s important to recognize and reward top performers even if you don’t think they need or want it. One of the top requests by employees is for more recognition.
7) Transparency and communication
It’s vital that your engagement program is clearly defined and communicated to employees with frequent updates. While you’re at it, why not share engagement metrics and how the company is performing against the set employee engagement goals.
8) Includes regular feedback
Studies show that managers feel like they give consistent recognition and feedback but in actuality they don’t give enough.
9) Tied to unique organizational culture, values and employee interests
Employees feel a sense of ownership and pride in employee engagement efforts when they are asked to help create and empowered to participate in the program. Take your company culture, values and specific wants of the employees into consideration.
10) Includes rewards linked to positive behaviors and actions
Rewards don’t have to be overly complicated and in many cases can be free. Linking rewards to positive feedback is an easy way to increase overall engagement. Here’s an example of 25 fun and effective employee rewards that work.
11) Investment that shows measurable outcomes linking to ROI
How do you know if your engagement efforts are paying off? Studies show a positive correlation between Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For and higher stock prices. Measuring KPI’s like retention, absenteeism, productivity, and financial performance each quarter is a great way to measure the ROI of employee engagement.