Engaged employees are considerably more productive than their disengaged peers. That being the case, you’d think that every organization would develop programs solely to increase engagement.
You’d be wrong.
As Gallup reports, only 32% of US workers are engaged with their jobs. For organizations that wish to continue growing, this is a very serious problem.
Whether you’re a self-proclaimed expert or it’s your first time studying up on the topic, here are five things you may not know about employee engagement:
01. Engagement does not work the same way for every employee
You may be tempted to treat employee engagement as a one-size-fits-all kind of issue. But your employees are all motivated by different things. Someone might love the ability to work from home and make their own schedule, while someone else might be engaged by your company’s commitment to the community. Yet another person might be engaged because they are able to bring their dog to the office once a week. Different strokes for different folks.
The easiest way to create an employee engagement program that works for your team is by soliciting their ideas and feedback directly. Pulsing surveys provide the perfect platform to do precisely that.
02. Engagement is an investment — not an expense
Many companies with engagement programs pour lots of money into them. There’s Full Contact, for example, which pays its workers $7,500 to take paid vacations with the caveat being they have to travel somewhere and they can’t do any work whatsoever. (Yes, you read that correctly. They pay $7,500 on top of the employee’s normal salary.)
Of course, not every company can afford to fork over that much cash. But that doesn’t mean you need to keep the purse completely closed either. Stop thinking about engagement as an expense and start thinking about it as an investment. Engagement programs help your employees become better workers who are more committed to the company — and therefore produce (and care) more.
03. Engagement improves retention
You’ve almost certainly had a job you didn’t like at some point in your life. After a while, you were ready to hop on the very next opportunity that came your way — even if you weren’t particularly interested in it — just for a change of scenery. When employees are engaged, on the other hand, they love the work they do, which means they’re much likelier to stick around. That’s important, if for no other reason than it costs a lot of money to hire new workers.
04. Engagement is not the same thing as happiness
It’s not possible for an unhappy employee to be engaged with their work. But that doesn’t mean that happy employees are definitely engaged either. Just think about the worker who treats the office as a place to socialize. Or the employee who makes a game out of doing the least work possible while still keeping their job. Yes, you should strive to create an environment that’s conducive to employee happiness. But you need to be aware of the fact that happy employees are not necessarily engaged.
05. Engagement matters for managers too
Yes, it’s called “employee engagement.” But managers are employees too — never forget that. According to Gallup, only 35% of managers are engaged with the work they do. Gallup has also reported that managers are responsible for 70% of the variance in employee engagement. When managers are engaged, their employees are much likelier to follow suit. When designing your employee engagement program, don’t forget about your managers. Support their development and ask them what would make their jobs better too.
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