91% of highly engaged employees always or almost always try their hardest at work, compared with 67% of disengaged employees (Temkin Group)
If you didn’t understand why engagement is so important, here’s one number that can sum it up: nearly all highly engaged employees give you their best. That’s what you want, isn’t it? Not someone who just checks the boxes and clocks out at the end of the day, but instead someone who goes above and beyond — and aspires to keep becoming better.
Organizations that have over 50% engagement retain over 80% of their customers (Demand Metric)
When engaged employees are more likely to do their best at work, it’s no surprise that the result is happier customers. This is true not only for people who work directly with clients, such as customer service representatives, but also those who design, build, and market your products. When employees care about the quality they deliver, customers will notice and stick around.
It's clear that engagement is important, so now we need to understand what workers need in order to get there. Let's take a look at what employees want most in the workplace (and no, it's not nap pods):
We analyzed the thousands of responses we’ve received, and we’ve pulled out seven factors that are tied very closely to employee happiness.
1. Feeling valued at work
Not surprising, right? Who feels good when they’re unappreciated? Unfortunately, only 21% of employees feel strongly valued at work, so we’ve got a lot of work to do.
Companies should express their excitement to have each and every employee. Each one brings unique experience and skills that matter to your mission. Make sure to clearly communicate an employee’s job duties and why they’re important for the organization as a whole.
Great leaders need a game plan for boosting engagement. Here are three essential areas to focus on:
You can’t start an employee engagement survey before you plan your next step. Not exactly, of course — you don’t know what the responses will say yet! But you need to know how you will process the feedback and figure out how to respond to it.
Without this preparation, you actually run the risk of your survey making things worse.
But with all this focus on making engaging employees and making them happy, we have to be careful not to make the mistake of trying to force your workforce to be happy. It'll hurt more than help:
Psychological research at the University of Frankfurt am Main has shown that “faking it” or pretending to be happy at work can actually cause drastic health problems, from depression to cardiovascular issues.
You can have as many one-off parties as you can afford, but building true employee happiness means embedding it into every aspect of your culture. Build a company culture that employees will be happy to work in.
In-Depth Reading: Research Report
If you've got time for some more advanced study, then check out this year's Employee Engagement Report. You'll find the major trends dominating the workplace, plus our predictions for engagement in 2016.
One of our favorite questions to ask is “How likely would you be to leave for a 10% raise?” After all, if employees are truly satisfied on the job, even a nice raise shouldn’t be enough to tempt them to join the devil they don’t know.
Turns out, almost a quarter of all employees are willing to leave for a 10% raise. That means one out of every four team members you have would leave if your competitor gave them a better offer.
1-Hour Viewing: Webinar
If you're more of an auditory learner, download our webinar to hear about why engagement matters, and what companies need to do about it: