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The Importance of Boosting Employee Engagement

spacex-launch-melbourne-causeway-bridge-doughty-0522Even if you offer competitive salaries and top-of-the-line benefits, your company may still struggle to retain its best employees. Ultimately, these efforts can fail if you have low levels of employee engagement. Lack of engagement can lead to turnover, which strains your staff and harms overall productivity. Gallup research has indicated workers’ emotional connection to their employers is diminishing, and Deloitte discovered only 17 percent of managers think they have an exciting and engaging employment brand, according to Entrepreneur magazine. 

It’s clear that engagement makes a difference in retention. In competitive industries and job markets, employers can’t afford to constantly recruit key hires.

Why Engagement Makes a Difference
A recent report from Tiny Pulse found not all industries are created equally. The happiest business sectors were construction, consumer products and technology and software. Even though the top three industries vary significantly from each other, many of the reasons why employees enjoyed their work were the same. Thirty-four percent of workers said their colleagues were what made them love their jobs. Twenty percent reported fulfillment from their responsibilities drives workplace satisfaction. Positive working environments and project variety also boosted satisfaction.

The study revealed that the factors that lead to workplace dissatisfaction are similar across different industries as well. Unsupportive direct supervisors, a lack of growth opportunities and not having the right tools to succeed were the major detriments to employee happiness.

In addition, Gallup research found that employee engagement translates to a healthier workforce. At one highly engaged company Gallup studied, employees had 8 percent fewer unhealthy days than average over a six-month period. However, workplaces with high engagement and good well-being had 38 percent fewer unhealthy days in the same period. Businesses that prioritize well-being can gain an advantage and cut down on absenteeism. When team members miss a high number of days, it puts a great deal of stress on other employees who have to pick up the slack. Absenteeism can further drag down lackluster productivity. You don’t have to operate in the construction industry to enjoy the benefits of a more engaged workforce. Focusing on these key drivers of engagement can make a big difference in your office. Considering engagement has a role in workplace productivity and employee retention, you need to implement stronger engagement programs. Salaries and competitive benefits are no longer enough to keep your top hires.

How Can You Improve Engagement?
Employee engagement is a multi-pronged issue, so you need to consider where your specific issues are. Do you offer enough advancement opportunities for key hires? What about management development for team supervisors? Has productivity been declining for the past few months? The Gallup research indicated that improving office well-being has a positive impact on productivity by reducing sick days. Well-being removes obstacles to productivity.

What goes into workplace well-being? Some of the elements are closely related to employee engagement as well. Gallup defines well-being as purpose, social, financial, community and physical health. Do workers like what they do? Are they motivated to achieve project goals? Do they have supportive relationships with coworkers? Even if you identify the main issue with engagement or well-being, Gallup notes that a quick fix usually doesn’t lead to lasting results. A benefits workshop typically isn’t effective. Additionally, an annual employee engagement survey may be more trouble than it’s worth. If executives are already aware of the problem, survey results typically just confirm what they know.

Companies need to ask for constructive feedback, Entrepreneur suggested. A significant decrease in productivity is usually indicative that something is not quite right. Ask specific questions about what employees like about their jobs currently and which things they have enjoyed working on in the past. Have any major changes impacted the individual’s daily responsibilities? Because relationships with managers have a huge bearing on employee engagement, it may be a good idea to ask employees to review their teammates. This can help you identify people’s individual strengths and find any problems on a team.

Opening the door for honest communication makes employees feel their contributions are more valued. Showing workers that you care about their opinions can enhance the people operations mindset within your organization.

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