Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder of Bersin and Deloitte stated on Forbes that the word engagement is rather limiting the extent of executing employee engagement as it makes people assume that the job of the employer is to stimulate rather than “to build an organisation that is exciting, fulfilling, meaningful and fun.” So who then is an engaged employee?: An engaged employee is someone that is wholly involved in, and enthusiastic about the work they're in. The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) suggests that engaged employees should show: a belief in the organisation, a desire to work and make things better, an understanding of the business context and the big picture, a person respectful and helpful to employees, a willingness to go the extra-mile and also keeping up to date with developments in their respective fields. In his book, Getting Engaged: The New Workplace Loyalty, author Tim Rutledge explains that "truly engaged employees are attracted to, and inspired by, their work" (“I want to do this”), committed (“I am dedicated to the success of what I am doing”), and fascinated (“I love what I am doing”).
Hiring and keeping the best people in your organisation is a rather tasking job. In the US alone, research shows that 70% of workers are not engaged at work. Sadly 89% of employers think that people leave for more money; in actuality only 12% of employees do leave for more money. 75% of people leaving jobs don't quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. Studies found that highly engaged employees were 87% less likely to leave their companies than their disengaged counterparts.
Some managers have a rather authoritarian style of management. This is the idea that in order to keep employees working for you - you intimidate them by telling them about the high unemployment rate and also how you can get someone off the street to do a better job at half the price. This style of management shows a rather complete and utter disrespect to employees and causes employees to be uninspired, demotivated and lacklustre. Some employers like this, as they build up insecurities in these employees and in turn keep them in their organisation for as long as they are useful. This is a rather pathetic management style that does not allow the employees be creative, innovative and intelligent. The idea that if employees were engaged and inspired, they would leave shows a rather insecure employer who is afraid of empowering employees with the right salary, perks and environment to nurture them to put out their best work.
On the other hand, if your employees are well paid, work well and are satisfied, why should you have to go a step further to make them engaged? Let’s look at the advantage an engaged employee has over a satisfied employee; A satisfied employee is one whose basic needs have been met with accordance to Maslow’s base hierarchy of needs (for example, salary and perks). These employees are good to come in to work and wait for their monthly salaries, but the employers receive nothing more than just the basic job requirements being fulfilled. In contrast, engaged employees care very much about their work and are very enthusiastic about their employer’s goals and objectives. They work harder, may come in an hour before their actual start time and stay later than their closing time. As a result, they put out better work, go the extra mile and ultimately push the organisation to attaining greater heights.
In the US, Only 40% of the workforce on average - know about their company’s goals, strategies and tactics. Shockingly 90% of leaders think an “engagement strategy” have an impact on business success but barely 25% of them have a strategy. 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback once a week compared with just 18% of employees with low engagement.
Companies with engaged employees get 2.5%more revenue when compared with their competitors with low-level of engagement. A study of 64 organisations also revealed that organisations with highly engaged employees achieve twice the annual net income of organisations whose employees lag behind on engagement. On another research conducted by GALLUP Inc - a US firm committed to consultancy research showed that unengaged employees is costing the US economy an estimate of around $350billion - 450billion annually.
Following all these financial implication, how can employers go about engaging employees? Here are 4Cs to show you how to engage employees.
Clarity: Employees have to be shown a clear objective of the organisation’s goals and aspirations. They also have to be shown in simple terms, their own responsibilities and how their responsibilities and daily duties help the organisation attain her overall goal.
Connection: Great leaders connect with their employees. To have motivated and inspired employees, you need to listen to them, find out what challenges their day-to-day duties. This allows your employees feel like a valued part of your organisation. Listening to your employees also shows gratitude. It allows you as a leader to also get a holistic view of your organisation.
Congratulate: Not enough can be said about congratulating employees for a job well done. Contrary to popular opinion - gratitude to employees does not always have to involve money; a hand-written thank you note that an employee can show off on their desk adds a lot more “ginger” to your team than mere bonuses can do. A certificate for the best contributor of the month, a congratulatory handshake in front of other colleagues at a staff meeting or a day off with pay for an employee who has gone the extra mile are
some of the things you can do to engage your employees and stimulate them to greater attainments.
Contribute: Many managers see training and development as a luxury. While good managers know that people development is essential for successful teams, many don't take the time to understand their team members' individual needs. Only by doing this can you ensure that your people have the skills and knowledge they need to perform well and meet your organisation’s objectives. However, how do you know who needs what training? And, how do you avoid wasting time and money on unnecessary training activities? Engagement! Clarify, Connect, Congratulate, Contribute.