The number one question I get from CEOs and business owners is; “Does Employee Engagement Really Matter?”
Employee engagement has been a big focus in recent years, and it is more important than ever. Employers have learned, slowly but surely, that when your team members have an emotional investment in the company, they’re going to do better work. So, working to build engagement isn’t just about keeping peace or making your people happy; it has a real, bottom-line impact.
I would like to share with you a few ways in which you can actually measure the results of employee engagement.
Where Does Employee Engagement Matter Most?
An invested and engaged workforce will outperform a workforce that’s lackadaisical or unmotivated—all the time. Study after study confirms that, when you engage your employees, you get more high-quality work out of them, not less.
Employees who are engaged with their jobs are less likely to leave for greener pastures. The benefit is that it saves you the cost of recruiting and onboarding new people.
Workplace happiness isn’t just some pie-in-the-sky ideal. High morale has been linked to both productivity and retention. While employees who are unhappy are more likely to do sloppy work or to look for new opportunities elsewhere.
Engagement can manifest as creativity. Think of some of the great tech breakthroughs of the last decade. How many of them do you think were engineered by people who were bored and unengaged?
Employees who are engaged are more likely to communicate clearly and proactively with their colleagues. Again, it just makes sense, right?
Employees who are engaged in what they do, and who feel happy at work, will be more likely to recommend the company to others. This can really help with recruitment of new team members.
Employee engagement and its results can really be tracked and that makes it something worth investing in.
A Comprehensive Approach to Employee Engagement
Many of the business leaders I know view employee engagement in terms of a program, or perhaps a campaign. The best way to consider employee engagement isn’t as a one-off, but as something you weave into the culture of the organization. In other words, I’m recommending a comprehensive approach.
But what does that look like in actual practice? Here are four practical steps to consider when taking a comprehensive approach to employee engagement:
Four Ways to Pursue a Comprehensive Employee Engagement
1. Invest in training for your leaders and managers.
Employee engagement starts at the top; if you want your employees to feel like they have a real stake in the company’s future, that’s something managers must actively cultivate. For some managers, which will require a whole new understanding of employee communication, delegation, and team building. Invest in some training and coaching, helping your leaders develop those critical skills. This will, in turn, permeate everything else you do in your business.
2. Make communication a top priority.
Communication should be rich and frequent! And this ultimately boils down to developing the right habits. As the leader, it falls to you to set the tone for communication—regularly rounding, checking in with employees, and asking for their feedback. You shouldn’t only talk with employees once a year, at their annual review. Invest in regular assessments to help your employees track their progress.
3. Provide training opportunities for your employees.
Your team members should constantly be learning, growing, and developing new skills. That means providing plenty of training opportunities within your business. Let them know that you’ve made an investment in their professional development. This is one of the proven methods of keeping employees engaged!
4. Be clear in setting expectations.
Employee engagement flourishes when all your team members know what they’re supposed to be accomplishing together—and that means regularly communicating the big-picture goals and vision of your company and explaining to each employee how they fit into that big picture.
Creating a Culture of Engagement
Employee engagement won’t happen by accident. It’s something you need to tackle holistically, and these four steps will point you in the right direction.
As a result of taking this approach to employee engagement you will have a better chance of preventing employee burnout.
How Employee Engagement Staves Off Burnout
Everybody knows that you have to work hard if you want to be successful. Even hard work has its limits. You can push yourself too far without breaks and end up with a bad case of burnout. That means all your hard work may actually wind up being counterproductive.
Many of my best executive coaching clients first goal is to achieve some balance in their lives, and to prevent burnout as best they can. I tell them that the first step towards preventing burnout is understanding what really causes it. So let’s take a quick look at some of the science behind burning out.
The Underlying Cause of Burnout
Psych Central just published a new report that’s illuminating. All of us have unconscious needs. We have physical, mental, and emotional ones and we also have demands within our professional lives. According to the Psych Central article, burnout comes when there is a mismatch between the needs and the demands.
“For example, burnout may happen to an outgoing accountant who seeks to make new friendships but whose job offers little opportunity to do so. It might happen to a manager who does not enjoy taking center-stage or being in a leadership role. ” Psych Central says. “In both of these examples, there is a mismatch between the employees’ individual needs and the requirements on the job.”
Real Life Implications of Burnout
So what does this really tell us about burnout? On one level, it’s pretty simple. You have certain needs in order to be truly motivated and energized, and to resist burnout your daily responsibilities must meet those needs. A good place to start is with a self-inventory.
Admittedly, this is where things get a little more complicated, but it’s still worthwhile to ask yourself the following questions:
What motivates you? Think through the tasks or responsibilities that leave you feeling the most pumped up—the most energized.
Which daily activities or responsibilities seem to drain you the most? These are likely going to be the things you dread the most.
How emotionally satisfied does your job really leave you? Do you think a change of position is needed to have a truly satisfying work life?
Think also of your employees. How well are their personality types and internal motivations paired with their responsibilities? If your team is generally low on motivation or on energy, it could be because you’ve given everyone ill-fitting roles.
According to the article, “interventions that prevent or repair such mismatches could increase well-being at work and reduce the risk of burnout.” So even if your needs and your daily demands are not well-matched, there’s still time for you to take action and be proactive against burnout!
How Leaders Can Prevent Employee Burnout
Additionally, let me recommend three specific ways to help your employees stay engaged rather than burned out.
1. Give your employees someone they can talk to.
Employees who feel alone are more likely to struggle with burnout. Create small discussion groups in your company to help employees feel connected to one another, and to a broader sense of community. Make sure these discussion group are true safe spaces where anything can be said.
2. Don’t neglect the little things.
Encouraging employees to go for a quick walk around the building, allowing them to cut out an hour early on Friday, offering an afternoon to decorate the office for the holidays—these little things add up, and help stressed employees to feel a little bit more appreciated.
3. Keep the focus on productivity.
Things like how many hours your employees spend at the office don’t really matter; these aren’t meaningful metrics. Instead, focus on how much they are accomplishing toward your broader goals and objectives. Again, emphasize the big picture, and how each employee fits within it.
Burnout Can Be Beat
As an executive coach, I see burnout all the time and I also see team leaders beating it, reinvigorating and re-engaging their teams.
As you can see employee engagement has so many benefits that it just can’t be ignored including increasing prodcutivity,employee engagement and retention. Avoiding employee burnout is another big bonus!
If you’re ready to implement your own employee engagement program like some help reach out to us firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 888-267-6098 to set up a complimentary 15 minute consultation to see how we can help.