Why is Employee Engagement Important at the Workplace?
Engaged employees are the best employees, but achieving employee engagement is no small task and it’s only become more challenging in recent years. Employee engagement is difficult these days, in part because many are now hyper-connected technology natives who expect more from their jobs. As well as increased expectations, many businesses still don’t seem to be utilising the available resources to focus on the employee experience rather than just HR efficiencies. This is creating an ever-increasing gap between what employees want and need, and what today’s businesses are delivering. The engagement gap. Today, it’s important for companies to focus on how to improve employee engagement at work.
Why Employee Engagement Matters
Employee Engagement is fast becoming the most important objective for HR professionals. When we speak about delivering a superior employee experience, we’re really speaking about delivering an engaging employee experience. Employees that are engaged are motivated and usually happier. They are also more likely to be interacting with your company and achieving the goals or behaviours that you have defined as necessary for meeting overall business objectives.
For example, if your objective is to increase sales by a certain amount in five years, how are you going to do that? Do you need to develop other skills and new leadership roles? Do you need your teams to increase production or complete more projects? Then you need employees to be engaged; engaged with your development programs, engaged with their teams and the work they do, and engaged with your business.
Improving employee engagement is also vital to reducing turnover and keeping top talent. Employees need to be engaged just as much as you need them to be. Without the right motivation such as career opportunities or performance feedback, they’ll find another job that can offer these opportunities.
Fortunately, there are some relatively easy ways to start improving engagement if you have the right tools. Take a look at these top four strategies to improve employee engagement today:
#1 Prioritise frequent, ongoing feedback and coaching
Since the dawn of modern work, the annual appraisal has been the preferred choice of feedback in most companies. The format this took and how performance was measured has been long debated, but it is not until recently that the frequency has come under scrutiny. Since experimenting with continuous forms of feedback including increasing the number of appraisals in a year and even introducing spot-feedback as and when performance stands out, it has become apparent that the annual review is no longer cutting it.
Not only has research shown that ongoing feedback can improve performance, but the majority of employees have been shown to prefer a continuous feedback format as well. Feedback that is more regular, whether it’s praise or constructive criticism, has the added benefit of directly engaging employees in their own performance and progress. This can make the feedback itself much more effective.
To introduce this type of feedback in your business, provide management with the tools they need to do so and make sure you emphasise the importance of this new direction. Aligning business and team goals with consistent and accurate performance measurement should form the foundation of your feedback strategy so that managers can identify the performance that matters in the same way across the entire company. Managers should then be able to identify when an employee meets their targets or achieves specific business goals and provide feedback in real-time rather than waiting for the next review.
#2 Provide development and succession opportunities
Learning and development opportunities are a huge draw for employees and is often the main reason for deciding whether to take a job or stay with a company. Development opportunities are also directly engaging for employees and are actively motivating. The best thing about internal growth opportunities is that they benefit everyone; as well as providing a great employee experience, internal growth is the most cost-effective and often easiest way to fill the skilled roles that your business needs. Combined with an effective succession strategy, you can continually develop and nurture top talent into the future leaders you need and always have a strong talent pool to draw from internally when vacancies arise.
Investing in an HR solution that can give you a clear overview of your workforce and their current roles and skills should serve as the foundation of your learning strategy. This enables you to identify your top performers and look at roles and skills that would make a natural progression into the other skilled areas you need. You can then create development programs to nurture new and existing skills in line with long-term business goals.
Learning opportunities should also form the bedrock of your succession strategy. Giving high-potential employees the opportunity to work directly with other leaders and in cross-functional teams gives them the versatile exposure and experience they need to take on future leadership roles.
#3 Introduce superior benefits and compensation
Employee expectations are higher than ever before. Whereas traditionally it was nearly impossible to get the budget to reward top performers, today’s highly mobile workforce has more power than ever. Specialist skills are also hard to come by, and businesses have started to see that paying for these employees can see an even higher return. With businesses increasingly more likely to pay and reward for sought-after talent, these employees continue to wield even more power. They can, and do, leave for bigger and better deals else well. Offering superior benefits and compensation is no longer just about keeping employees motivated and engaged, it’s about keeping them at all.
When it comes to benefits and rewards it’s time to look beyond the annual bonus. Just as performance management is changing, so too are compensation strategies. Spot rewards are beginning to tie in with ongoing feedback strategies and lets management take control of their own budgets to reward top performers as and when they achieve specific goals or demonstrate certain behaviours in line with business objectives.
Additionally, businesses are getting creative with their benefits. From stock-options to paw-ternity leave for employees to take time off when they get a new puppy, the competition is on to attract increasingly picky top talent. Research is key here to look at the standard in your industry and competitor offerings, but don’t forget that your company culture and attracting employees that fit best for your specific business is just as important. Don’t just offer something because your competitor is; take a look at what matters to your business and create a benefits package that can compete with others in the industry while reflecting your company values.
#4 Encourage employee connection and collaboration
What could be more engaging than collaboration? Both formal and informal connection is one of the best ways to improve employee engagement but collaboration and connection is becoming increasingly more difficult. Our workforce is changing with more contingent workers including freelancers as well as remote workers from across the globe. Driving connection and encouraging collaboration in a modern workforce can be a challenge, but is vital to engaging not just the workers in the office but those that you rely on outside of the office even temporarily to get projects completed on time.
Fortunately, there is a modern solution to this modern problem. For employees that not only work away from the office but are often working across devices including mobile, cloud HRMS solutions can help you connect employees no matter where they are or on what device they’re working on. Social software platforms that integrate into your existing processes empowers employees to communicate in real-time, sharing ideas and documents along the way to work better or simply just to connect with one another. Create spaces for teams, departments or even social groups to help encourage a connected company culture. Not only is this highly engaging for employees, but it also means work gets done more efficiently and to a higher standard with innovation often a by-product of a great collaboration.
Engage Your Employees
Are you ready to improve employee engagement at your workplace? As one of the world’s most powerful HRMS solutions, SuccessFactors has all the tools and functionality you could need to engage your workforce at every step of the employee experience. From creating tailored development programs to personalised career paths and spaces for collaboration, the SuccessFactors suite provides unique capabilities, efficient automated HR processes and intuitive easy-to-use functions for both HR teams and employees. To find out more, contact our team or book your free demo to see it in action.