7 steps for companies to assure high employee engagement at workplace
Employees from long have been believed to be the sole reason for a constantly developing organization. However, according to the State of the Global Workplace report by Gallup, only 15% of the employees are engaged in a profitable way. It means a mere 15% contributes towards the success of the company, while others are just serving the formalities. Well, this does not imply, that the rest should be fired, rather they need to be converted into the engaged ones.
Also, employee engagement defined by Gallup is the percentage to which employees are fully devoted or happy getting associated with the tasks of the office. Obviously to achieve a high percentage of engaged employees is not a cakewalk at all! It needs rearrangement of resources and their right allocation from the very beginning of the hiring process.
To make it easier at the implementation level, the following paper provides deep-down information on the myths, concepts and conversion strategies to produce a higher percentage of engaged employees in an organization. These are meant to provide an insight into the various changes that the employer should make in his attitude and perception to witness more employee engagement at the workplace.
First and foremost this article will highlight the myths that most employers commonly have. The list constitutes of the four general and most popular myths that are prevalent in the employment industry and which are seen practised by a large number of bosses around the world.
Four popular myths that employers have
Employees need to be motivated
This is the most common myth which says that employees need to be motivated to work due to which a number of managers across the world keep giving motivational speeches to their employees to invent their motivational being. However, according to Kerry Goyette, the Founder & President of Aperio Consulting Group, employees are already motivated, what is required, is the unleashing of their motivation by their managers or leaders. This can majorly be done by converting them into engaged employees from being just happy or disengaged ones.
Employees need to be empowered
Empowerment in literal terms is, giving power to someone to do a task or to be independent of doing the task. In the words of Patty McCord, “We need to empower people now because we have spent decades taking it away from them. The rules, processes, handbooks, and procedures have taken away their creativity and the power to act fearlessly, hence has slowly taken this power from them.” She believes that employees have been made this way, of being dependent and uncreative. Now, after ages, they are being asked again to wear the masks of empowerment and show their skills. Therefore, this revolution demands change from the roots within.
They are happy with perks and facilities
The thought- if an employee is facilitated with extra perks and favor, he would feel obliged and would devote himself to the cause of producing profits for the company, is simply wrong. One needs to realize that money is really important, especially in today’s world where inflation is touching heights. So, by just giving them the facilities of high gourmet restaurants and huge office spaces, the employer cannot buy the employee engagement of his staff.
High performing employees can raise the bars of low performing ones
This has been a misconception that is even served as a conversion step in many companies. Many originations even today believe that clubbing high performing employees with the low performing ones can convert the latter ones into first category. On the contrary, according to researches, it works the other way round and brings down the performance level of the engaged employees.
Before moving to the steps to correct these myths, this article will now throw some light on the concepts of engaged employees. Also, the clarification of various employee kinds and their difference would make it easier to understand the reasons behind the various attitudes and behaviors of employees.
#Who is an engaged employee?
An engaged employee is one, who is truly loyal and emotionally determined towards his set goals. Also, such people dream to grow passionately with the development of the company. Therefore, their dreams are in alignment with the vision of the company. Engaged employees work for the expansion and futuristic growth of the company. In fact, one would have noticed, that such employees are very energetic and always ready to take up any challenge at the work space. These people never leave their invigorative spirit and are ever prepared to accustom themselves in any of the roles offered to them.
Also, such people tend to possess out of the box thinking skills and are always keen to stretch their limits of work. Moreover, engaged employees prove to be the future leaders and keep contributing to the same company for a comparatively longer period of time.
#Difference between a happy and an engaged employee
Now there comes a category after the engaged employees, who are called the non- engaged employees. This contributes to 67% of the general workforce in a company. These employees might look happy and contended but unlike engaged employees, these are not directed towards the vision and aims of their organization. This category of workers, generally contribute as the highest percentages of the colleagues around, in the office.
These people stay positive and smiling but do not take any step beyond the tasks assigned to them. They are just opposite of the engaged employees and dislike to involve themselves in tasks, which are not assigned to them. Additionally, one would agree that these people are not even very much inclined towards providing extra kind services to the customers of the company. In short, they just restrain themselves to their KRAs and do not invest their time or energy towards producing anything extra for the benefit of the organization.
These employees, if treated as opportunities, can be shifted to the class of engaged employees and utilized to add, to the profit numbers of the company. Following are a few of the steps, which if followed, can help an employer to hire engaged employees from the very beginning or even convert the existing ones to engaged and high performing workers.
However, before moving to the solution, here is a little brief about the third category called the actively disengaged employees. These constitute 18% of the total workforce and are usually identified as the people with negative influence over the rest of the office staff. They are more interested in checking the progressive report of others rather than concentrating on their own.
Well, these kinds of employees can hardly be converted into engaged employees, still one should never leave hope. Now, the following are the detailed steps, which would help an employer convert non- engaged employees into the fully engaged ones:
#7 Steps to establish a culture of fully engaged employees
Fit them right!
According to Kerry Goyette, motivation is the key to success. It is very important that the employees in an organization are motivated. It also acts as the driving force for them to contribute whole heartedly towards the success of the company. For this, one needs to bring change in his employment strategy by hiring employees based on their motivational fit.
For example, motivation for pleasure is defined by two different characteristics, one is ambition and the other is accountability. The people inclined towards the ambition get highly motivated when talked about a project which ensures a company’s growth and profits. They tend to visualize their own upscaling along with the surging graph of their company. On the other hand, the accountable ones would get affected, if talked about the various threats or the possibilities, which could harm the company’s progress in any of the possible ways. Here, people of both the ideologies are motivated, but in their own perspective ways.
Therefore, if an organization accustoms this skill of identifying the motivational fit, then it can produce undoubtedly overwhelming results. Selection of employees this way would further reflect in the annual profits of the company and the individualistic growth of the employees.
Moreover, an employer can convert the presently working employees into engaged employees by targeting them into groups with the same motivational bent. This would boost the motivational skills of the employees and focus their mind towards the direction of their choice.
Suit them well
As discussed above with the mention of Patty McCord, it is highly imperative for an employer to pay fairly right to his employees. It is further crucial for the employees also to own their career graph and ask for what they deserve and not what others think, they should get.
It is not wrong to say that the purpose of money cannot be replaced by perks and other facilities. One definitely cannot buy his needs with the extra amenities, so it is a dire need for an employee to earn well. Also, this factor acts as a great source of motivation for humans to keep performing their tasks at par excellence. Also, thinking from the employee’s point of view, if he knows that his effort would be valued in money and he will definitely get a promotion if he performs well, then he will surely move in the said direction.
Additionally, if the company pays its employees well, then it is a big reason for the retention of the employees for a considerably long period. Moreover, the employee foresees his personal growth along with the advancement of the firm and definitely gets converted into an engaged one.
Employers like Google, Apple, Accenture, Netflix, Cisco, Salesforce and Facebook are few of the top payers of the world. They have been known for retaining employees by providing them with high pay packages and are even regarded as the ones who value the human talent, to the most.
Treat them humanly not humanely
In the words of Mary Schaefer, HR professional, “employees should be treated humanly not humanely.” By humanely she means to provide washroom breaks or have water coolers at office whereas humanly refers to the basic requirements crucial for human development that are appreciation, belongingness and the urge to make a profitable contribution to the company’s growth. She strongly believes that it is high time that employers start infusing more humanity at the work place.
This not only relates to being soft-spoken or friendly to the employees but also refers to pat their back when their intelligence and efforts make a difference to the projects in concern. Also, it has been researched that organizations which tend to give more importance to these human requirements have more percentage of engaged employees in comparison to the ones who have a bossy culture at the office.
So, another step to produce a more engaged workforce is to appreciate them at every step of achievement and making them an integral part of the companies projects and work culture. They should be made to believe that their opinion and inputs act as a force of movement for the continuous development of the firm they are a part of.
Few of such companies, which are running corporates on the grounds of valuing and appreciating their employees. for the work they do are Great Little Box Company, Netflix, Meltwater, Warby Parker and Solar City. These companies have made a name for themselves, not only by achieving great monetary results but have also proven to be masters in practising humanly and encouraging work cultures.
Let the moment rule!
Feedback in every field is the source of improvement. However, the time gap in the action of the employee and the reaction of the employer is an important thing to consider. One must make sure that the feedback is in the moment as giving it afterwards would not be very impactful and even look unreal. Therefore, regular check-ins should be adopted as a practice by the employer, where the employee sits with his boss on a weekly basis and the problems are discussed within them. Also, if an entire team is involved in a project, then its review should be done every week or fortnight so that, the same mistakes are not repeated and the workers get a chance to correct their vision for the same.
In fact, instant feedbacks should be motivated for small assignments so that it gets worked upon in the shortest time possible. Also, the tone of feedback has to be soft and motivating. It should not work in the direction of negative motivation, because such kinds do not generally produce very impressive results.
Moreover, if an employee is underperforming, then the manager should sit with him at the earliest possible and discuss the reasons of the decline in his performance. Again, the communication strategy followed here should be to interrogate and address his problems rather than illustrating his own flaws to him.
To make an impact, the old annual performance review culture should be eliminated from the company’s policies and real-time feedback methodologies should be adopted to have more encouraged and engaged employees at work. Few of the simple examples of this progressive work culture are companies like Legal Monkeys and Screwfix, who have open feedback culture.
In legal Monkeys, they have an Appreciation Board at the place, which can be presented to anyone whom they feel has done something praise worthy. The person is free to keep the board at his desk, till the other person bags for an accomplishment. On the other hand, Screwfix has the culture of receiving feedback from the employees after every two weeks, where employees are free to talk, complaint or suggestion about anything in concern. Further their suggestions are even implemented by the company, which showcases them their worth.
Recognize the feathers in their cap
Everyone loves being praised, so does an employee! Why do employers forget that at the end of the day, employees are also human beings who strive for small happiness of life? They also feel delighted when their boss appreciates them in front of the team or when they receive a promotion mail in the mid of the financial year or even a holiday package after a tiring yet super successful project.
Researches have proven that employees who are motivated to work beyond their worth and are appreciated for their constant efforts tend to be more actively engaged towards work. Such people always step ahead for the benefit of the company and their unconscious mind is continuously working to seek opportunities for growth. Further, their growth reflects in the profit margins of the company and the organization gets to witness an overwhelming expansion of its enterprise.
Adding on, to make employees feel more worthy and valued, monthly or quarterly awards can be introduced in the firm to honour the calibre of the employees. Along with this, small changes can be made in the internal processes, to tell them, they are a valuable and inseparable part of the organization.
One of the best examples of honouring the worth of the employees by paid vacation, is a company called Full Contact. This US based software company offers ‘Paid Paid Vacation’ to its employees where each year the employees get $7500 from the company and are free to go anywhere. Also, during this vacation off, the employees are made sure, to not attend any phone, message or mail related to work. They believe that after this rejuvenating vacation, the employees get to produce more success-oriented results as the engagement of the employee, is at its peak after the fully paid vacation.
Furnish healthy squads
This step, is the further addition of the like-minded people in the same motivational fit, as discussed in the first step of change. By adding more people to the group, the practice will allow all the employees of a certain group to learn from each other and earn the power of advancement. This way, there would be no blocking in the path of their growth and new skills would keep improvising their individual worth.
Also, it will cultivate a healthy working culture in the office, where each employee would be benefitting from the strengths of the other one. Moreover, the third group of actively disengaged workers would automatically breakdown and would not have any strong impact on the people around.
Employ to invest
Now, here the companies need to treat employees not as burdens but as investments and even need to turn them into the same. In fact, some of the biggest names of the employment industry are investing in their employees by offering them higher degrees for their future growth. Companies like Google and Amazon have turned educators to their employees by registering them to post-secondary degree courses, that would help them learn the proficiencies of their work, in an even detailed manner.
This moreover, builds the trust of the employee in the company and inclines his interest all the more towards the profitable growth of the organization. Also, here the employer ascertains his promise of working upon the personal growth of the employee along with the professional. So, steps like these are sure to increase employee engagement towards the ultimate purpose of the financial development of the company.
Most importantly, during the implication of all the above-mentioned steps, it should be made sure that the factor of trust is given utmost importance. The company should ensure to practice exercises which exhibits that its employees are highly trusted and valued. This would infuse more confidence and faith in them for the company and they would now devote their talent of full ability towards the achievement of vision and goal of the employer.
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