Get engaged!

Employee engagement - why is it important, how do you achieve it and how do you measure its success?

Perhaps we should start at the beginning, and take a look at the definition of employee engagement.

Definition

According to Engage for Success, a voluntary organisation that promotes employee engagement, it can be defined as…

So why is it important?

As Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius once said, that which is not good for the beehive cannot be good for the bee. Or, to look at it from a slightly different angle, that which is good for the bee, must be good for the beehive.

Or to put it in less abstract terms, good employee engagement is not only good for the employee, it’s also good for their employer. According to EFS founder David MacLeod, employee engagement is about how we create the conditions in which employees offer more of their capability and potential.

All the evidence points to the fact that companies with well-engaged staff benefit from…

•    reduced staff turnover
•    improved morale and wellbeing
•    more productive, loyal employees
•    improved efficiency
•    higher customer retention

The bottom line is that ultimately, they’re more profitable.

Sounds great! How is good employee engagement achieved?

Despite the obvious benefits good employee engagement brings to a company, the vast majority of employers still find it hard to achieve.

While every company is different, and there’s no such thing as a one size fits all employee engagement strategy, there are some general guidelines that seem to work for most.

Put your staff first. Make sure your mission statement is written for them, not your customers or anybody else.

What’s more, you should live and breathe your mission statement. Too many companies fall into the rut of simply paying lip service to it. Provide your managers and employees with the necessary tools and training to make sure it becomes a fundamental part of your company culture.

Also, bear in mind that it’s a two-way process. Use a variety of communication channels. Listen to your staff and get them involved in shaping your future. Fostering an environment based on trust and integrity, and helping your employees feel as though they’re integral to your employee engagement program could prove vital to your success.

Monitoring your performance

Like any other business activity, it’s really important to monitor how your employee engagement performs. Unlike other business activities, it can be tricky to measure the impact of an employee engagement strategy.

Two of the market leaders in this field are Gallup and Best Companies.

Gallup uses 12 key questions, known as the Gallup Q12. Whilst many companies will run an employee engagement survey on an annual basis, there’s an argument it should be conducted much more frequently, as employees will often only recall the past 12 weeks.

Take a look at the infographic below and see how you can incorporate it into your employee engagement strategy.

(Click to enlarge).