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Contributed By Stefanie Jansen

(March 2, 2017) – You’ve heard it. You’ve considered it. But do you really know what it is—and, more importantly, why you should care? Employee engagement is no longer a differentiator. It’s a must-have for any organization that expects to thrive in an era where employees demand to be engaged.

 

The History and Evolution of Employee Engagement

As a society, we have gauged engagement and success at work differently over time. Employers have historically measured workers’ performance and their compensation based on their output. But we’ve changed greatly as a society—in what we value, the products we use, the way we communicate, and how we spend our leisure time—which have all had an effect on how we function in our work. Some reports even predict that 65% of children entering elementary school today will end up in a job that doesn’t even exist yet.

Then

Now

9 to 5

Flex hours

Hierarchical

Team-oriented

Incentivized by money

Incentivized by meaning/impact

On-the-job presence

Remote availability

Satisfied

Engaged

 

The Definition of Employee Engagement

Here’s how we at Emplify define employee engagement:

An employee’s intellectual (head) and emotional (heart) connection with an employer, demonstrated by motivation and commitment (hands) to positively impacting the company vision and goals.

 

Head Heart Hands Engagement

Engagement isn’t summed up in a series of annual survey responses. It’s not an award or rating that an outside party gives you. It’s simply the way your employees feel about your company and what it stands for—and how they demonstrate that in their daily work.

 

Satisfaction vs. Engagement: Understanding the Difference

On the surface, “job satisfaction” and “employee engagement” seem interchangeable. But a happy employee doesn’t always mean a healthy one. In the past, company leaders have demonstrated this misunderstanding by simply “throwing money” at the problem of disengaged workers with increased pay and perks. But when employee engagement is built on motivation and commitment, those things won’t do much to make people stay. Think of it this way:

Job satisfaction: Are you going to stay?

Employee engagement: Are you going to drive the business forward?

To solve the problem of disengagement, leaders must get to the heart of the matter by allowing employees to voice their opinions before they’re headed out the door. By surveying employees with questions that are based on actual psychological drivers of engagement, you can generate more valid results that address underlying disengagement instead of mere dissatisfaction.

Are you pursuing satisfaction or engagement?

Job Satisfaction

Employee Engagement

Asking employees if they’re “happy”

Surveying around proven engagement drivers

Relying solely on perks like bonuses and free snacks

Drilling down deep to address fundamental issues

Conducting a one-time annual survey

Regularly polling to keep a pulse on the employee voice

Surveying for “vanity metrics” to benefit PR and recruitment

Surveying for real, non-filtered feedback

 

The State of Disengagement: Is Your Company at Risk?

Don’t think you have an employee engagement problem? Consider this: a whopping 70% of Americans say they are currently disengaged in their jobs. Even companies with “cool” cultures and otherwise engaged employees could be at risk of disengagement, especially if they’ve recently experienced one of the following situations:

 

The State of Disengagement

 

You prepare your yearly and quarterly sales goals, you analyze your financials, and you pour over your customer service data. Why not your employee engagement levels? If you think the risk is minimal, think again. Lack of employee engagement not only affects your culture and ability to recruit top talent, but it also has detrimental impacts to your bottom line and ability to compete in the marketplace.

 

The Massive Potential for Employee Engagement (and What to Do About It)

Companies who focus on engaging their employees (and keeping them engaged) stand to make substantial gains in a number of ways. In addition to positive impacts in culture and morale, employee engagement also increases your overall productivity, retention, and revenue.

 

value of employee engagement

To ignore the need for employee engagement would not only cause you to miss out on incredible opportunities for profit and innovation, but could even result in massive turnover and, thus, huge costs to replace talent and stay afloat. Chances are, you already know engaging your employees is important—you’re just not sure where to start.

 

The 3 Ways to Measure for True Employee Engagement

There’s no one “magic formula” to solving the problem of employee disengagement. But by implementing the following three solutions, you can build an effective strategy for (re)engaging employees and yielding better results as a business.

 

1. Get the Data You Need

You can’t improve your employee engagement if you don’t know where you’re starting from. But one-time annual surveys are often clunky, irrelevant, and unhelpful in terms of gathering regular feedback. When you combine annual surveys with quarterly check-ins and regular polls, you can create a continuum of insights to take action on in days, not months.

We call this “agile engagement,” which is a methodology that allows you to keep a better pulse on your company with regular surveys so you can take corrective action before it’s too late.

 

2. Dig Deep for the Insights You Need

Company leaders often make the mistake of throwing money at their engagement problems for a “quick fix” instead of going straight to the source. When your survey questions are written to address the actual underlying drivers of engagement instead of surface-level satisfaction, you can gather the most valid results and even pinpoint areas for improvement with segmented data like:

  • Role type (tenure, seniority level)
  • Location (branch, county)
  • Department (division, team)

That way, you’ll know exactly where to make a change when you uncover an engagement problem in a particular area.

 

3. Take Action, Then Measure Again

Survey data alone won’t help you increase employee engagement. Demonstrating to employees that their voice is heard positively impacts engagement by supporting a listening environment in which employees feel empowered and supported. To make an effective use of your survey analysis and time, you must take action by: 

  • Communicating the results to your team to show that you heard what they had to say and plan to make changes
  • Using your segmented data to make personnel/process changes where needed
  • Reviewing and re-surveying employees on a regular basis to gauge improvement

Remember—the process doesn’t stop there. To effectively improve employee engagement and achieve your ideal culture, you must continue the process by regularly measuring, assessing, and taking action on results. Just measure, rinse, and repeat.

 

Does Your Employee Engagement Measure Up?

From financial projections to sales goals, you measure and analyze every part of your business. Why should your employees—your greatest asset—be any different? Start enjoying a more productive, more focused, and more loyal workforce with survey insights that help you truly increase employee engagement.

————-

At Emplify, we take the hassle out of survey management with an engagement framework that combines psychometrically valid questions, confidential results, and employee engagement experts who help deliver the “hard truths” no one else will tell you. Schedule a strategy session today to see how your company could benefit from agile employee engagement.

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How to Create Effective Employee Surveys

How to Create Effective Employee Surveys

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