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Contributed By Stefanie Jansen

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(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, and in turn, use that feedback to inspire and connect employees in their roles.

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

Inspiring and motivating employees with your mission and vision

Conducting a one-time annual survey

Regularly polling to keep a pulse on the employee voice

Using Outlook directories and intranets to keep employees connected

Giving employees on-demand access to employee contact info and rich profiles

 

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.

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. At Emplify, we give organizations like yours the tools they need to engage employees in the ways they crave, while also providing expertly-sourced strategy that’s tailored to your organization’s needs and keeps employees engaged in the future.

 

The 4 Ways to Measure and Improve Employee Engagement

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

 

1. Measure and Understand Your Engagement

You can’t improve your employee engagement if you don’t know where you’re starting from. But one-time annual surveys are clunky, irrelevant, and unhelpful in terms of gathering regular feedback.

Pro Tip: Adopt an agile methodology and keep a better pulse on your company with annual and quarterly surveys so you can take corrective action before it’s too late.

With Emplify Measure, survey creation and administration is not only easy, it’s anonymous, timely, and fully serviced by our team of engagement experts.

 

2. Inspire Employees to Do Their Best Work

When employees understand how their roles contribute to your company mission and vision, they are able to find meaning in what they do, resulting in increased productivity, engagement, and loyalty/retention.

Pro Tip: Do more to inspire your employees than just reciting your mission and core values at the annual company meeting. Share inspiring stories of employees’ impact on customers and the community, or showcase employees who go above and beyond in order to turn everyday tasks into meaningful contributions.

With Emplify Inspire, you can help employees internalize and emotionally connect with your organization’s purpose by communicating inspiring customer and employee stories through the device they always have with them—their smartphone.

 

3. Voice Employee Feedback to Make Informed Decisions

Demonstrating to employees that their voice is heard positively impacts engagement by supporting a listening environment in which employees feel empowered and supported. When employees realize that their feedback has reached leadership, they feel a stronger sense of ownership in the company, increasing satisfaction and motivation while decreasing angst.

Pro Tip: Maybe you’re already asking questions—but are you asking the right questions? Poll employees early and often with questions that get at the heart of their engagement. Send a variety of questions (like multiple choice, open response, or attitude polls) via mobile for quick and easy response so employees are more inclined to answer.

Emplify Voice takes the hassle out of keeping an ear on your employees by giving you the tools to create polls that not only build trust/loyalty, but give you actionable feedback that can help you make better business decisions.

 

4. Connect Employees for Deeper Relationships

According to Gallup, strong work relationships boost employee engagement by 50%. Yet, many work relationships are only surface-deep because employees either don’t truly know their co-workers or they don’t know how to easily get in touch with them. By better connecting employees, you can deepen relationships for benefits like increased productivity, communication/collaboration, and reduced turnover.

Pro Tip: Give employees a way to get in touch with their co-workers, whether they’re on-the-go or in another office by creating employee profiles accessible via mobile. Then, enrich the profiles with personal and professional details so employees make lasting connections.

Emplify Connect allows you to build a comprehensive mobile directory that’s accessible anywhere and features rich media like photos, links, and important details (both personal and professional)—providing the perfect tool for onboarding new employees.

 

Are Your Employees Engaged?

It’s not enough to just assume your employees are engaged. Nor is it enough to solve the problem with bonuses and free food at work. To employees, it’s much deeper than that. When you invest in your employees by opening your ears to their feedback, inspiring them with your mission and vision, and making them an integral part of your company, you stand to gain business rewards that are even farther reaching than boosted morale.

Our employee engagement experts will analyze your company’s needs to help you improve in the right areas for a connected culture, engaged employees, and a healthy bottom line. Schedule a strategy session today.

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