Employee Engagement — What HR Can Do
Employee engagement is a very hot topic in HR – and organizations in general – right now. But what is it, really? Simply put, engagement – whether between two people who intend to marry or an employee and employer – implies an emotional investment.
If an employee is passionate and committed enough to go above and beyond for his or her employer, in good times and tough times — and, in return, the employer gives the employee what they need to feel they are important and their work needs are satisfied – they can be truly engaged.
And, just as an individual can invest a lot of money buying an expensive engagement ring, without passion for – and a mutual commitment to one another – plus the willingness to put in the effort required to make the relationship flourish, it’s not a functioning engagement.
“We communicate all the time with our employees, so why aren’t they engaged?” is a frustration voiced quite frequently by well-meaning employers. What they’re missing is that engagement is part of the employee-employer relationship, while communication is just one ingredient, so to speak, in the recipe for employee engagement.
Key drivers of employee engagement, aside from communication, consist of good leadership, culture, rewards, career growth opportunities, vision, values, and social responsibility.
Even when an employee is positive about these engagement drivers, they can be disengaged due to problems at home, illness, and other external factors.
A recent Gallup poll of U.S. employees says that just 32% of employees are engaged and out of the 68% of those who are not engaged, 25% are completely disengaged. Imagine – roughly a quarter of all employees are simply collecting a paycheck.
That’s why employee engagement is such a big deal. If your organization’s business results (revenue, productivity, attrition, etc.) have been trending negatively, you may have an employee engagement issue.
Below are eight things HR professionals can begin doing today to build a more engaged workforce:
- Review your benefits, compensation and career development programs to ensure that they are as appropriate for – and attractive to – your employees as possible.
- Make sure employees have the right materials and equipment they need to do a quality job.
- Hire and coach managers to communicate with, encourage and care about employees. Reward them for doing this. Consider counseling out those who don’t.
- Conduct annual performance reviews; make sure that managers provide ongoing, constructive feedback to employees, and link pay to performance.
- Ask leadership to model positive behaviors they want to see in employees.
- Connect with employees in ways that are meaningful to them. Rely more on face-to-face dialog – and less on one-way, ‘push’ communication, like e-mail.
- Encourage managers to let employees figure out the best ways to get their job done (no micromanaging.)
- Enable employees to become involved in socially responsible programs sponsored by your organization – during their workday.
Improve Employee Engagement Today
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Written by Mercer PeoplePro Engagement & Communications Specialist, Lisa Jarmoszka