In the world of HR and talent management we often refer to the term of employee engagement, however so many of us are still unsure to exactly what this is. Let’s clear things up a little then:
WHAT DOES EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT MEAN?
Employee engagement can be described as a product of the relationship between a company and its employees. An engaged employee is defined as someone who completely “buys into” their employer, their corporate values and is enthusiastic about their work. An employee who is fully engaged is likely to take positive action to benefit their company’s reputation and presence.
An engaged employee is one of the most important assets a company has, but according to a report from People HR, only 13% of employees consider themselves as “highly engaged”, a problem that HR and management teams need to solve!
There are a number of things to consider when looking at both your current levels of employee engagement and ways to improve this, we take a look at a few here:
Reach out to Current Employees
Conducting regular employee engagement surveys are crucial as it will help ensure the EVP’s (employer value propositions) you promote as part of your recruiting efforts align with the reality of what your current employees perceive to be true, but also to help you pin point any potential issues which are causing your employees to disengage. The types of open questions you should be asking to find out what makes them most engaged include:
- Why were you attracted to our organisation?
- Why do you think our organisation is unique?
- What do you value most about working here?
- What is it that makes you want to stay at our organisation?
Using literature from exit interviews you should be able to build an understanding of the reasons employees decide to leave, in which case you should shape a series of survey questions to understand if these factors are affecting your other employees and causing them to disengage. This could include:
- Does the limit of flexible working hours effect how you feel about your role?
- Do you feel well supported by your manager and colleagues?
- Is there anything we could change to improve your experience at our company?
This isn’t to say that you’ll need to completely overhaul how your company operates, but if you fail to listen to your employees wants and needs then it can have a negative impact on employee turnover (reports say that 77% of employees are happy to jump ship if a better job offer comes along) as well as productivity (unhappy workers are reported to be 10% less productive compared to happy workers).
As part of your recruiting and onboarding strategy you need to ensure you attract people who align with your values, and get them engaged from the very first touchpoint. The majority of employees start the “employee lifecycle” as a candidate, so if you don’t invest into delivering a great candidate experience then it’s not only going to impact upon your success to recruit, but it will inevitably influence how engaged these individuals will be when they eventually join you as an employee.
Here are a few key touchpoints you should look at to improve candidate experience and increase employee engagement for those who do join:
- Is your careers site mobile optimised?
- What’s the UX / UI like on your careers site?
- How long does it take to submit an application?
- Does a candidate get an insight into your company culture?
- Are you transparent about salary and benefits?
- How are your interviews structured?
- Do you supply a candidate with a clear outline of what to expect?
- Are you quick to provide feedback?
- Do you offer Skype / Telephone interview at first stage?
- Are you flexible with interview slots when a candidate is in full-time work?
- How do you deliver an offer?
- Do you send important information before the first day?
- Do you keep in touch during the notice period?
- Do you invite the candidate to meet the team before their first day?
- What is your induction process?
- Do you have an assigned mentor to track the employee’s progress?
- Do you take feedback after the first day / week / month?
- What is the training like?
- Are employees thrown into work or eased in gradually?
There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to do this, however you need to understand how you operate and examine whether there are parts of your process you could improve upon.
If you want your employees to be happy in their role and feel valued then it’s important to offer the types of employee benefits that your employees actually want. Regular employee engagement surveys will help you keep track of this but a great starting point is to look at what you already offer.
- Do you have a generous pension plan?
- Are you investing in employee health and wellbeing though gym subsidisation?
- Is there an option to work from home?
- Do you reward loyalty with financial bonuses?
- Do you let your employees kick back with a cool games room in the office?
You don’t always need to provide a ton of Google-inspired employee perks to get your employees engaged, but when something as simple as “Pizza Thursdays” or “employee duvet day allowance” can put a real spring in your employee’s step, why not look at what more you can do to increase employee engagement through benefits?
Employee advocacy is the promotion of your organisation by your employees, often through social media platforms to their own personal network connections. There are various benefits to adopting an active employee advocacy program, two of which include:
Increased trust in your employer brand
The Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey found that 33% of “buyers” trust brands, whilst 90% of customers trust recommendations from people they know. It makes sense, who would you trust more - a faceless brand, or a real person you’re friends with on Facebook?
Increased content reach without having to pay for social advertising
With an average of 400 network connections per employee, a single share of your content can result in a phenomenal content reach, without having to pay for sponsored campaigns / boosting your posts which can potentially eat up your recruitment marketing budget.
An engaged employee is far more likely to become an employee advocate within your business, which will in turn help attract more customers, clients and candidates to your business, so consider implementing a program that encourages your employees to share and engage with your employer brand online.
7 steps to improve employee engagement levels!
We know that engaged employees are more likely to stay loyal to your organisation and be more productive in their job, so if you want to start to improve employee engagement in your organisation then here are the steps you need to take:
- Conduct an employee engagement survey with your current employees to pin point areas you can improve (benefits, environment, culture, work projects, salary and compensation)
- Collect data from exit interviews to pin point why those employees leave (and learn from it!)
- Discuss with Directors, Managers and key stakeholders what you could do to change any negatives that you uncover in this research – put together a business case with demonstrable ROI!
- Examine your candidate experience from application to onboarding, see if there is anything you could improve upon – speak to your new employees and get feedback as they will have experienced these steps first hand!
- Look at your employee benefits and compare them against your competitors alongside data from your employee surveys – do they make your employees feel valued? Is there anything you could add to improve employee happiness and engagement?
- Look at your social engagement – are employees already sharing your content? Could you encourage them to do more through small incentives / competitions?
- Don’t forget about the personal approach! A one-to-one chat to find out how an employee is feeling in their role can go a long way, so take the time to speak to employees on a personal level as well as gathering data from surveys.