​An engaged, committed workforce can be a business's strongest and most valuable asset, but missing key signs that the workforce is becoming disengaged could cost a business more than just a temporary dip in productivity and the cost of recruitment. Understanding what employee engagement is and how to tackle a disengaged workforce is key to turning around the morale and employee retention and creating a high performance workforce.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is a term used to describe the commitment and enjoyment employees feel toward their work and the business. Employees who are committed and happy in their role are performing not just for a salary, but to improve business success and brand. Engaged employees are dedicated to their role and feel pride in their work and for the company they are employed by. They are your strongest brand ambassadors, and the difference between a client speaking to an engaged, passionate employee and a disengaged, unhappy employee can be costly. Engaged and happy employees are also more likely to be productive and perform to a higher standard. New starters coming into an engaged team are more likely to enjoy their role and time within the business, helping them to settle into the company and feel the desire to be a part of the success story of the business.

How do you measure employee engagement?

There are multiple ways to measure employee engagement. When it comes to running surveys and temperature checks, employees can become bored if they feel like nothing changes, or if they are run too frequently. Reviewing the data that you already hold for employees and performance is a good starting point too such as, employee turnover and churn. Ask yourself whether there has been an increase in resignations or staff put on performance management. Are there keywords that keep coming up in exit interviews or probation reviews that show a pattern? Has performance or activity dipped in some areas of the business? Is there an increase in absence compared to the same period last year? What is the feedback on Glassdoor about your business?

There is a wealth of data at your fingertips that could provide you with key information on what needs improving or focus. This data could also guide you on the areas to focus a survey on. You can’t fix everything at once but honing in on a contentious issue could pay back in dividends in a short timeframe. Don’t be afraid to be honest with employees either, they will appreciate that feedback is being listened to and will make them more interested in participating as they understand the goal and the benefit. It’ll also help build trust, which is such a valuable and fragile commodity in employment.​

How can I improve employee engagement?

After reviewing the areas that have been identified as requiring improvement, get deeper feedback on why they have given that feedback and what they would like to see as a tangible change for the positive. Some of the suggestions or considerations will be based around; effective communication, employees feeling valued and listened to, rewards and recognition (not just material compensations), celebrating successes, wins, learnings, and loyalty, discussing and caring about career development and advancement, and showing empathy and compassion. Taking the feedback from employees as valuable insights and not becoming defensive about some of the points raised will enable honest reflection on where things could be improved. Nothing is ever perfect the first time and acknowledging the challenges and issues will also empower employees to take accountability for things that could be improved by them.

What are the benefits of investing time and resources into employee engagement?

Investing in employee engagement doesn’t have to include a big budget. The most important resource to put against employee engagement is time; time to listen, review, plan, share the plan, track the impact, and make adjustments where needed.

Understanding the key issues of employees will help with retention and ensure policy and practices that you have in place or are planning to put into place align with their moral compass. A recent survey, across 17 countries with 33,000 employees taking part, found that 76% of participants would consider leaving if they found out their company had no equity, diversity, and inclusion policy or they had an unfair gender pay gap. If you know about the issues that employees feel are non-negotiable when it comes to values and morals you are in a better place of understanding to ensure you are retaining and keeping engaged top talent that the business has already invested time and money into developing, training, and supporting to be successful. Don’t lose that talent by not listening to their voice.

For more help and support on employee engagement or more, please get in touch.