Everyone in business wants engaged employees and when you look at the stats around Employee Engagement you can understand why. But how do you get engaged employees?

What Is Employee Engagement?

There are many definitions around employee engagement on the internet but this one, from Wikipedia, seems to sum it up well.

An “engaged employee” is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, his or her work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization’s interests. An engaged employee is aware of business context, and works with colleagues to improve performance within the job for the benefit of the organization. It is a positive attitude held by the employees towards the organization and its values.

EMP Trust HR via Wikipedia

But that really is the end game and offers us no help whatsoever in what steps we might take to reach that point. Unless you are very lucky your business will be at “A” on the engagement scale and wants to get to “Z”.

Why Is Employee Engagement Needed?

Research firm Gallup have been running their “State of the Workplace” survey for over 10 years. While figures for employee engagement vary from country to country they are universally poor. According to the findings released in September 2017, about 70% of American workers and 85% of workers worldwide report feeling disengaged at work. This means “they lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organisational goals or outcomes.”

Worst still 24% are “actively disengaged,” indicating they are unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to coworkers.

It seems that every company wants engaged employees but the numbers that are actually engaged are depressingly low, suggesting that what is being done isn’t working. Clearly, just sticking a table tennis table and a bowl of fruit in reception isn’t going to cut it.

What Is Employee Involvement?

We at WorkInConfidence think that there is another way. That in order to reach true employee engagement you first have to have employee involvement.

By involvement we mean feeling part of the organisation and having some influence over both their own job role and the direction of business itself. The latter might seem like a lofty goal but the issue is too many organisations ask for feedback on the company direction in annual surveys and then don’t outline the steps they are to take to meet that. Worse still are those organisations that simply ignore the findings.

The CIPD Employee Outlook Survey looks at measuring what they call employee influence. Measures on this are increasing with those in more senior position, unsurprisingly, feeling they have more influence. Interestingly the survey also found that:

Employees in the public sector are also significantly more likely to be satisfied with the scope for using their own initiative in their job than private sector employees.

CIPD Employee Outlook Survey

How You Can Achieve True Employee Involvement

Want to ensure that you have involved employees? Here are a few things you could consider:

  1. The very first thing that you need to do is to ensure that you consider the employee for the whole life with the organisation. These days that means from before they have joined to after they have left. There is so much information available to both employer and prospective employee that a search to find out what it’s really like to work for you is inevitable. A quick look on social media can set an individual’s impression of you before they have even turned up for the interview.
  2. Is your organisation engaged and committed to its employees? Organisations expect employees to be committed but likewise employees also want the same commitment from their employers. Maybe you need to inject a bit of employer engagement into the mix to help ensure staff feel the involvement is two way?
  3. Ask them for regular, meaningful feedback. A pulse survey is a great way of doing that. And don’t forget to act on that feedback and show that you have done so.

These are three really quick ways that you can foster an employee involvement culture in your organisation. Once you do you might find that the holy grail of employee engagement is much more straightforward.

Protect: Anonymous Speak Up: A safe and secure way for your people to anonymously raise concerns via phone, tablet, or PC, ensuring you are aware of any workplace issues and can respond quickly and accordingly

Consolidated Case Management: A secure online place to record, track, update, and report on all speaking up matters, whether raised through WorkInConfidence or directly.

Surveys: Easily set up, run and interpret surveys on engagement, respect, wellness or other topics to ensure you always understand your people, their needs and motivations.

Discussion Boards: Demonstrate your commitment to collaboration with discussion boards to accelerate employee engagement and gain greater insights – anonymous if required.