27 March 2017

The Benefits of Employee Engagement

The Importance and Benefits of Employee Engagement

Improving employee engagement requires organisations to focus their efforts on creating working conditions that allow employees to offer more of their effort, potential and capability. Engaged employees care more about their work, show emotional commitment and discretionary effort to their work. Employee engagement itself varies across a spectrum from employee satisfaction through happiness to full engagement. A satisfied or happy employee is not necessarily productive or hard-working. An engaged employee can be defined as one who is fully absorbed by, involved in, and enthusiastic about his or her work.

Through serious employee engagement, organisations create a workplace environment where employees are willing to work, contribute to the organisation success and understand their jobs, therefore, becoming more effective. The definition for the concept of effective employee engagement varies between workplaces. Different organisations and their management teams develop their working definitions. An engaged employee can create a positive effect that impacts the rest of his or her team members, customers, and other co-workers. This can be carried through to improved company performance and also an improved personal life.

The 10 Major Benefits of Employee Engagement

1) Employee Satisfaction:
​Engaged employees are more satisfied with their jobs. Employees with high job satisfaction levels tend to be more interested in the success of the business and show a higher level of loyalty, support, devotion and commitment to their employer. They are key players and ambassadors of the organisation. They work towards promoting the company’s brand, strategy and mission.

2) Productivity:
​Engaged employees are top performers and committed to achieving business success. They are rarely absent in work; their motivation and dedication lead to increased productivity. Engaged employees are more efficient and success driven. According to some research carried out by the University of Cambridge, the organisations and companies where employees are engaged were 43% more productive than others.

3) Retention and recruitment:
The success of every business depends on employees and retaining good ones is key. Engaged employees lower staff turnover significantly. Satisfied and engaged employees are loyal and stay within the organisation for a longer period. Organisations with an engaged workforce retain qualified employees who share the same mission, driven by success.

4) Innovation:
Another of the benefits of employee engagement is the close relationship with greater innovation. Engaged employees have a higher performance, interest and passion for their job or at their workplace, which leads to innovation. Such employees feel valued and a real part of the organisation. They strive to create new products, services and processes efficiently. Overall organisational growth is brought by collaboration and teamwork between top management and engaged employees.

5) Profitability:
Organisations with engaged employees make higher profits. Engaged employees are more efficient and productive; improving the company’s bottom line. According to research and previous studies by Wyatt Watson, companies with highly engaged employees produce at least 26% higher revenue rate per employee. Of all the benefits of employee engagement this one understandably tends to attract most attention, however the other nine in this list are also highly valuable.

6) Safety:
Improved safety tends to be the most overlooked of the benefits of employee engagement, however it’s critically important to the staff and company. Engaged employees have a lower chance of experiencing accidents or lost-time safety incidents compared to non-engaged employees. Based on workers compensation plan claims, disengaged employees make more claims, showing they are more likely to suffer injuries and accidents in their job. For employees that work in a heavy equipment or manufacturing environments, engaged employees follow safety procedures more diligently and focus on safety leading to fewer accidents.

7) Better health:
Engaging employees improves their health, according to a study that monitored a group of 168 workers (both engaged and disengaged). The study was conducted multiple times during the day and measured stress levels and other health indicators. Engaged employees were reported as having lower stress levels and higher interest in the survey throughout the day. Engaged employees also showed significant improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol readings. On the contrary, disengaged employees were twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression compared to the engaged employees. (Content Source: Well Being: The Five Essential Elements, by Jim Harter and Tom Rath).

8) Happiness:
Happiness and employee engagement are closely related, though not the same. Some employees can be happy in their work, but not fully engaged. Conversely, fully engaged employees are more likely to be happy as well. The benefits of employee engagement come from fulfilling the five basic human needs in the workplace: growth, meaning, connection, autonomy and impact.Meeting these needs increases the overall level of happiness in employees.

9) Pay and advancement:
Engaged employees perform way better than their disengaged peers. Engaged employees work hard and smart to produce better results. Through this, they get fast promotion, earn higher wages and also market themselves for better jobs and career opportunities. They tend to be devoted to their jobs, have better work life balance, and make the most out of their workdays. They feel energised, committed, and have a great time at work.

10) Better home life:
Engaged employees are just as engaged outside work as at work. They balance the home and work life. Disengaged employees have a tougher time switching to an engaged home life.

Employee Engagement Activities

The following communication and employee engagement strategies can be useful in achieving the ten major benefits listed above.

Enabling Conversation Fluidity:

Choose a way of communication that has high fluidity. Your objective is to reduce hindrance; workers should feel able to share problems, feedback and experiences to avoid distress and frustration among employees. Act to reduce communication barriers.

Managing Communication:

Managing communication is the most important step in engaging employees. Managers should closely check and monitor the entire process to ensure that it does not adversely affect organisational health. Work hard to ensure communication serves the desired purpose.

Unify Experiences:

Conduct an employee engagement survey to discover factors that engage and disengage employees. Focus on unifying common experiences and problems. Allow sharing of feedback.

Ensuring Open Communication:

Open communication (e.g. discussion groups) helps identify potential problems early on. Establishing proper communication provides a platform where people share their views and solutions to potential issues.

Providing Multiple Communication Channels:

Some employees prefer verbal communication while others prefer written commentary. Establishing multiple routes can better serve all employees.

 

Sources
Here is a list of the sources used in writing this article.

1. The essential guide to employee engagement: better business performance through staff satisfaction By Sarah CookPublisher: London; Philadelphia: Kogan Page, 2008.

2. Employee Engagement by Sara Cervai; Tauno Kekäle and Julia ClaxtonPublisher: Bradford: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2014.
3. Employee engagement by Emma BridgerPublisher: London: Kogan Page, 2014.
4. Well Being: The Five Essential Elements, by Jim Harter & Jim Harter
5. Management Study Guide URL – http://www.managementstudyguide.com/employee-engagement-strategies.htm

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