Are your employees happy? Most of the employers often mistake happiness for engagement. Happy employees aren’t necessarily engaged employees. Employee engagement is a factor that every employer has to consider. It has the power to make or break your organization.
What is employee engagement and why is it important?
“Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.” This is the definition given by Forbes.com for employee engagement. When employees are engaged, they will work hard towards attaining the goals of his/her organization.
As it is clear from the definition, the main aim behind ensuring employee engagement is to improve productivity. While a happy employee may turn up for work every day, he/she may not give any extra effort for the organization.
If employee engagement exists in your organization, your employees will not feel the need to switch their jobs. Engaged employees aren’t just working to receive their salaries, they are contributing to their organization’s long-term success.
Barriers to employee engagement
Several factors can hinder employee engagement initiatives. It can be a lack of support from the management, a toxic work environment, or lack of appreciation. Let’s understand each of them in detail.
- Lack of clarity
One of the main hurdles to employee engagement is the lack of understanding of the concept. There are many organizations which believe that paying salaries on time is enough to make employees happy. But, there are certain deliberate steps that organizations have to take to engage their employees. Otherwise, they will have to be a mute witness to the increasing employee turnover.
- Terrible work-life balance
Just as work is important for you, personal life is valuable for employees. If you continuously make them work beyond their timing and refuse to give them holidays, it will lead to an imbalance in their professional and work life. Productivity is not about how much time they are spending at the office, it is about the dedication that they show during their office hours.
- A toxic work environment
Several factors can contribute to developing a toxic work environment. It includes bullying, demotivation, work pressure and lack of opportunities for advancement. The ideal work environment has to encourage creativity, innovative ideas and appreciate achievements. It is tough for the employees to be productive at an organization that doesn’t give value to their happiness and development.
- Ineffective communication
Ineffective communication is a major barrier to employee engagement as well as organizational growth. There must be a system to convey the management decisions and their purposes to the bottom level. Every time you are implementing a new rule in the organization, make sure that your employees are aware of it and their queries are addressed.
How to boost employee engagement
Boosting employee engagement is not a piece of cake. It is a step-by-step process whereby you create a positive work culture for your employees to feel valued and respected. Don’t expect to see the results overnight. But, your efforts will be certainly rewarded gradually.
Following are some simple steps by which you can engage your employees:
- Give individual attention
The main challenge in finding the strategies to engage employees is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. People are different and they expect different ways of engagement. So, the best way is to talk to them individually and pay individual attention. Though it is difficult in large organizations, you can talk to your employees occasionally. This is particularly important if you see a continuous decline in the performance levels of a specific employee.
- Provide training
Training is a loud and clear way to say that we care about you and your growth. Fostering a culture of continuous development will make the employees feel comfortable and satisfied. It will improve their confidence as they will be equipped with the knowledge and tools required to fulfill their roles. Training boosts employee morale and ultimately increases the productivity of your organization.
- Recognize and appreciate
Hard work and dedication must always be appreciated. There will be some employees who work day and night for your organization. Some employers tend to ignore them considering that they are doing their duty. But, appreciation matters like anything. It will encourage them to work harder and they will also feel valued if their efforts are recognized. It is also a good culture to reward the employees who make notable achievements.
- Listen to your employees
Sometimes, personal issues may prevent an employee from working as per expectations. Individuals may also have some issues with their colleagues that affect their work. In such cases, what they need will be a person to listen to their issues. It can be the employer, team leader, manager, or the HR. But, it is the responsibility of the employer to make sure that employees have someone at the office to discuss and solve their problems.
- Hold social gatherings
Who wouldn’t love parties and holidays? It is always nice to hang out with colleagues. Employers can hold some parties or plan a holiday trip for their people. The employees can refresh themselves and spend a good time together which is away from the four walls of their office.
- Seek feedback
Every day, you will be giving a lot of instructions to your people. But, have you ever asked for their opinions. Of course, it’s not possible to seek the opinion of each and everyone before implementing a decision. However, feedback of the employees is crucial in assessing employee engagement.
- Promote taking breaks
Sir, I need a break. Did any of the employees say this to you? Never shout at them and instruct them to go back to work. Human beings need breaks to relax and have some me-time. The routine and work stress can make their life monotonous and they may need a break. Once they are back, they will feel refreshed and will be happier to work.
- Build a strong relationship
Employers must develop a genuine relationship with the employees. As it is a long-term relationship, they can have informal communication at times to make them feel comfortable. Most people spend a major part of their day at the office. If they have bonded with their colleagues and their employees, they will be happy to stay there and work.
- Encourage teamwork
Encouraging teamwork raises the levels of employee engagement. Collaborating on a task or project will generate new ideas and creates a sense of team bonding in the organization. Human beings always have an instinct to form a group with similar interests. They will be more enthusiastic and motivated to achieve their common goals.
Employee engagement is a deliberate and thoughtful effort from the part of the employers to ensure employee retention. Creating a nice work environment and careful strategies can boost employee engagement. It is also a great idea to educate your team leaders and HR managers about employee engagement and the popular strategies to make sure that it is practised at all levels.