Much has been written about Employee Engagement. In management training I conduct I often ask to what level participants think their skills, wisdom, knowledge and experience are currently being utilized, and the average answer is about 50-60% (and these are managers!!!). What do you then think employees would say?
The level of employee engagement can have a significant impact on productivity. Organizations that have disengaged employees are likely to suffer financial consequences. They are likely to incur costs as a result of increased employee turnover, recruiting costs, the training of new employees and overtime compensation for employees who support vacant positions.
Top tips for engaging employees:
Ensure there is ample top-down communication. Employees will feel more valued if they believe they are being kept informed by senior management of any issues affecting the organization. Quick emails work great.
Where possible, use empowerment as an engagement tool. If the organization’s employees are empowered it will create a greater sense of responsibility and demonstrate a commitment to career development. Matching employee skills with the most suitable job will ensure that your employees are challenged. This is particularly important. If an employee believes that they are not using their skills and knowledge to the full potential, there will be increased disengagement and a strong reason to seek other employment.
Develop clear rules on accountability. Employees can feel particularly disengaged if this issue is not clear. Clear communication on accountability will ensure that all employees are aware of who is responsible for that and there will be no confusion on this issue.
Employee appraisal systems must be clearly understood by employees and consistently applied. The method of performance management is important. There is likely to be increased disengagement with the system if one manager has the sole judgement of an employee’s performance as it might encourage a degree of bias. A 360 degree appraisal system might be considered as an alternative.
Disciplinary issues should be dealt with in a fair and consistent manner. Disengagement will occur when employees believe there is inconsistency in this particularly sensitive area. If employees see a manager not addressing disciplinary issues, there is a sense of “why should I care then.” Employees will demonstrate higher levels of engagement if they receive appropriate levels of training and development. If employees believe that they are receiving enough career development opportunities, it will strengthen their levels of engagement.
Employee engagement is an ongoing process and must be at the forefront of employers’ minds if they are to manage organizations where employee commitment is strong. By actively working to engage employees, the organization will experience considerable benefits.