team meeting
Engaged employees work harder with better results. Disengaged employees give you table scraps PHOTO: Climate KIC

At a time when employee engagement is at an all-time low, businesses are scrambling to boost engagement, motivate employees and improve poor retention rates.

By taking a four-step strategy to re-engage employees, you can set the foundation for an extraordinary culture:

  • Hire people whose individual values align with your company’s values
  • Align individual’s goals to the CEO’s goals
  • Engage in two-way communications
  • Create a culture of rampant recognition

Combined, these four factors drive trust in senior leadership and an emotional connection between workers and your organization, which is the definition of employee engagement.

Employee Engagement Statistics

The importance of having an engaged workforce cannot be understated. Study after study shows the correlation between employee engagement and profitable revenue growth. According to Aon Hewitt, companies in the top quartile of engagement have 50 percent higher shareholder return and per Gallup, 10 percent higher customer ratings. The Corporate Leadership Council reports that engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave an organization. 

In addition, employees who are engaged have increased productivity and creativity, and record decreased levels of absenteeism, quality issues, safety issues and theft.

Employee Engagement Activities to Take it to the Next Level

For those of you who have conquered the four areas highlighted above, congratulations for understanding the importance of having a great culture. As you know, culture change is a journey, so there is always a new level which you can work to achieve. 

Once you have built a solid foundation, taking these further steps below can help effectively engage employees and ensure you see positive returns on your investment in your greatest asset: your people.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Focusing on people, planet and profits is increasingly becoming an important way organizations attract and retain new hires. Research conducted by Cone Millennial Cause found that 80 percent of 13 to 25-year-olds want to work for a company that cares about how it impacts and contributes to society. More than half said they would refuse to work for an irresponsible corporation.

Training and Development

Millennials, like many are interested in career advancement. They want to perform well, receive feedback and earn recognition for their work. Millennials will disengage quickly if they feel stuck in a dead-end job. They love to feel connected and aim for positions where they feel their skills will be put to use, so they can best help the company.

Wellness

Although 85 percent of large employers offer a wellness program, only 60 percent of U.S. employees are aware that their company offers one and only 24 percent of employees are participating. Gallup’s research shows a clear link between employee engagement and well-being. Employees whose managers have high overall well-being are 15 percent more likely to have high overall well-being.

Don’t Mistake Perks for Strategy

Perks like free beer, office dogs and Ping-Pong tables make people happy, not engaged. Happy is not the same thing as engaged. Engaged is when your employees trust leaders and feel an emotional connection to your company. Happy is when the office dog licks their face while they are drinking a beer.

There’s nothing wrong with ping pong or office dogs, but they cannot act as your employee engagement strategy.  In order to re-engage your employees and create an amazing culture, you must develop a strategic plan which focuses on the four to seven areas above.

Once your foundation is in place, by all means continue doing the things that make people happy — it’s icing on the cake.

Invest in Your Most Valuable Asset

Leaders, execute a CSR strategy, provide career training opportunities, and create a wellness program or better advertise the one you have. Because the quickest path to ensuring your company’s success is to re-engage your most valuable asset: your employees. Engaged employees give you blood, sweat and tears; disengaged employees give you scraps. Start today and you’ll create a better tomorrow.