What Is Employee Engagement?

What Is Employee Engagement?
Starting and maintaining any business requires specific fuel. When your employees are motivated and satisfied, they’ll drive all your activity seamlessly and efficiently, without any need of coercion. No matter whether you organize your work online or offline: if your colleagues are engaged enough, they’ll run all tasks and take their own initiative in making your company better. Now, reaching this is our central theme.

That’s what matters most during your entrepreneurial journey, much more than money, actually. Investing in staff engagement beats most of the problems that will inevitably arise during your journey. As you’ll see, while salary is an important aspect of your job position when employee search for a job, it isn’t at all a determining factor when there’s a talk about their motivation. Everything can be solved with human wit and creativity, and people usually appreciate their own achievements and valuable social connections much more. Here, we’ll explore and understand how to create such a place at your work. We’ll see what researchers and business experiences can tell us about it.

Lastly, you need to equip yourself with an employee engagement app to streamline and automatize all processes, making it much easier for employees to complete tasks, work, and learn. You’ll use a motivational arsenal of such tools, such as badges to distinguish employees and reward scores that can be used for some purpose. The high interactivity of their learning and task organization systems ensures that using them will be interesting for employees, reinforcing their brains to do that again and again. And, lastly, you can personalize all their experiences, using such tools to assign only those tasks that are in accord with their skills, desires, and responsibilities. These three points, as we’ll see, are crucial here.

Let’s start with the definition.

Employee engagement definition

What do you need to drive? Which buttons and levers do you need to push to create the necessary flows in your organization? Let’s start our story from the beginning.

Neurobiologists and behavioral scientists explored this topic since the late 19th century, while philosophers and thinkers from ancient times developed some concepts that can be seen as early employee engagement strategies. Plato and Aristotle, for example, distinguished between the desire, driving people to do something, free human choice, and the deliberate push of circumstances. These Ancient Greek philosophers believed that people could clean their souls using the feeling of internal balance, and from this position they’ll take all their responsibilities calmly and with full power, completing their goals.

Sure, that’s not enough for us now, as we need something more specific and applicable.

Lately, psychologists developed more advanced theories, based on scientific evidence rather than mere thinking. Behaviorists like B.F. Skinner developed a theory of rewards and punishment to condition people’s activities by reinforcing their brains, while other scientists dive much deeper. You could hear about Maslow’s theory of needs, where he used a pyramid-like diagram to classify the needs from the most universal one, but the ERG theory (existential, relatedness, and growth) is even more viable here. Being an advancement of Maslow’s pyramid by psychologist Clayton Alderfer, it explores the existence, relatedness, and growth needs of a human being, especially in relation to their work activities. You can see the scheme below.
But now, let’s go to its implementation.

How to use it

Good employee engagement ideas pay attention to those concepts, as they’re based on how human minds work. So, they should target the employees’ needs to be satisfied, interconnected with others, and grow.
Employee protection
includes not only a competitive salary but also good treatment and, possibly, various programs that help employees maintain a work-life balance.
Social interconnection
is an essential part of the human psyche: we are all inherently social, even the most introverted ones. Send feedback, initiate productive discussions, and make sure all communications are vibrant and meaningful.
Interests and interactivity
includes various activities, including those loosely related to work. For example, many companies have gyms and even swimming pools at the workplace, so their employees are happy to return to their offices again and again.

Grow opportunities i
nclude the presence of development facilities for employees, so they can advance to higher positions, creating more value and earning more money. For that, you should have educational materials and efficient workflows.
Attainable and challenging goals
are those that motivate best: they’re not standard but still can be reached by consistent and creative work. Conversely, avoid vague tasks like “create something I don’t know what” as they only cause confusion and frustration.

Why staff engagement is important

We informed you at the beginning that motivation is more important than even money, the second most important element in business. According to the BusinessBalls survey, insufficient money is the fifth reason for leaving, not even the second. A lack of growth opportunities and self-realization is the primary one. Another important reason is a lack of interest and emotions at the workplace, meaning that there are no vibrant social connections and interesting activities. That’s an example of staff engagement measuring, showing which criteria correspond to employee retention and productivity.
As we see, companies that pay sufficient attention to making their workplace engaging, interesting, and unique, will be more likely to beat others. People like places where they can realize themselves and feel connected. A high salary is typical for such places, as a consequence of the great success of such responsible and creative companies in the world, but it isn’t a fundamental criterion.

Concluding all of that, staff engagement means connecting employees with their workflows and workplaces, ensuring that they’re working at their full without burnout. And that’s what you should reach first, including that into your company’s vision and mission.

Benefits of employee engagement

Let’s quickly evaluate how much you can reach. According to the consulting company DreamMaker’s numbers, only 15% of employees surveyed are motivated at work, while motivated ones work at least 20% better and have an 80% lower chance of quitting. Such employee engagement statistics show how beneficial is the high motivation for the modern world. It’s the most valuable resource, enabling to overcompete everyone and save costs, retaining the best employees. If the motivational mechanisms at your workplace work well, it’ll not only produce high-quality goods and services, but also will evolve consistently, changing the world to better and, consequently, earning many benefits.

Employers and company management around the world understand the importance of staff engagement and motivation, as it enables them to save a lot of money and nerves. Not only it’s much more ethical towards employees, but it’s also beneficial for the company itself. According to the Gallup surveys, the percentage of motivated employees, while still low, is growing and is higher than in years before. It means that the progress in continuing, and ensuring the high motivation now is especially viable to not be overcompeted and pushed out of the market.

Lastly, we should mention the connection between employee engagement and retention, as it’s another important expense point for any company. While some companies, such as retailers, will inevitably have high turnover, each fired or departed employee will cost you at least several thousand dollars, and in the case of top competency talents, total losses can be up to 200% of their annual salary! If you’ll invest some time and money in improving employees

And we’ll explore how to do that.

How to improve employee engagement

As you’ll see, methods that worked before will hardly work today, especially if you want your employees to remain satisfied and pay them competitive salaries. We’ll summarize it here.

According to Forbes, almost 40% of the U.S. workforce work remotely at least partially, and this number will rise steadily in the next 3-4 years. Online employee engagement activities become important for companies, as traditional team building and command-administrative approaches are inefficient for most industries. They include engagement using interactive learning materials, task assignments, and rewards for the best performers. Along with that, those who perform worse should have opportunities to improve their results using their own attempts.

There is a difference between intrinsic and external motivation, one caused by the person’s internal desires and the external conditions and connections that drive one to do anything. To improve employee engagement, you need to ensure both types. Intrinsic motivation enhancement requires knowing the interests, desires, and proficiencies of each employee, so you’ll provide materials for them personally. External motivation relies on social interconnections and interactive workplaces, so regular communications, growth opportunities, and social protection will work here well.

Along with these approaches, you also need software to automatize all your motivation processes and ensure their stability. Thus, modern employee engagement solutions are combinations of a good approach suitable for your company, and the management tool, examples of which we’ll see below.

How to choose employee engagement software?

To wrap all of this up, let’s explore the modern-world instruments that help companies improve employee engagement and satisfaction. Employee engagement platforms include various management software, from learning management systems (LMSs) to project management and HR tools. Each of them has its distinctive features and it’s beyond the scope of this article to describe them: read about it here. Below, however, is a shortlist with three software types great for our purposes.
Choose an LMS
if your primary goal is knowledge-sharing and education. For organizations where you need to quickly teach workers some skills, they are highly beneficial. Choose the one based on which content generation and personalization features you need. Examples are our CleverLMS, and also Absorb and TalentLMS.
Choose an HR tool
if you have to manage large numbers of people, especially with high turnovers. Their employee engagement tools are usually dedicated to helping them fulfill documents and measuring how they are satisfied based on various metrics, so choose these tools based on which work elements they automatize and how well they track your
Choose a project management tool
if you have project-based work with clear deadlines. They enable clear task planning and deadline setting with discussions and select the one based on how much you need to communicate, discuss anything, and how many projects you need to complete at once. Examples are Slack and Asana.
Lastly, remember that LMS and other platforms are no more than tools: everything depends on your own ideas, creativity, and knowledge. Be sure to plan and launch employee engagement programs to guide colleagues. For example, create personalized coaching programs for them based on their skills, needs, and desires. They’ll bring more value for your company while becoming stronger and more motivated. Also, you can take an example from Google and promote the independent project activities of your employees, taking advantages from them.

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