The term “employee engagement” has been a hot topic for the better part of the past two decades, but there seems to be confusion as to what the term actually means. In order to know what employee engagement is, let’s consider what it is not. Employee engagement is not:
- Employee engagement is not employee motivation
- Employee engagement is not employee satisfaction
- Employee engagement is not two employees deciding to get married
Although improving employee engagement doesn’t necessarily omit the above (well… maybe the last one), the term is usually thought to be a combination of how connected an employee feels to their workplace and the level of effort they put in as a result. Engaged employees stand apart from the typical worker in their ability to go the extra mile, bring passion to their projects, and help make their organization’s vision come true.
Most organizations wish every employee was “engaged”, but studies show that only 33% of employed residents in the United States are engaged at work. So, what can your company do to boost engagement?
1. Improve Company Communications
Even if your company has decided to do away with cubicles, it can be difficult to feel connected with the person next to you if you aren’t regularly working on similar projects. It can also be difficult to explore commonalities among colleagues when employees sit on opposite sides of the office.
Fortunately, apps like Bonfyre are looking to change this. Bonfyre helps employees connect by giving them a platform through which they share updates and communicate with others about their work, hobbies, or interests. Whether it’s asking for insight on a project, making an announcement about your company’s bowling team, or sharing a recent travel tip, Bonfyre can help employees build relationships with their colleagues to feel more connected day in and day out.
Related: Improve the Employee Experience by Building Trust in the Workplace
2. Get Rid of Unsatisfying Work
Engaged employees who feel strongly about your company’s vision are going to want to feel like they are a part of helping you achieve it. For most companies, realizing this mission requires a lot of moving parts, and not all of them are particularly satisfying. Long hours of completing repetitive work can take its toll on employee happiness and make them feel like they aren’t contributing value to their organization or engaging with those around them.
As tedious as this type of work can be, however, most of it is required to be performed for your organization to continue to function properly and make smart decisions. This is why more and more companies are turning to robotic process automation (RPA) solutions for help. By deploying RPA technology, an organization can enlist the help of software bots to automate much of the busywork that makes up a significant portion of an employee’s day. This allows them to contribute more to work that is less monotonous and requires more creative and innovative thinking—work that employees usually find to be more satisfying.
3. Nurture Professional Development
When an employee joins your organization, they’re making a decision to invest their future with you. This decision is based on your organization appearing as one that will nurture their professional growth and open doors to new career opportunities in the future. Brad Shuck, an assistant professor at the University of Louisville who specializes in organizational development, affirms this notion, stating that employees who feel a company is investing in their future are more likely to have a higher level of engagement. But what does that require from the organization?
Thankfully, an impactful development program doesn’t require an extensive training budget. Instead, experts suggest organizations provide cross-training for employees to learn about the key responsibilities of other positions in addition to their own. By doing this, not only will your employees look at your organization as a more likely candidate for their next career opportunity, but they will also be granted a more holistic view of value your organization provides its customers. This can help them to quickly acclimate to new and exciting roles, ultimately providing you with a more competent and engaged workforce.