Everyone is interested in the concept, especially in the wake of a millennial generation taking over the workforce.
Tim Rutledge in his book Getting Engaged: The New Workplace Loyalty, explains that a truly engaged employee is one who is attracted to and inspired by his work (“I want to do this”), is committed (“I am dedicated to the success of what I am doing”), and fascinated (“I love what I am doing).
Engaged employees: What do they do?
Engaged employees are those who are hardworking, innovative and are a driving force towards their organization’s progress. They are always willing to walk that extra mile and work with tremendous passion. They personally believe in the common goals that their company aims at achieving. An actively engaged employee is one who loves going to work and is passionate about what they do every day. These are people who give their best and hold themselves accountable for whatever goes on in the business – good and bad. They have their priorities set for each passing day and they regularly ideate for better outcomes for products and services.
Disengaged employees: What do they do?
Disengaged employees on the other hand are people who do not feel a sense of profound connection with their organization. There are two kinds here – employees who are actively disengaged and employees who are not engaged. It is important to understand the difference between the two, as both of them can lead to very different outcomes.
An actively disengaged employee is one who sets out to damage the reputation of your company. They are unhappy themselves and they will do whatever they can to express it and also let the world know of their disinterest and detachment. Not engaged employees on the other hand are those people who are not passionate about their work, but are not completely dissatisfied.
Here, it is important to understand that employee engagement is not the same as employee satisfaction. An employee can be satisfied with the salary that gets transferred to his bank account every month, but still might not be motivated or committed to the cause he is working for.
Measuring Employee Satisfaction
Measuring employee satisfaction levels and finding ways to increase it can not necessarily improve employee performance. If an ace worker puts in his papers or displays some sort of indifference towards his work, an immediate raise offered to him to make him ‘satisfied’ might not be the solution. In fact, it might end up creating a negative impact on your company. Not engaged employees come to work every day and do what is told to them, without necessarily being visible or under the spotlight. With the right strategy in place, such employees can be converted into actively engaged employees. Managers and leaders will play a crucial role in achieving this.
What’s the Million Dollar question?
Now that we know the meaning attached to engagement, the question is – why should companies focus on such creating a workplace with an engaged workforce? Is it even important to consider how motivated your employees are towards their work? Shouldn’t we ask questions like why will an employee be so serious about his job? It is after all a means to various ends – like paying for the house loan, paying for groceries or buying a car. After all, the company is also paying the employee for its own reasons, right?
Well, turns out, companies cannot afford to think like this. As much as key business issues take shape during meetings, the fact remains that employee engagement is one of the biggest challenges that organizations deeply struggle with. It is all the more challenging to create an engaged workplace as it deals with emotions.
Numbers speak for themselves!
Studies across the globe have time and again come up with facts that emphasize on the correlation between engagement levels and business growth. The numbers revealed by such studies show employee engagement undergoing a crisis.
For example, the Gallup Management Journal in their latest semi-annual Employee Engagement index says that only 29% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs. These are the very same people who work with tremendous passion and believe in the values that the company strongly vouches for. The rest 54% employees are not engaged. These are the employees who come to work, do as they are told and go home. They work just because they have to, not because they want to. The rest 17% of employees were found to be actively disengaged. Now these employees are a threat to any organization as discussed above. These are the employees who can give you a bad review at Glassdoor and never recommend working with you to their friends.
Real-time impact of Employee Engagement
Now that the numbers highlight the fact that employees worldwide are disgruntled and unhappy at the workplace, there are also several case studies which have thrown light on the practical significance of an engaged workforce. For example, New Century Financial Corporation which is a specialty mortgage banking company in the U.S. found that account executives in their wholesale division who were actively disengaged produced 28% less revenue than their colleagues who were engaged. Those who were not engaged generated 23% less revenues than their engaged counterparts. A recent global survey by Aon Hewitt also found out that a 5% increase in employee engagement levels led to a 3% increase in revenues. Hence, engagement levels actually drive results.
How can companies ensure that their employees feel happy and connected to their workplace? Is it about flexible working hours, or free lunches or a game room? What is it that companies can do to make sure employees care about the future of the company and treat it like their own?
Companies need to start thinking about such issues and strategize their policies in a way that lets them create an engaged workforce. It is important to focus on people, interact with them and make them feel wanted, rather than treating them like mere employees. You should treat people well, listen to them and present them with non-monetary rewards and recognitions from time to time. Providing them a room for growth and giving them the assurance that they are building their career by working with you are one of the few ways you can keep them focused and goal oriented.
Today’s employees are smart and they know what is genuine and what is not. They also have a lot of options and not treating them right could cost you some great talent. Respect that fact and make them feel valued. After all, it goes beyond that amount in the pay cheque.