What is Employee Engagement?
Put simply. employee engagement occurs when people are happy with their professional roles and passionate about what they do. Highly engaged employees tend to work harder as they believe in the company’s mission and trust its values.
Engagement levels are high in an organization when people are pleased to come to work in the morning. When employees have a clear vision of their tasks and find meaning in their jobs, they are more efficient and are hungry to learn more. They know where they fit in the company and feel their input is valuable. If they have a problem they know their employer will listen.
Employee satisfaction is incredibly important to an organization. Happy employees are loyal and prove to be a great asset to the organization. They are likely to tell others about the fantastic place they work, making them company advocates.
Why is employee engagement important? The business benefits of employee engagement are immense:
- Work satisfaction
- Higher productivity
- Increased profitability
- Better retention rates
- More communication
TOP 20 Employee Engagement Benefits
According to Gallup, simply measuring satisfaction is not enough. Approaching employee engagement as a business strategy yields more organic results. Highly engaged organizations share common practices and experience the following benefits:
1. Reduction in Absenteeism
Every organization is different, but absenteeism in the workplace is a common problem because it not only affects individuals, but it’s also seen as a management problem. Absenteeism is costly for a company and can spiral out of control if not addressed.
If you love what you do and where you do it, you probably won’t take days off for no reason or without consulting your manager first. You should trust your employer will give you time off when you need it. Absenteeism appears when employees are not satisfied or indifferent to their work and team, so they may take advantage of certain situations and leave work without much consideration.
To fight absenteeism you should look at the satisfaction, motivation and engagement of your staff. Improving employee engagement alone can bring up to 41% reduction in absenteeism; imagine the results you can achieve if you improve the overall employee experience in your organization.
2. Increase Productivity
One of the main characteristics of the engaged employee is their positive behavior towards the organization, as they are often the ones who believe strongly in the company’s mission and vision. This attitude makes people work harder and proactively to reach their goals, which leads to a 17% increase in productivity.
Engaged employees know that their work is appreciated and valued. They will spend less time chatting with colleagues or taking longer breaks and more time working. Higher productivity and efficiency are key benefits of employee engagement for employers.
3. Better Employee Safety
Employees who are willing to show up and are consistently engaged in the work environment have a greater commitment to quality and safety at work. When employees have the right mind set and are not distracted or stressed they can focus better, meaning they are less likely to make mistakes that can lead to work accidents.
Working in a stable and dependable workplace, engaged employees are proven to be more proactive, which results in 70% fewer safety incidents. So employers should ensure health and safety regulations are followed and up-to-date. This is just as important for factory workers as for office workers.
4. Healthier Employees
Many companies operate on the basis that a high-stress environment is the best way to motivate employees to perform at their best. The idea that co-workers are competition and not colleagues is thought to keep them productive and focused. However, research published in the Harvard Business Review points to a “large and growing body of research” demonstrating that this type of workplace environment actually reduces employee productivity over time. Studies also point to the importance of employee engagement in reducing healthcare costs to employers.
High-stress companies report spending close to 50% more on health care for employees than their more laid-back counterparts. Work stress is responsible for more than $550 million being taken out of the United States economy, according to the American Psychological Association. It also contributes to the majority of workplace accidents (60-80%) and is the underlying reason for more than 80% of doctor visits. Workplace stress has also been linked to several serious health conditions, including metabolic syndrome (a cluster of health conditions that occur together, putting the patient at higher risk for developing heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes) and cardiovascular disease.
5. Lower Employee Turnover
Just like a chain reaction, less absenteeism and higher productivity lead to motivated employees who are likely to stay in the organization longer. Engaged employees don’t look for new jobs – their positive experience in the organization leads to high satisfaction rates. . On the contrary, non-engaged or disengaged employees are constantly looking for new opportunities as their bond with the organization is not strong enough.
Depending on the overall turnover rate of an organization, business units with high employee engagement can achieve up to 59% lower turnover. This proves the importance of improving employee engagement and why it should be one of the main priorities for leaders and HR teams.
6. More Effective Leadership
Leaders who want to inspire their employees to do more must connect with them first. They need to make time for engaging with team members and getting to know employees. In return, the employees are more likely to listen to the company leaders since they understand the leaders care about what is important to them. Company morale increases, workers are excited about their jobs, and the level of employee engagement gets a boost.
7. Higher Growth
Combining all the above, we can reach a tipping point that brings the organization closer to its customers. Increasing profitability isn’t just about selling more products. Engaged employees help organic growth by improving customer relationships, resulting in a 10% increase in customer ratings. This can allow the organization to observe a 20% increase in sales and a 21% increase in profitability.
This is a perfect example of one of the benefits of employee engagement for employers. Happy staff means happy customers. And happy customers are loyal and more likely to give positive reviews and recommendations, that in return can bring new customers.
8. Better Customer Satisfaction
When employees are engaged this reflects in their attitude and how they deal with customers. Creating a positive customer experience, making the customer feel valued and a smile goes a long way in building a strong customer relationship. This equation also works between the company and its employees. Apply the same effort towards your employees to:
- Increase employee loyalty
- Strengthen their knowledge and expertise
- Receive valuable employee input
Satisfied employees are likely to make more up-sales and cross-sales, driving even higher returns on customer success management. In return, highly satisfied customers are a great PR machine as they’ll talk about what a great experience they had.
9. Better Network
Engaged employees are not afraid to exchange feedback and collaborate with each other and management to reach their goals. They know how to share information and work together as a team. Internal networking is as advantageous as external networking. Engaged employees can apply themselves to do an excellent job and are ready to take initiatives because they feel the support of their professional network.
Having a strong organizational network not only affects employees’ performance, but it creates a virtuous circle within the organization. When an employee has a bigger network of colleagues he is working with on a daily basis, usually his work gets more visibility and recognition. An engaged employee has the power to influence others by setting good examples and promoting connectivity in all its forms.
10. Encouraging advocacy
“I love my job.” Isn’t this what every employer wants to hear? Employees often talk about their work outside of the office and unfortunately negative feedback or complaints are easier to share. Whether employees’ words are positive or negative depends heavily on their experience in the organization. That’s why working on employee engagement is important if you want to encourage positive brand advocacy.
Employee advocacy is fantastic free publicity. It can lead to more loyal customers, quality applicants and ultimately higher revenues. It’s also one of the biggest benefits of employee engagement to employees themselves, since their advocacy can turn into referral bonuses if their network includes the right business audience. Incentivising advocates with work benefits and recognition is a great way to say thank you for spreading the word.
11. Boosts Employee Positivity
Positive work environment is very important for employee engagement. Learn how to nurture the positive vibes and you will see how contagious it can be throughout the organization. Positivity affects employees:
- Attitude at work
- Confidence in the company and its future
- Job satisfaction
- Business relations within and out of the organization
But how do you know if your employees are really happy? One way to find out is to conduct an in-person employee interview in order to get more personal feedback. Combine this with a short yes/no intranet survey to collect more quantitative data and you will have a good base to build stronger relationships with employees.
Why is the employee engagement survey important? Collecting regular employee engagement statistics is invaluable. One of the benefits of employee engagement statistics is that they help you understand what makes employees happy (or unhappy) and where the company can improve.
12. Stimulates Innovation and Creativity
Encouraging employees to be innovative and share their ideas is another way to build an engaged workforce. Leverage specialists’ expertise by bringing them together to work and interact on common projects. Investing time on innovation gives employees a sense of belonging and accomplishment, which in return drives a much higher added value for the business.
This can be a way to save time and resources too, as employees may come up with an idea that’s just as good without resorting to external sources. An effective way to encourage employees to submit ideas could be through a competition on the intranet, or offering employees the opportunity to join an internal R&D team. Show creativity when approaching your employees and they will respond with the same amount of enthusiasm and creativity to any task you give them.
13. Builds morale
High morale builds employee loyalty. It demonstrates that employees are focused on their job and share the vision of the company. Boosting morale is not rocket science, you can just follow some genuine steps:
- Tell people when they do a good job
- Offer rewards (not just financial)
- Ask employees’ opinions and listen to their answers
- Provide relevant information and feedback
- Offer trainings to improve skills
- Offer a structured career path
Building employee morale means being the employer that’s different. Find a way to be the employer everyone wants to work for.
14. Leads to Mutual Respect
Respect reflects trust and works both ways. If managers value their staff and allow them to do their job without micromanaging each step they will earn their respect. Yet the employee should know they can ask as many questions as they need to without feeling uncomfortable.
Likewise, respect is essential for employees who work far from their direct managers, such as remote workers and frontline workers. An employer should trust the employee to get the job done in the required number of hours, taking time off if they need it. If an employee feels they have the necessary flexibility to do their work, they will be committed and engaged.
15. Encourages Employees to Take Personal Responsibility
Employees who are fully engaged have a completely different attitude when they go to work. They aren’t interested in seeing “how much they can get away with” at work. Instead, these employees see themselves as being part of the company’s success. They keep their heads up, looking for opportunities to help their coworkers to do well since they have a stake in the result of their professional efforts at the company.
16. Makes Employees Loyal
When you think about employee engagement activities benefits, loyalty may not immediately come to mind. Employee engagement and loyalty are closely related. When employees are engaged in their work, they are emotionally invested. This emotional bond naturally helps to foster loyalty on the employee’s part.
Employee engagement is only one piece of the loyalty puzzle, though. Other factors that play a role include making employees feel appreciated, resisting the urge to micromanage workers, and giving employees the authority to make (some) decisions independently.
17. Increases Retention Rates
Employees start a new job feeling excited about the new opportunity. They are looking forward to contributing to their employer’s success and advancing in their career. For too many workers, something changes after they start their relationship with an employer.
According to the What People Want Report prepared by Hays, a significant number of employees have an eye on the door. Some of the key findings of the report include the following:
- 81% of the 2,000 professionals surveyed were open considering other jobs
- 71% of those surveyed would accept less money to work in their ideal job
- 47% of people actively looking for another job said that company culture was the primary reason
A minority of respondents (12%) stated they were “very satisfied” in their current job Employees who are engaged in their work and feel as though their contribution is making a difference are less likely to be actively looking at opportunities elsewhere. Their attention is going to be focused on their current job and doing their best for their current employer.
18. Contributes to a Happier Home Life
Engaged employees are more satisfied with their home life, according to the results of a Kansas State study. Researchers looked at how positive experiences in the workplace extend into family life and smooth the way for positive family interactions. They found that employees who are engaged at work (which includes more dedication to their daily activities and having higher energy levels) also have better moods and report a more satisfying home life.
19. Improved Collaboration
Collaboration between team members is an important aspect of running a successful company. You may have some people on the payroll who feel they do their best work on their own; however, the best results are often obtained when employees work together. It can often be challenging to achieve a strong sense of collaboration when you have team members who don’t necessarily work in the same physical office (or even in the same time zone!).
A good way to improve employees’ collaboration skills is to encourage workers to become more engaged in their roles at work. An employee who is fully engaged at work is very familiar with the employer’s expectations of them. When two or more of these highly engaged employees start sharing their thoughts with each other, they have the potential to come up with some unique ideas.
20. Lower Risk of Burnout
It is very frustrating when a company hires a promising candidate only to lose the employee to burnout. This is not an overnight problem; burnout takes months or years to develop. Once it does, the affected person needs professional help to deal with its symptoms:
- Severe physical and emotional fatigue
- Cynicism (lack of interest in work)
- Feeling of incompetence (leads to lack of productivity)
Burnout can occur as the result of a lack of employee engagement. Employees who are happy to go to work and feel excited about the work they are doing and the contribution they are making to the company are less likely to feel the sense of cynicism that goes along with feeling burnt out.
Engaged workers have a sense of purpose that allows them to feel they are competent and their talents are needed by the company. This sense of purpose also helps to keep their emotional and physical energies up, even during personally challenging times.
One final employee engagement secret
Encouraging employees to keep a good work-life balance shows you’re a caring employer. Don’t call them during weekends or when they’re taking vacation time. People need time to completely disconnect from work. And just because someone works from home doesn’t mean they should be on call 24/7. Respect people’s space and soon you’ll see improvement in employee engagement.
If you are still wondering what the benefits of employee engagement for your organization are, we have prepared a short infographic that sums up everything you need to know:
To move towards a better and more engaged workforce, organizations need to focus on the human development of individuals and teams. Employee engagement is a core concern in their value-defining strategy that is worth the investment.
Employee engagement occurs when people are happy in their professional roles and passionate about what they do. Highly engaged employees tend to work harder as they believe in the company’s mission and trust its values.