An engaged employee is one who is fully involved and invested in the work they’re doing, and has a clear sense of their overall goals. Unfortunately, 70 percent of employees in the U.S. are “disengaged” or “under engaged,” which can negatively affect their company’s culture and bottom line. Disengaged employees often either don't know or don't care how their work should contribute to the company’s mission, so their efforts tend to be misguided.
Employee disengagement can affect your company in a similar fashion. But people don’t come to work for you already disengaged—they become that way over time when there is a perceived disconnect between employer and employee. For this reason, your company’s culture will both support and be supported by employee engagement.
Engaged employees are more productive and likely to remain with your company, meaning you can accomplish more with fewer resources. With that in mind, here are four ways to encourage engagement in your company’s workforce:
1. Make it meaningful
To put it simply, make sure your employees are doing meaningful work. While the definition of “meaningful” varies from person to person, the end result is a more productive employee. Encourage your staff to view their work as a “calling”: If they feel compelled and motivated to do the work they have chosen, and if they feel their contributions are meaningful, they will become more engaged.2. Eliminate barriers
Get rid of anything that blocks employees’ progress towards accomplishing goals. Barriers cause frustration and decrease momentum. To avoid such hindrances, make sure you’re clearly communicating your expectations, providing helpful feedback so employees can adjust their performance, and offering the right information, tools and resources to do the job.3. Recognize good work
If you’ve given your staff meaningful work with clear expectations and few barriers, they’ll likely be able to produce quality work. It’s essential to both recognize and reward their efforts. Make sure employees know that their contributions are valued and appreciated, and show them how they make a difference in the company. Employees become more engaged and motivated when they see that their work is succeeding and that their success is being acknowledged.4. Create a great culture
As we’ve already discussed, company culture influences and is influenced by employee engagement—it’s an ongoing cycle. Start by creating and fostering a workplace culture that makes your company a great environment in which to work.How can you tell if an employee is engaged after all this? Simple: Engaged employees are passionate about what they do because they can clearly see the relationship between their personal values and the mission of the organization. They feel they are making a positive difference, and more than likely, they are.
How do you promote engagement among your employees? Share with us!
Mary K. Elfman has over 20 years of experience in training and development, performance consulting, human resources and instructional design. She is recognized as a Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) by the International Society of Performance Improvement and has a degree in management from Our Lady of the Lake University.