Whether you consider your employees treasured members of the family or just an extra pair of hands, their performance likely has a bigger impact on your business than you may realize.
Research by the Aberdeen Group found that companies focused on engaging employees reported improvements in:
- Customer satisfaction / loyalty
- Turnover / retention
- Percent of key vacancies filled internally
It may be easy – especially in a down economy – to operate on the premise your employees should be happy, engaged and productive because you provide gainful employment. And they may be happy, but are they engaged? Competent employees have the ability to aid your business and assist with operational duties. Engaged employees grow your business and improve your bottom line.
“Satisfaction could indicate the individuals are happy their paycheck comes on time, or that they appreciate the fact they have health care benefits that protect their family, or that their schedule doesn’t interfere with their other time commitments at night or on the weekends. It doesn’t necessarily reflect any connection with the priorities of the organization,” says Mollie Lombardi, a senior research analyst of human capital management for the Aberdeen Group.
An increasing number of businesses are making efforts to increase employee engagement. Best-in-class companies have found employee engagement levels increase significantly by improving new-hire policies, frequently through the use of talent identification software in the pre-employment screening process, fostering better communication between managers and employees, and establishing an employee recognition program.
“In multiple interviews with end users conducted as part of Aberdeen’s research, one of the themes that came up time and again was that individuals felt most engaged with their work when they were working on something they knew truly mattered to the organization and could see their progress and/or receive feedback based on those priorities,” says Lombardi. “When the goals of the organization are clearly articulated, individuals see where they fit and can align their activities and behaviors with those goals and feel engaged with their work.
“Top strategies cited to improve employee engagement in the study are: aligning employee goals and development to business priorities, improving leadership skills of frontline managers, and communicating core values and the mission to employees.
Frequent and thorough communication between employees and managers provides a quick and easy boost to engagement levels. One way to accomplish this is to hold weekly scheduled team meetings, where managers educate the team on how their actions support the goals of the company. Employees are more likely to become engaged in their work when they can see its effects on your business.
“By holding on to key talent and focusing on a culture of development and performance, companies are able to deliver a quality experience for customers to drive loyalty, which leads to increased revenue and market position,” says Lombardi.
Research found that best-in-class companies with high levels of employee engagement overwhelmingly shared the following characteristics:
- Performance goals are agreed to
- Development plans are agreed to
- Managers provide regular, informal feedback
- Employee recognition program in place