7 Factors of Employee Engagement: HR’s Manual for Success
March 26, 2019 by Aley Brown
If you’re a human resources professional in 2019, you are more than likely concerned with having a successful employee engagement strategy.
But what does having a successful employee engagement strategy actually mean? And how do you build a successful strategy?
Well, in this blog we will dive into 5 of the best employee engagement videos on the internet to help you garner a deeper understanding of what employee engagement means, and how to improve it at your organization.
But before we do that, let’s get into the basics of employee engagement.
What Is Employee Engagement, Really?
While some companies choose to specifically focus on specific areas of human resources (such as leadership development, culture, or even performance) other organizations create a broader HR strategy focusing on employee engagement as whole. This is because no other area encompasses as many different functions as employee engagement.
Employee engagement strategies include leadership development, culture, performance, and many different areas of human resources. So, by focusing on your employee engagement, you actually improve all of these other smaller areas of the HR puzzle.
According to Forbes, employee engagement can be defined as:
“Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.
This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t work just for a paycheck, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organization’s goals.
When employees care—when they are engaged—they use discretionary effort.”
So now that you have a better understanding of what employee engagement is, let’s dive into the different factors of employee engagement.
Factors of Employee Engagement: Are You Growing?
When we talk about growth, we mean everything besides your actual height (I’m 5 foot 6 inches, thanks for asking).
You should assess your employees skill levels, knowledge of relevant topics, and their competence in certain areas of their field.
So, how do you do this?
There are several different ways. The first includes asking them questions through a survey, where they do a self-assessment of their growth.
You can ask them questions like:
- Do you feel that your skills have improved in the last year?
- Are you getting the growth you need from (company name)?
- Do you feel that your skills and knowledge are in alignment with people in your position throughout your field?
I could go on with the questions, but you get the point. The answer to these questions will help you gauge whether or not people feel that they have grown – or have the potential to grow – at your company.
The alternative is much more complicated. It involves coming up with competency testing for the different positions and departments at your organization, and then testing your employees and reviewing improvements in scores.
You could come up with actual multiple choice tests, project work, or even have managers rate employees on the different competencies. You would then compile the average improvement (or deterioration) over a certain cadence and figure out the percent change for your entire organization over that cadence.
This method is definitely more complicated, but it can provide much more in-depth data about how your company is actually doing than using a survey.
Factors of Employee Engagement: “Because I’m Happy”
Cue Pharrell William’s “Happy” song!
Something that is important to note when thinking about this factor of employee engagement: employee satisfaction (or happiness) is not the same as employee engagement. It is pretty common to get the two mixed up.
For example, imagine an employee who loves coming to work because they get to sit next to their best friend and chat all day. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are engaged.
Now, imagine an employee who comes to work everyday ready to work hard to help the company meet its goals. They could be so stressed from this pressure that they aren’t happy, even though they are very engaged.
So when you are thinking about employee engagement, make sure that you understand the difference from employee satisfaction.
The ultimate goal is to make sure that your employees have an ideal amount of both engagement and satisfaction.
To measure this metric, it is a good idea to survey your employees about their overall happiness levels. Make sure to ask supporting questions as well in the survey.
Here are some great examples:
- Are you happy in your overall job?
- Do you enjoy the day to day experience of working here?
- What is your average stress level at work?
- How often do you have a “bad day?”
Factors of Employee Engagement: Employer Branding Is No Joke!
In the most simple terms, employer branding is what people think or say about your company from an employment perspective. Are you a good company to work for? Do people think you overwork your employees?
I know what you are thinking. How is this a factor? Well, a pretty big part of your employer brand is employee ambassadorship. This is how well your employees champion your employer brand outside of work.
A great representation of this could be your employee referral program. People don’t want to refer their friends and family to work at a company if they themselves don’t think the company is all that great.
You can also use social monitoring tools to see if your employees are sharing your content on their social channels and if the sentiment is mostly positive or negative.
Factors of Employee Engagement: Relationships Make a Job
Your company can have the best benefits and culture in the world, but at the end of the day, the relationships your employees have with people at your company is what retains them.
The famous quote: “People leave managers, not companies”, depicts this perfectly.
Because of this, your company should measure the strength of the relationships within teams and also between a manager and their direct reports. You can then compile this data, see if there is a trend in having strong relationships or weak relationships, and then take steps to correct the problem if own arises.
This can also be done with survey questions. You can ask employees to rate the strength of their relationship, if they have a close friend at work, and if they think they are getting the management they need to be successful.
Factors Employee Engagement: Communication
Nothing makes employees more engaged than a culture with a strong emphasis on communication.
And, since communication is such a broad scope, it is important for your HR team to analyze the different areas of communication your employees interact with, and then test the efficacy of each of them.
For example, you should consider communication from the CEO, corporate announcements, office/location communications, communication between a boss and a direct report, and communication between coworkers. Survey questions should then be designed to test each of these areas.
These questions can be as simple as: “How effective is the communication you receive about corporate announcements?”
And then from this data you could set goals for improvement, and then retest in a years time.
Factors Employee Engagement: Appreciation
This is one of the most important factors of employee engagement, because people love to feel recognized for their work.
In a recent study, researchers were able to prove that 75% employees who felt like they got recognition from their manager at least once a month reported being satisfied with their job. And those that were recognized every week? 85% of them reported feeling satisfied.
So, why do we care about this?
When people feel recognized, and thus satisfied at work, they will be more productive, and will stay at your company far longer. This improves your bottom line and improves employee retention.
To test this, you will need to ask employees a few survey questions. The first being how often their managers show them recognition, and the second asking them how satisfied they are with their jobs.
If you notice that people aren’t reporting feeling recognized, give managers at your company training about how to recognize their employees, and also develop employee appreciation programs on a broader corporate level.
Factors Employee Engagement: Health is Wealth
I know what you’re thinking. Why is health seen as a factor of employee engagement?
Well, in my opinion, they are coordinated. When someone is engaged properly at work, their health should be better. And when someone isn’t healthy, their work suffers.
Now, I’m not talking about directly asking your employees about smoking, their weight, or their family health history. I’m talking about how your employees actually feel.
Mentally do they feel healthy? Do they feel like they work in an environment that is conducive to a healthy lifestyle? Are they personally satisfied with their health?
Develop questions like this (with the help of your legal team!), to see how your employees are actually doing. And then use this data to work on improving your own company to support your workforce’s health goals.
Factors Employee Engagement: The Final Takeaway
We all know that employee engagement is a trending topic in today’s HR department.
But something that HR teams sometimes slack on is providing data as to how their employee engagement strategy is actually functioning. To fix this problem, have your team develop employee engagement metrics from the suggestions above, and then test those metrics in regularly occurring cadences.
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