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The 8 elements of employee engagement to improve well-being and performance

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Employee engagement is crucial for organizational success, but it isn’t something that just happens — it takes a strategic approach to employee listening, surveying, planning and pivoting to drive optimal employee engagement.

As if that isn’t enough, each employee is likely to be in a different stage of engagement influenced by a variety of factors such as job satisfaction, sense of belonging, alignment with the organization’s purpose, and more.

Here’s how to identify and address the eight elements of employee engagement and to get it right in your organization.

Types of employee engagement

Employee engagement is a measure of how committed employees are to your organization and their work. It impacts everything, from retaining talent to an organization’s profits. So it’s no wonder that it’s a big focus for most HR leaders today.

There are three types of employee engagement:

  1. Engaged: these are the employees who are passionate about what they do on a daily basis.
  2. Not engaged: these are the employees who are not proactive, complete only the tasks required, and do not generally show an interest in what is going on within the organization.
  3. Disengaged: these are the unhappy employees who underperform, spread negativity, and often encourage others to avoid their work.

Based on our research and experience, we’ve determined that there are eight primary elements of employee engagement that an organization needs to support to have a truly engaged team. See where your organization is hitting the mark and where there may be room for improvement.

8 key components of employee engagement

Here are the eight elements that support optimal employee engagement:

Top 8 elements of employee engagement

1. Leadership

Leadership is a catalyst for employee engagement and performance. The first step in establishing strong leadership is to build trust between employees and their managers.

At least 63% of employees don’t trust their leader, which often translates to poor performance over time. Without a meaningful employee-leader relationship, most employees will become disengaged and will fail to reach their goals.

Simple acts of recognition can go a long way to nurturing a more positive and productive work relationship. For instance, praise from a direct manager is almost twice as effective at motivating employees as giving them stock options, and it comes without a cost. In fact, the single greatest predictor of employee commitment is their relationships with their managers.

How to be a good leader and improve engagement

Here are a few ways that managers can adopt an effective and collaborative leadership style to improve employee engagement.

  • Provide open and honest communication
  • Act as a leader but also as a follower, doing the work alongside the team
  • Exhibit enthusiasm for the work and conveying this passion to employees
  • Demonstrate a sincere interest and trust in employees, putting their needs first

2. Communication

Communication is important to employee engagement because it makes employees feel included, trusted, and helps to connect them to the organization’s mission. Building an effective internal communication strategy with your employees will help drive not only engagement, but also productivity and revenue for the business.

How communication improves employee engagement

Being transparent and authentic in your communications with employees improves their engagement by:

  • Increasing trust
  • Improving retention
  • Engaging employees
  • Building culture
  • Establishing a strong employer brand

3. Culture

A positive corporate culture results in happy employees who want to come to work every morning. Not only that, but the better the culture, the more profitable the company. Organizations with engaged employees outperform their counterparts by 202%. They also rank better in workplace safety. Organizations that rank in the top quarter for engagement had 70% fewer safety incidents. Culture is also a retention driver. Highly engaged workers are 22% more likely to say that they will not job hunt. As well, research shows that employee engagement is strongly associated with increased customer satisfaction, which is a revenue driver.

How culture improves employee engagement

  • Helps employees feel connected to each other and the organization
  • Outlines desired behaviors and expectations
  • Clarifies the employees’ role and its impact on the organization

4. Rewards and recognition

Rewards and recognition is a great way to improve employee engagement and drive productivity. More than three quarters of employees say they would work harder if they were recognized more. This includes formal recognition, like years of service or employee-of-the-month programs, as well as informal programs like company “points” or thank-you cards. A well-defined rewards and recognition system allows employers to effectively differentiate between good and poor performers and tie recognition and rewards directly to the behavior that matters for the success of the organization. What gets recognized gets repeated.

How to use rewards and recognition to improve engagement

  • Award points to employees alongside recognitions
  • Allow points to be redeemed for the employee’s reward of choice
  • Ensure that recognition is frequent and meaningful

5. Professional and personal growth

The opportunity to develop new skills and capabilities is critically important to ambitious employees. Most employee development occurs on the job in the form of new projects or responsibilities, but could also include regional conferences, new reading materials, or certification courses. Keep your employees engaged by finding out how they’d like to stretch and giving them appropriate opportunities for growth in that direction.

How to use professional growth to improve engagement

  • Provide mentorship opportunities to employees
  • Allow employees to apply their skill sets to areas outside of their day-to-day role
  • Provide a clear career path to employees so they can work towards the next level

6. Accountability and performance

Everyone wants to be part of a winning team. People who perform well feel good about themselves – and where they work. But like any team, they need coaches who can provide honest feedback. Immediate praise reinforces desired behaviors, and timely criticism can help avert future problems before they snowball.

7. Vision and values

Engaged employees understand the big picture and how they fit into it. A clearly communicated vision and statement of core values give employees something to rally around. If employees feel like a part of something bigger than themselves, they are much more likely to go above and beyond to contribute to that greater purpose.

8. Corporate social responsibility

Corporate social responsibility is conducting business ethically and contributing to the wellbeing of the community outside of the organization. Not only does this help to build better relationships with customers, it also boosts employee engagement, morale, loyalty, and advocacy by demonstrating to employees that their contributions matter to a greater good.

Employee engagement levels are twice as high among employees who say they are proud of the contributions their organization has made to the community. Successful companies tend to be deeply connected with their communities, committed to social outreach, and they encourage employees to participate in worthy causes that make the world a better place.

5 more elements that boost employee engagement

1. Performance management

Performance management is a tool that helps managers monitor and evaluate an employee’s performance. By doing so, managers are able to help employees perform at a higher level, be more successful in their role, advance their careers, and help the organization reach its goals — all contributing to increased employee engagement.

2. Organizational commitment

Organizational commitment is an employee’s level of loyalty to their work and the organization they work for. When organizational commitment is strong, employees feel connected to their colleagues and the company, are more engaged in their work, and are more invested in the business outcomes it contributes to.

3. Motivation

Motivation is the reason a person does something — it is the driving force behind their actions. When employees feel motivated, they do their best work and are more engaged. It keeps them goal orientated and focused on achieving personal and professional success.

4. Empowerment

Employee empowerment is a management philosophy that focuses on allowing employees to work autonomously and feel confident in taking action as they see fit. This type of confidence in employee decision-making lets employees feel in control of their work and outcomes, making them more engaged in their work and the organization.

5. Autonomy

Autonomy at work means that employees have control over how, and perhaps when, they get work done. This can include the number of tasks they complete, deadlines, or whether they work from an office or at home. The ability to choose some of the parameters in which an employee works makes them more engaged and productive, and more likely to stay with the company.

Employee engagement points

Above, we touched on rewards and recognition, and the value that company ‘points’ can yield. Points-based employee recognition programs allow managers and colleagues to award each other points based on a set of company values. The points are then redeemable for rewards from a catalog of items and experiences.

Employee engagement points are often a complement to monetary recognition (think salary increases, bonuses, etc.). They’re effective because the reinforce company values and culture, and reward employees with something they actually want – no more pens and mugs.

Employee engagement software helps businesses boost employee engagement while improving the employee and customer experience. Learn about the top employee engagement software platforms and how they can help you drive greater engagement across your organization.

See how you could start boosting engagement with Achievers today - Schedule a free demo

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