Since you’re here on the [engage] blog, you already know that engaged employees are an invaluable asset in today’s competitive workforce. You understand that engaged employees are committed, passionate, and inspired — and they inspire others with their example. But how can you foster employee engagement at your own organization?
Based on our research and experience, we’ve determined that there are eight primary elements of employee engagement that an organization needs to support in order to have a truly engaged team.
In fact, we believe so strongly in the importance of these pillars that we’ve recognized companies who excel in each area at our annual Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces™ Awards. Take a look at the list and see where your organization excels, and where you can improve.
Employees are desperate to have meaningful relationships with their managers. Did you know that praise from a direct manager is almost twice as effective at motivating employees as giving them stock options? And praise is free! In fact, the single greatest predictor of employee commitment — whether those employees will continue working at your company — is their relationships with their managers. We can’t overstate this: when it comes to engagement, good management is critical.
Wondering what makes a good manager? Start with good communication. Make sure you communicate with your employees openly, honestly, and often. Don’t shield your employees from news of business failures — they’ll only hear about it elsewhere, and hearing it from you will engender trust.
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. If you aren’t convinced, researchers at the University of North Dakota determined that investing in companies from “Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For” consistently yields a larger return than the overall market — larger, even, than investing in the S&P 500.
Rewards and recognition
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 recognition and reward 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.
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.
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.
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.
Corporate social responsibility
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.
Do any of these qualities fit your company? Good news, we're now accepting applications for the 2016 Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces™ Awards! Apply now for the chance to win this prestigious designation.