What is employee engagement? A guide to engaging your employees - Deepstash

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Defining Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a measure of how committed employees are to your organization and their work. It affects everything from employee retention to organizational performance to a company’s bottom line.

Engagement is driven by a wide range of factors including how frequently employees are recognized, whether organizations solicit and act on employee feedback, and whether employees are empowered to succeed.

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Employee Satisfaction

Employee engagement is about motivation and interest, while employee satisfaction deals with morale. High employee engagement makes employees hard workers and fierce advocates for their company. Employee satisfaction, on the other hand, is more about a personal sense of happiness at work. If an employee is satisfied with their job, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll go above and beyond.

Of course, engaged employees may have higher satisfaction scores, as feeling motivated makes it much easier to genuinely enjoy what you’re doing.

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Importance Of Employee Engagement

When employees are aligned with your company’s vision and form bonds with one another, they’re more likely to feel like they’re making an impact.

  • Engaged employees are more productive, provide better customer service, and brainstorm more innovative ideas.
  • Engaged employees boost business performance. It’s no surprise 71% of executives agree employee engagement is an important contributor to organizational success.
  • Engaged employees stick around as well. Business units that score in the top 20% for engagement see a 41% reduction in absenteeism and 59% less turnover.

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Drivers of Employee Engagement: Recognition

Employee recognition is the number one driver of engagement. And companies with highly-rated cultures of recognition are 2.5 times more likely to see improved employee engagement.

Frequent, specific recognition makes your team members feel welcome and valued. It keeps employees excited about their work by highlighting the positive qualities they bring to the table. And because employees know they’ll be acknowledged for the hard work they put in, they’ll continue to push themselves to perform.

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Drivers of Employee Engagement: Feedback

Employee feedback includes direct communication between employees and managers, of course, but it doesn’t stop there. Employees are more likely to be honest when they can provide feedback anonymously in employee engagement surveys than when discussing things with their manager face-to-face.

If you don’t get honest feedback, you won’t know where employee engagement at your organization currently stands or what you can do to improve it. And you have to act on that feedback to show your employees that their voices truly matter.

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Drivers of Employee Engagement: Culture

Employees who resonate with your organizational culture are much more likely to stay dedicated to your company.

Cultural alignment influences productivity, retention, and engagement. When employees feel like they fit in, they socialize more with their peers and work collaboratively towards common goals.

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Drivers of Employee Engagement: Team

Who you work with every day plays a huge role in your attitude towards your job.

A cooperative environment fosters a sense of belonging among employees. And engaged teammates serve as role models, prompting their peers to work just as hard as they do.

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Drivers of Employee Engagement: Empowerment

Employees want the resources and tools required to get their work done. Without them, employees will get frustrated and eventually lose trust in your organization. And when the going gets tough, unsupported employees are much more likely to give up rather than push through.

Employees who are empowered with everything they need to succeed work more efficiently and know that their organization cares about their performance.

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Drivers of Employee Engagement: Development

Employees want to work on projects that will expand their skill sets. As you might expect, companies with engaged employees provide ample opportunity for growth, both professionally and personally.

These opportunities show employees they are appreciated and that their employer is truly invested in their success.

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Drivers of Employee Engagement: Work-Life Balance

Employee burnout is becoming an unfortunate part of our new normal. Seventy-six percent of American employees experience burnout on the job, while 28% feel burned out “very often” or “always.” While there’s no one quick trick to curing burnout, ensuring work-life balance is truly balanced is as close as it gets.

Ensure your employees have enough paid time off (and actually use it), provide flexibility in when and where your team works, and ensure that no one has to take work home with them.

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Drivers of Employee Engagement: Expectations

If employees don’t understand what they’re expected to accomplish, or how they’re supposed to accomplish it, frustration is sure to follow. Even if job expectations are clear, that won’t matter if they’re unrealistic. While employees want a challenge, overwhelming them with task after task will only lead to burnout.

Clearly communicate what each role at your organization requires so employees can quickly determine the skills and experience they need to level up, and ensure you capture feedback on how employees feel about those expectations so you can adjust accordingly.

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Drivers of Employee Engagement: Purpose

Finding meaning in work is essential to employee engagement.

Going to work just to make a paycheck isn’t stimulating and leads to disgruntled and disaffected employees. Establish company values that your team believes in and watch engagement grow.

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Drivers of Employee Engagement: Manager Support

Managers have an enormous influence over employee engagement. Gallup found that managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores.

A bad managerial relationship saps motivation and drives employees out the door. Managers who serve as coaches rather than bosses can better communicate with their direct reports and build lasting, productive relationships.

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Drivers of Employee Engagement: Leadership and Strategy

Confidence in leaders’ ability to navigate arduous circumstances and implement sound strategies is key to building trust with employees.

When team members believe that leaders make the right decisions, they’ll do what it takes to make those decisions successful. But employees who don’t believe in their organization’s leadership have a hard time convincing themselves to give their all on a daily basis.

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Measuring Employee Engagement: The Wrong Way

The first step to improving employee engagement is measuring it. But using a cumbersome tool like an annual employee engagement survey isn’t the answer. By the time the results of these formal, large-scale surveys have been collected and analyzed, it’s months after the fact, far too late to address the issues they reveal.

Employees notice when they provide feedback and no action is taken, which only compounds the effects of disengagement.

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Measuring Employee Engagement: The Right Way

Track employee engagement in real time with tools like pulse surveys and always-on, AI-powered HR chatbots — preferably using a comprehensive employee engagement solution.

A pulse survey is a brief series of questions that track the key drivers and indicators of employee engagement. They’re easy for employees to answer using the device of their choice and can be delivered on a frequent basis to catch any troubling trends or showcase important wins.

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"The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”- John Maxwell

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