What is engagement? The term can mean different things to different people. Some equate it to job satisfaction or commitment. Although these are both important elements, they are not necessarily the ones that will have a direct impact on business performance. Your staff may be satisfied and may like working for you but the real test is do staff like it here, do they want to stay and will they go that extra mile. Being able to understand that and measure it is a real differentiator for companies.
Full engagement represents an alignment of maximum job satisfaction (“I like my work and do it well”) with maximum job contribution (“I help achieve the goals of my organisation”). This is a real win-win situation that meets the needs of the organization and staff. It’s the panacea that savvy organizations strive for in order to effect the bottom line. Employers want engaged staff because they deliver improved business performance; a fact demonstrated many times by research. The independent research organization Gallup found that organizations with engaged staff have lower turnover, higher growth, better productivity and better customer loyalty.
Given the clear association between engagement, job satisfaction, and performance, there is every incentive for management to seek to drive up levels of engagement among their workforce. Employers should consider: allowing people the opportunity to feed their views and opinions upwards as this is seen as the single most important driver of engagement. In addition keeping employees informed about what is going on in the organisation is also seen as crucial. Different groups of employees are influenced by different combinations of factors, and managers need to consider carefully what is most important to their own staff.
So how do you build an engaged workforce?
The first step is to measure the current level of employee engagement. This includes staff’s perceptions on a range of dimensions including for example, reward & recognition, communications, personal development, leadership and work/life balance. Without this benchmark organisations will find it impossible to judge what areas they have right and where they need to improve.