Employee engagement refers to the level of employee morale in an organization, and its presence or absence is the result of the culture, leadership style and working conditions the employee is exposed to. An engaged workforce not only has the skills, expertise and knowledge to do their jobs, they are motivated to carry out their functions to the best of their ability.
Signs and symptoms of employee disengagement
According to a poll, only 32% of U.S. workers. and 13% of employees worldwide are actively engaged at work, while 51% in the U.S. say they're checking for job openings or actively looking for a new job. Those numbers represent a disengaged workforce and underscore the need for employers to implement processes for measuring and boosting engagement. But, doing so requires continuous intentional effort to inspire excellence, commitment, performance and innovation.
Engaged employees are enthusiastic about their jobs and committed to achieving successful outcomes for their department and organization. On the other hand, tardiness, dropping employee morale, reduction in performance levels, lower quality of work and a high number of resignations are indications of a disengaged workforce.
Tips on raising employee engagement levels
To reduce the possibility of a disengagement, you must be proactive about raising employee morale and taking other steps to boost engagement levels. To help you get started, here are some actionable tips.
When employees do their jobs well, they should be appreciated. Letting them know that you're pleased with their contributions and the work they put in is a good way to do that. Employees need to know that their work matters and that the effort they put in is part of what makes your organization successful.
The best leaders are available, visible and approachable. They actively engage with employees, not to check up on work performance, but because they genuinely care about every member of their team. They interact with others and take the time to know them on a personal level.
Many managers and employers claim to have an open door policy, an invitation for employees to walk in and share ideas, problems or suggestions without fear of rancor or criticism. That's often not the case, however. Stepping out of the office and spending time with employees at their workstations is a better way to engage with staff, build goodwill and have a positive impact on morale.
Create a healthy work environment
Creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust affects employee engagement and helps strengthen work relationships, satisfaction and collegiality. A friendly and welcoming work environment that emphasizes esprit de corps among employees creates an overall sense of community, enhances organizational and interpersonal trust and helps boost engagement.
Organization leaders play a critical role in fostering and influencing employee engagement. Always project a positive attitude about your professional role, the work you and your employees do, the work environment, the organization and life in general. Aside from skillfully managing employees, you should be a role model that others look up to by setting a positive, professional tone and leading by example.
Maintaining a consistent optimistic outlook fills employees with confidence and helps boost morale and engagement levels. In essence, employee engagement should start from the top.
The best leaders inspire confidence in their workforce by keeping their word and engendering trust. When you consistently align your words with your actions and follow through with the promises you make, you inspire your employees' trust. Organizational and interpersonal trust can't be enforced, it must be earned.
Promoting a work environment in which individuals are appreciated, treated with civility and encouraged to have open, meaningful communication goes a long way in sparking that workplace trust. That, in turn, motivates employees to commit to the organization's mission and execute their job responsibilities with enthusiasm.
Employees do their best work when management isn't looking over their shoulders, hovering around their workstations or telling them exactly how to do their jobs. Many employees perform optimally when working in an autonomous environment in which they are allowed to make decisions collaboratively and independently that will further the goals and objectives of their organizations. That doesn't mean, however, that employees work without supervision or in isolation, it just requires management not to micromanage.
Employee engagement involves intentional, ongoing processes to inspire innovation, performance, commitment and excellence. To ensure high levels of that engagement, you must be observant, mindfully present, and enthusiastically celebrate and reward collective and individual workforce accomplishments in meaningful ways.