Employee engagement has been a top HR trend for years now. We know it’s important and we all want to increase our engagement levels, but…how? It’s notoriously difficult to raise and maintain high levels of employee engagement and beyond that, proving to your own boss why it’s so important can be hard. So here are five ways to think about the problem differently. It’s a new year, so maybe it’s time for some new thinking.
For all the thousands of articles and books on how to improve employee engagement, the overall numbers never seem to improve. Are we missing something about engagement? Does it even matter, after all? Cord Himelstein says that engagement does matter but we’re thinking about it all wrong: it’s not about complex plans, it’s about common decency. Be a great boss in a great workplace and engagement will follow.
Like Himelstein, Cha Tekeli says that we’re thinking about engagement wrong. It’s important. The data on that is undeniable, showing a strong correlation between high engagement and higher productivity and effectiveness. But just because we can measure something doesn’t meant we can approach it as a math problem. Engagement, he says, isn’t a project. You don’t need an Engagement Lead or an engagement strategy. Well, not exactly. What you need is to treat your employees well and ensure they’re challenged, motivated and acknowledged.
Engagement initiatives essentially work to reassure employees that they’ve made the right decision by working for you. They’re about reminding workers of why your company is a good place to work – or making your company a better place to work – so why not turn some marketing tactics inwards, approaching employee relations more like you would customer relations. That is, as a relationship that needs regular care and attention.
Ok, employee engagement matters, but how much does it really matter? Things get done even if employees aren’t 100% engaged, 100% of the time, right? Employee survey and research company SMD found that employee experience consistently impacted businesses. A lot. And in sometimes surprising ways.
Ok, ok, we get it. Employee engagement is important and it’s not exactly easy to improve. It’s one of those intangibles that can only be addressed through long term, consistent, positive action. Fine. But are there ways we could fine tune that? Identify points of dissatisfaction and stress, and then fix them faster? Jeanne Meister says that AI is your employee engagement secret weapon.