As companies look to find new ways to grow and develop, they are increasingly turning their focus to the subject of employee engagement. From staff retention and performance to increased efficiency and business growth, there are numerous reasons why it’s garnered so much attention in recent years.
Join us as we explore the benefits and statistics surrounding employee engagement, as well as some of the strategies that your organisation can implement to get ahead of the game in 2022 and beyond.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is a term used to describe the relationship between an organisation and the employees of that organisation. Generally speaking, the higher the level of staff engagement, the better that organisation will perform.
The concept of employee engagement – and more importantly, how to increase it – has become a talking point in the areas of human resources and internal communications.
Why is it important?
For many companies, the people are their most valuable asset.
When the individuals within an organisation feel engaged in what they do, it raises performance levels across the board and helps to drive business growth. They’ll approach their day-to-day work with greater motivation, enthusiasm, and purpose, resulting in a ripple effect that permeates all areas of the company.
When those individuals don’t feel engaged, the opposite is true. And this disengagement is estimated to be costing US businesses alone between $450 billion and $550 billion in lost productivity every year.
What are the benefits?
Okay, so now we know what employee engagement is and why it’s a strategically important area for a business to focus on. But what are the specific benefits of increasing this metric?
- Employees are more likely to stick around – always useful!
- They’re more likely to recommend the company to others.
- Reduced risk of stress and burnout.
- Improved productivity and efficiency.
- Better customer service and retention.
- The business will be easier for leaders to run.
- Those leaders can then focus on areas that deliver greater value and growth.
To understand the disadvantages that come with low employee engagement, simply flip all of these points on their head. Not exactly a pretty picture, but fear not – we’ll be diving into the strategies and ideas you can adopt to help you improve in this area.
Just before we do, let’s remind ourselves of the current landscape… 🔎
Statistics and trends
Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many workers to take stock of their situation. One survey by McKinsey, which explored how companies can help their staff find meaning in the workplace, showed that nearly two-thirds of US employees said the pandemic has caused them to reflect on their purpose in life.
Another 2021 study of workers in the UK and Ireland found that 38% planned to change roles in the next 6-12 months, while a 2021 survey by Microsoft showed that 41% of global workers considered quitting in the next year.
Here’s a little more food for thought:
- 85% of employees worldwide are not engaged in the workplace…
- …with UK employee engagement levels as low as 11%
- 71% of executives believe employee engagement is crucial to their company’s success
- 89% of employers think that their employees leave for more money…
- …but only 12% of employees actually leave for more money
- 33% of professionals leave their job because they’re bored or need a new challenge
- Employees who feel their voice is heard are 6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work
- 87% of employees expect their employer to support them in balancing work and personal commitments
Employee engagement strategies
Now let’s get to the good stuff! Below you’ll find a series of ideas, strategies, and tools to boost employee engagement within your organisation:
- Ask for feedback (and take action)
- Build strong teams
- Gamify your approach
- Ensure clear communication
- Provide opportunities for growth
- Prioritise wellbeing
- Consider CSR
Ask for feedback (and take action)
It may sound startlingly obvious, but one way to increase employee engagement is to simply give employees a voice and listen to what they have to say.
Whether it’s a monthly chat with a manager, quarterly appraisals to provide feedback, anonymous surveys, or simply encouraging an open environment where everyone is heard and acknowledged, it can do wonders for your workplace.
The important thing is that senior leaders and managers then act on what they learn. By cultivating a culture in which employees feel that their opinions are valued, they’ll be more engaged and willing to contribute to the success of the organisation.
Build strong teams
Building tight-knit teams is an investment that will ultimately yield better business results. What’s more, with highly engaged business units estimated to achieve 59% less staff turnover, those teams are likely to stick together for longer.
Whether it’s a regular trip for food or drink, a larger organised event, or a little healthy competition in the workplace (more on that below), team-building activities bring people together through experiences, challenges, and stories shared.
Gamify your approach!
When it comes to improving employee engagement, few strategies are more effective than gamification. As a company that designs and develops white label branded games, we’ve certainly seen this in action. 😉
Gamification works because it taps into our basic human instinct to compete and be rewarded. When done in a light-hearted way, it provides employees with a fun experience that brings them together and challenges them to beat one another.
Take Greene King, who used a game to increase engagement with their employee app by 14%. Or Kwik Fit, who decided to provide staff across different regions with an online office party after a difficult year. Derivco Sports went down the digital advent calendar route, with a four-game bonanza that brought colleagues together during the festive period.
Ensure clear and transparent communication
From daily stand-up meetings to regular email bulletins and HR software solutions, there are numerous internal communication methods to enhance employee engagement. For larger organisations – and particularly given the rise of remote/hybrid working – it has become increasingly important to keep people in the loop and updated with company news.
By maintaining clear and transparent communication channels with staff, they’ll have a better understanding of what’s going on. Individuals who can see the bigger picture are more likely to understand the importance and purpose of their role within it.
Provide opportunities for growth
As Benjamin Franklin famously said: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
Wise words when you consider that an estimated 68% of employees have changed jobs in recent years because of a lack of learning and development opportunities. Moreover, 94% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career.
Clearly, workers place high value on having opportunities for training, development, and career progression. If they find themselves in a workplace where they don’t feel challenged, aren’t solving problems, and aren’t learning something new, it’ll be all the easier to jump ship when the next opportunity pops up.
While high levels of employee engagement and commitment are great, organisational leaders need to ensure that they’re not running their workforce into the ground. One Gallup study found that burned-out employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day and 2.6 times as likely to be actively seeking a different job.
Needless to say, a general culture of openness to speak up about any issues provides a solid basis for promoting wellbeing in the workplace. Building on that, specific strategies include offering flexible working hours, healthy-living initiatives (think gym memberships, cycle-to-work schemes, free counselling), and respecting out-of-office hours and holidays.
Consider corporate social responsibility (CSR)
Whether it be charity fundraising events or paid volunteering days for employees to contribute their time to a good cause, people love to know that their organisation is striving to make a positive impact. Corporate social responsibility can manifest itself in many different ways, and a relatively small investment can work wonders.
Just take the example of one of our clients, who in 2021 ran a ‘Christmas Conga’ game competition with players put into a prize draw for a charity donation. The game was played over 20,000 times with a combined total of £1,000 donated to charity – an employee engagement double-whammy!
Measuring employee engagement
Employee engagement isn’t exactly easy to quantify, and so it helps to implement goals before trying to measure the impact of the strategies outlined above.
Regular pulse surveys or score cards are a good way to measure specific KPIs, with quantifiable values that you can track over time. On the other hand, questionnaires requiring written answers will provide more qualitative feedback.
At the end of the day, nothing beats simply talking to your colleagues. Whether you’re a small business with no HR policies or a large global company with a clearly defined framework, it’s important to make time for regular reviews and appraisals.
Listen carefully, take action to address any shortcomings, and you’ll be on a good path to ensuring that employees are happy and engaged in their activity.
Want to find out more?
As we mentioned above, we’re all about branded games here at Peek & Poke. If you’re interested in learning more about how they work and how they can help you meet your specific objectives, check out some of the handy resources below:
- Gamification in HR Examples
- A Guide to Brand Engagement
- Branded Game Success: It’s All in the Briefs
- Case Study: Greene King Running the Pubs
And that’s a wrap! 👋