What do you think about Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement has long been a fluffy word within the world of business.
11:07 24 November 2020
Often considered intangible, it has not always been clear to business leaders what its value is. With the pandemic sweeping across the globe, things have changed. Instead of going to the office, employees are now working from home. This has created a physical disconnect from their work, and often an emotional disconnect too. The result of this? People become less caring and can become less productive than before. This makes employee engagement a hot topic across industries.
What is employee engagement?
This seems to be an easy question, but it is not. How can we measure the engagement of an employee? Possibly before that, how do we actually define this engagement? When we think about engagement, we think about words like passion, dedicated and committed. This indeed is true. People who feel connected to their work do their job with more dedication, producing a higher quality in a shorter timespan. Methods to measure this engagement vary from having peer groups to surveys send across the company.
This is a simple but effective way to test the commitment of your employees. On a team level, you can create groups that allow people to discuss how they feel about their work. Does anything hold them back? How do they feel about the current operations? Are they still feeling motivated. Having these discussions with employees that have a similar level in the organisation allows for an honest conversation. This, in turn, helps your employees to motivate each other and look for solutions.
Surveys across the company
Another way to gather data across the organisation is by means of a survey. These surveys contain questions on a Likert scale, allowing for the comparison of the results. Based on a lot of data points, you can get interesting insights across the organisation. More specifically, you can compare different teams and groups based on their engagement. People who are dedicated to their work often are infectious to people working with them. Making sure these people are spread across the organisation can help to stimulate productivity.
Special COVID-19 surveys
In these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever to understand how your employees feel. There are specialised companies that help you to navigate this complexity. For example, you can decide to move ahead with one of the companies that create surveys. These surveys are tailored to the current situation and help you to understand how the people are feeling. As it can be distributed among all employees, it will provide you with a holistic view of the situation. Hereby you can target the specific teams that require attention.
Working towards improvements in the team
In practice, you will see that managers will be informed and work together to improve the situation in the team. The providers of the surveys can also offer next steps on how to solve the issues. Best practices can be shared and the manager can determine what best suits the personalities of the team members.
Based on that determination an improvement plan can be made. This plan includes hands-on exercises and elements that can help the employees feel better. For example, special exercises to improve the work-life balance. The actions can also be simpler, such as giving the employees more time to understand their own feelings better. Especially during the pandemic, people are starting to overthink and challenge the feelings that normally were ignored. They need to understand this and to get along with it before they can become productive again.
The companies that provide the dedicated surveys can also provide consulting services. For example, they can help the managers in setting up a plan and having the conversations with the employees. On the other hand, it is possible to have the external consultants have sessions with the employees. This can range from inspirational sessions to coaching of the individual employees.
Use industry-leading tooling
If you want to gain a holistic images of your organisation, it is recommended to use off-the-shelf tooling. This help you as these surveys are tailored to these very needs. Based on statistical methods, you can be certain that the surveys are conducted properly. This helps your organisation to gain a good understanding of the situation. Another upside? This tooling often comes with benchmarks that let you compare your results with industry-peers. It also contains points of improvement and helps you to move towards a better engagement.
A provider of this type of tooling is Effectory. This industry leader is providing all types of analytics and surveys for businesses, including a dedicated COVID-19 survey which helps you understand your employees feelings in these unprecedented times.
Business research in the field
Engagement of employees has been studied for decades in universities. Within this field, you also see that there is a shift of the understanding of the topic. The concept of an employee has shifted overtime. During the industrial revolution employees were seen as a production means to create new products. The goal was to optimise the production process. What was needed to do so? You need happy factory workers that are well fed in order to create the most products.
Studying old factories
This also becomes evident when you study larger manufacturing plants. An example can be found in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Eindhoven is home to Philips, the company that makes light bulbs. When they started with their factories over 100 years ago, they created a whole village next to the factories. Workers received a home with a garden and the kids could go to a dedicated school by Philips? The grocery store around the corner? Philips. The sports association? Philips (currently still known across Europe as PSV). This helped the company attract talented workers and improve the productivity.
Nowadays, the well-being of employees is of upmost importance. Companies should provide a similar care to them as Philips did back in the days. Making sure that people stay dedicated, productive and want to go the extra mile. In the end, it is a human relationship that needs to be managed.