Employee engagement is definitely a buzzword that has been discussed greatly in the business world over the last few years. While some of these buzzwords and hot topics tend to be in vogue for a while then fall away when people realize they were more of a trend than anything else, employee engagement is one that seems likely to stay, and for good reason.
What really is employee engagement, though? What does it look like, and how can I improve it in my small business?
To get to the bottom of this and find some answers, we asked a few of our experts for their thoughts on employee engagement, and here’s what they had to share with us.
What does employee engagement mean to you?
Kate Schuh, M.A., Client Service Coordinator (Houston):
“To me, employee engagement looks like positivity and enthusiasm.
It’s when an employee feels excited about the work that they are doing, and feels a strong, positive correlation between the work they do and the advancement of the company.”
Rosario Arias, Human Resource Professional:
“A good example of employee engagement to me is a staff that has a great connection with their employer.
They feel mentally stimulated and motivated to strive to do their best. They have a sense of pride in the work they do and the company they work for. They feel valued and appreciated by the company. They trust and respect leadership and vice versa.”
Tad Mukai, Client Service Coordinator (Anaheim):
“To me, employee engagement means the degree to which an employee is taking ownership of his or her job.
An employee who is not engaged is at work watching the clock, and is in it only for their paycheck. A fully engaged employee is someone who: cares about the quality of their work, cares about the result of their work (great service to clients, great products, etc.), and cares about the reputation and success of the company.
Fully engaged employee are invested in more than just themselves.”
Chrissy Rice, CPP, National Payroll Manager:
“The employee is fully participating in their job.
They care about their job, have a great work ethic, and care about the people around them. Meaning, their co-workers, customers, or whomever they touch on a day-to-day basis. And understanding that it trickles downstream or upstream, for that matter. Enthusiasm is usually contagious.”
What one piece of advice would you offer to a client who wanted to improve their employee engagement?
Kate Schuh, M.A., Client Service Coordinator (Houston)
“I think a piece of advice I would give to a client that wants to improve employee engagement would be to make the employees feel like their performance and opinions matter.
If the employee feels that their thoughts, feelings, and performance matter to the organization as a whole, as well as their supervisors, then they will be more likely to work to make the company successful.
Positivity breeds positivity.”
Rosario Arias, Human Resource Professional
“I suppose that a good way to improve employee engagement is in conjunction with a collection of metrics via a survey. But since most of our clients operate on a smaller scale, I would recommend implementing a strong retention plan by holding supervisors more accountable.
They are the ones in the trenches day-to-day and interact daily with staff.
No matter what perks an organization may offer,if the supervisors are not deemed very trustworthy or respected by their teams, all efforts become futile. No employee ever states, ‘My boss is a jerk, but I hang on for the free snacks in the pantry and the awesome employee picnic.’
- Train your supervisors how to better improve employee relations and be leaders, not just managers/supervisors.
- Having a strong training and development program also incites employees to stay with an organization knowing there will be opportunities for growth.Lastly, it helps to do stay interviews.
- Talk to your staff, your key performers, your leaders, ask them:
1. Why do you stay?
2. What are we doing right?
3. What can we do better?”
Tad Mukai, Client Service Coordinator (Anaheim)
“I would advise a client who wants to improve employee engagement to show appreciation to their employees. Make sure the employees see the impact that their work has on the success of the company.
Make sure the employee understands that there are no unimportant jobs. Every job is vital to the success of the company.”
Chrissy Rice, CPP, National Payroll Manager
“Get to know your employees.
Most of the time, your employees are working because you care about them and show it in some way. You can show appreciation in small ways. Trust is also a big factor. Your employees have to trust you. To this question I say, ‘So goes the leader, so goes the team.’
If the leaders are negative nellies, then their employees are probably following suit.”