If you ask human resource specialists for the most desired trait in an employee, they are likely to tell you employee engagement. What is employee engagement you might ask? It is defined as “a heightened emotional connection that an employee feels for his or her organization, which influences him or her to exert greater discretionary effort to do his or her work.”
In other words, engaged employees work hard, do the right thing, and enjoy coming to work each day. Engaged employees also tend to be happier and more productive; they outperform disengaged employees by 20-28%!
So how do employers hire engaged people and turn the disengaged employees around? Studies have found there are several common drivers that create an engaged employee:
- Trust and integrity with managers: Do managers communicate effectively as well as “walk the talk”?
- Job responsibilities: Is the employee’s job stimulating and enjoyable?
- Understanding of role: Does the employee know how his or her performance ties to company goals?
- Career growth: Is the employee provided with opportunities for advancement?
- Pride in company: Can an employee take pride in the culture and atmosphere your company creates? Are employees given projects they find meaningful?
- Co-workers: Do employees have co-workers whom they enjoy and trust?
- Employee development: Are training opportunities provided and encouraged so an employee can grow skills and knowledge?
- Relationship with direct manager: Do managers take an interest in employees and provide guidance and mentoring when needed?
Although these concepts sound simple, they can be difficult to put into practice every day, but here are a few tips to help you create a workplace that promotes employee engagement:
- Hire experienced and knowledgeable managers and request they do one-on-one meetings with their employees on a regular basis.
- Make sure all your managers are working managers, so they know what your employees face and are willing to jump in and help solve problems.
- Ensure managers recognize and reward a job well done by giving frequent feedback that is clear and specific.
- When interviewing, try to find the person’s true passion, so he or she is able to come into a role and excel.
- If an employee has a desire to try something outside of his or her job and the time is available, then encourage it.
- Setup strategic goals and assign employees to specific tasks that help accomplish those goals. This helps employees know how their efforts are affecting the company as a whole.
- Encourage and provide funding so employees can take training courses, attend seminars, or pursue a higher degree.
- Most employees thrive in an organization which shares the same values and guiding principles as they do, so look for that when hiring.
When you ask people why they started with a company, they might tell you the job sounded interesting or they wanted to learn a particular field. However, when you ask why they stay, the answer is almost always the people. This is why it is so important to hire exceptional employees who care about co-workers, customers, and the work they do. And when you find those employees, make sure to follow the steps above to promote engagement and ensure they are around for many years.