What is employee engagement?
This week we're taking it back to basics and answering the question asked by most workforce managers when they start their reward journey - what is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is the phenomenon where employees are fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work, and the outcome of their overall work experience. Engaged employees care about the job in hand - whatever it is, feel part of the team and align themselves with company values.
Did you know that of 30 million people employed in the UK, only 1 in 3 is engaged at work?1 We help companies aim for maximum engagement across the board using reward and recognition for desired behaviours.
- Make discretionary effort - going above and beyond to get the job done
- Are outnumbered at a rate of 2:1 by disengaged workers, who can cost the country up to £70 billion per year 2
- Create a great working environment - they're more energised, healthier, helpful and advocate for the brand3
How do engaged employees impact the workplace?
They enjoy themselves.
Engaged employees are 4 times more likely than disengaged employees to say that they enjoy what they do every day4
They work to a higher safety standard.
Engaged employees are 7 times less likely than non-engaged employees to have a lost time safety incident - SHRM Effective Practice Guidelines5
They're less likely to leave.
Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their employer than disengaged counterparts, in turn creating strong team morale and bringing down recruitment costs6
They bring in more revenue.
A study conducted across 39 organisations shows that organisations with highly engaged employees achieve 7 times greater 5 year total shareholder return than organisations with less engaged teams7
So how does all of this impact business performance?
It creates a positive culture.
Disengaged employees are negative and potentially hostile towards their organisations, but engaged teams are focused on creating value every day.
People believe in themselves and in their work.
84% of highly engaged employees believe they positively impact the quality of their organisation's products8
Customer service improves.
72% of highly engaged employees believe they positively affect customer service - Perrin - and more than half of customers would pay more to guarantee a better service9
The Service Profit Chain is in motion.
Better employee engagement leads to better performance and productivity, which leads to better customer service and increased satisfaction, in turn leading to greater rate of customer return and spend.
What happens if we get it wrong?
The top ten workplace attributes resulting in employee engagement include senior management interest in employee wellbeing, challenging work and decision-making authority. What are the risks if these elements are missing?
People get bored.
When the work is unchallenging and individuals are left to their own devices without progression or guidance, boredom strikes and productivity dips as employees find other ways to occupy their time.
People feel undervalued.
When managers fail to engage employees by building a great working relationship, recognising achievements and setting them up for success, employees soon feel forgotten, left behind and undervalued.
Toxic disengagement spreads.
At best, disengaged employees skate by doing the bare minimum and leave when they find another job. But at worst, they spread their discontent among the team, actively causing others to switch off and lose faith.
How do we improve employee engagement?
Employee engagement is not static, and taking the time to build an engagement strategy can make a huge improvement to staff morale, company culture and the level at which your company operates -and it's a constant work in progress.
Conduct a survey.
Most companies with upward trending levels of employee engagement conduct annual employee surveys10. To find out what employees want, ask them.
Train and equip managers to build great relationships.
In environments where managers are forthcoming with employee recognition, engagement is increased by almost 60%, so give managers what they need to recognise with verbal praise, points or gifts11
Offer clear progression.
Engaged employees are less likely to leave their workplace, but is their effort worthwhile? Give employees a guarantee of progression by mapping out development, and highlighting individual opportunities.
Give meaningful feedback.
When employees feel meaningfully recognised, 85.5% will go above and beyond their formal responsibilities to get the job done12 - and receiving useful feedback goes a long way to inspiring dedication.
Formally celebrate achievement.
66% of employees base their decision to stay at a company partly on the incentive programs offered - Intelispend, and 38% actually consider lack of recognition to be a hindrance to productivity13, so incentivise and celebrate achievements using a formal program that maps, and rewards, success.
Reward best behaviours.
Rewarding best behaviours helps to align efforts with strategy, promote and encourage teamwork and achievement, and helps people to grow and develop by reaffirming the behaviours managers want to see again.
How can we reward within a budget?
Rewarding employees for a job well done is a proven way to boost employee engagement, build a great company culture and invest in people, and we know that non-cash rewards including gifts, vouchers and points result in a higher work performance over cash. So how do you build a formal reward scheme that does the job, and stays within budget?
Save and spend points.
Offer points as rewards for best behaviours, which employees can save up and spend on something they love. Points can be awarded at any value, and saved up in a personal account on your bespoke rewards site.
Send instant gifts via text or email, and invite employees to choose their own reward by spending their digital voucher code online at high street shops, or on your own bespoke rewards site with a specially selected gift catalogue.
With gifts, managers are empowered to select a gift - small or large - to say thanks for a job well done, wish a happy birthday, mark a long service achievement, or incentivise sales. Writing a meaningful message for the gift card adds a personal touch.
When it comes to reward, we know that acknowledging individuality helps make the moment ever more memorable, so equip managers with the power to choose something really individual for their rewarded employee, by making an expansive catalogue available, or encouraging them to go off-catalogue and think outside the box.
With a Simply Thank You reward program, bespoke branding is included as standard, so your rewards website will be fully branded with your company colours, logos and theme, and gifts will all arrive packaged in pantone matched paper, logo ribbon and personalised message card, to bring home the message that your company cares about its employees.
Ready to get started? Head to our Employee Rewards page to see what we'll include in your program, check out our White Papers to get to know more of the theory and mechanics behind the psychology of reward, or get in touch to speak with one of our experts.
- Dale Carnegie
- Gallup State of the Global Workplace 2013
- Wall street Journal and iOpener Institute
- Gallup State of the Global Workplace 2013
- Employee Engagement and Commitment
- Corporate Leadership Council
- The Impact of Employee Engagement, Kenexa
- Defaqto Research
- Decision Wise, the State of Employee Engagement Report 2016
- Towers Watson
- Modern Survey