HR Management & Compliance

Happy Workers are Hard Workers, Right? Right.

HR experts emphasize the role of employee engagement in creating and maintaining a productive workforce. But, what does engagement really mean? And, more importantly, how can you drive it? Vip Sandhir, CEO and founder of HighGround®, has answered a list of commonly asked questions on employee engagement.

Q. Why is employee engagement such a large focus for companies right now?

A. Employee engagement is directly connected to work culture and happiness of employees. This is particularly true now that Millennials make up more than one-half of the workforce. This generation considers instant feedback a way of life, and it’s important for businesses to implement channels that support real-time feedback, like Twitter® and Yelp®. Employees want their voices to be heard; they want to engage. It’s up to the leadership team and HR to create an engaging culture.

Executives are starting to realize that an engaged workforce is also financially beneficial to their companies. Engaged employees who feel they have a purpose within the organization are happier and stay with their companies for longer. Improved retention saves companies thousands, as it costs $50,000 to replace an average salaried staff member, according to a 2014 Oxford Economics Study. Not to mention that engaged employees are more productive and lead to higher profitability for the company.

Q. Why should executives be concerned about employee engagement within their companies?

A. It’s more common than ever for people to change jobs frequently until they find the right fit. And one of the biggest reasons Millennials, in particular, leave their current jobs is a lack of engagement. According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends, 87% of CEOs say that employee engagement is their number one issue. The same survey revealed that 66% of HR leaders are actively seeking modernized programs to support these initiatives.

Employees want to be involved in their company, and being given a chance to contribute is more important to them than ever, according to survey results from Future Workplace. According to a 2013 CareerBuilder® study, 50% of respondents said “increased recognition” would entice them to stay with a company. Small changes like implementing an employee engagement program will help keep employees happy and will keep them at the company for the long run.

Q. What strategies should HR implement to increase employee engagement?

A. The most important steps to increasing employee engagement are recognizing you need to make changes and implementing a strategy that will provide employees with engagement tools. It’s easier than ever to implement technology platforms that help build a highly engaged culture through real-time recognition and continuous feedback.

Take advantage of these technologies, because employee engagement goes far beyond parties or plaques. Employees want more than just a beer cart on Friday, they want their voice to be heard by management and to know where they stand within an organization.

With the right employee engagement application, you can set and track quarterly, individual, and team goals with objectives and key results that are aligned with company goals. Businesses can use these technologies to find out what’s most important to employees—and what key elements are missing.

According to Towers Watson, sustainable employee engagement involves leadership, goal setting, work/life balance, and empowerment. What employer wouldn’t benefit from a deeper understanding of these key focuses?

Tomorrow, more from Sandhir on employee engagement, plus an introduction to BLR’s HR Playbook, Employee Retention and Satisfaction: How to Attract, Retain, and Engage the Best Talent at Your Organization.