HR Management & Compliance, Talent

Why Employee Engagement Matters and How Employers Should Foster It

Today’s competitive job market means that it’s more challenging than ever for employers to attract and retain top talent. Although acquisition is top of mind for employers, retention should be, as well.

engagement

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Disengaged employees cost U.S. companies nearly $550 billion a year, according to research from The Engagement Institute, a joint study conducted by The Conference Board, Sirota-Mercer, Deloitte, ROI, The Culture Works, and Consulting LLP. Not only do highly engaged team members show greater profitability, but they also reduce absenteeism and turnover. So, how then should employers actively engage their employees for long-term business growth?

It Starts with Awareness and Assessment …

Understanding employee engagement starts with first assessing the needs of the organization, and that comes from listening and communicating. Surveys go a long way toward identifying the current and future demands of the workforce.

According to ForceBrands’ 2019 Talent Market Report, an extensive in-depth analysis of hiring trends across the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, benefits and compensation packages proved to be the most valuable tools for talent acquisition and retention. But it’s not only today’s benefits and compensation offerings that matter; employers must also anticipate and prepare for the future demands of the workforce to keep employees happy and engaged.

With Millennials and Gen Zs set to become the largest generations in the workforce, replacing Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, these generational shifts will have many effects, among which will be the future of CPG benefits. Younger generations are bringing new expectations to the workplace, favoring work/life balance, health and wellness initiatives, and mentorship.

Employers are responding and making changes in their more traditional employee benefits packages containing dental, health, and vision insurance to accommodate the changing needs of the multigenerational workplace. CPG companies in particular plan to update their benefits in 2020 to include unique offerings like on-site pet care (12% of employers plan to offer this), free or discounted entertainment (15%), tuition or continuing education reimbursement (16%), and first-time home purchase assistance (11%).

Companies that are interested in improving the engagement of their workforce should consider looking at their employee offerings and updating them accordingly. Asking Millennials and Gen Zs what they need from their workplace and then listening to these suggestions are key. But, while communication is critical to building a healthy and engaged work culture, it’s important to remember that actions speak louder than words.

… and Ends with Conscious Team Building

Employers should actively engage with employees in and outside the office through organized team events and activities like sports, unique off-site events like neighborhood scavenger hunts, and company retreats. These opportunities allow team members to build camaraderie and help foster a sense of community. Employers should be dedicated to promoting culture and collaboration internally, which ultimately builds trust. Prioritizing these initiatives will help build a more engaged, happy team.

Employers should also be mindful that an engaged workforce starts at the top—at the leadership level. If senior-level managers are willing to take the time to share their insights, listen to their team members, and foster an open dialogue through initiatives like open office hours, the workplace will ultimately become more collaborative.

If an employee has a question, managers should give him or her the opportunity to share his or her full perspective. Leaders should leverage resources both internally and externally to help foster engagement and growth. One example of this is bringing in experts from outside the organization to better explain areas of the business that it may not be fluent in. This gives employees a broader perspective of their role and the requirements to excel in it.

An engaged workforce starts from within. An organization must look internally, assess the needs of its employees, and identify ways to foster healthy collaboration. Employee engagement is a critical component to any successful business because a company is only as strong and successful as the team that powers it.

Sean Conner is ForceBrands’ Cofounder and Chief Progress Officer who heads business development at ForceBrands. Overseeing a team of strategists and business development professionals, he works to strategically outline effective hiring strategies and organizational charts to add structure and value to high growth brands.

Conner’s understanding of client goals and their business objectives helps him scale these companies most effectively. As one of the company’s first hires, he brings enthusiasm and experience in networking to ForceBrands. His previous role helping NBA players find opportunities post-basketball solidified his passion for helping people make meaningful connections. Sean graduated from the Manhattan branch of Berkeley College with a BBA in Management. His driving force is helping people succeed.