Orchestrated effectively, the benefits of an engaged workforce are many, and they go way beyond the bottom line. Some are tangible and others less so. Yet, as we’ve seen across a wide range of industries and environments, engaged workers are happier and healthier humans. They have a sense of purpose and lead more fulfilling lives. So, what is “employee engagement,” exactly, and how do we get it? It refers to your employees’ involvement and personal investment in the success of your business, as well as their own — and can include psychological, physical and emotional components.
A recent Gallup study reported that a staggering 67.3% of U.S. employees are not engaged in their current roles, and this number has been gradually increasing. Clearly, employee engagement is no longer a “nice to have.” It’s a priority. Lack of employee engagement erodes morale and productivity rapidly, because uninvolved workers can threaten the success of their own companies. In addition, they can be actively negative, and we know how a bad attitude can trigger a chain reaction of opposition.
Gallup goes on to say that part of this rising figure could be related to an increasing number of millennials in the workforce. They are extremely digitally connected, yet they appear to resist attachment to institutions and employers. Born between 1980 and 1996, millennials are true digital natives. They text, tweet, and instant message. They build their identities and connection online through social media and electronic communication. In-person communication often comes second.
Still, it’s not just employee happiness or satisfaction that matters, but how their emotions directly impact their performance and productivity. As entrepreneur and engagement expert Andre Lavoie points out in a column for Entrepreneur magazine, performance and engagement are intrinsically linked:
“A good leader values employee happiness. A great leader values the employee engagement results from that happiness. That is what employee engagement is, after all – the degree to which an employee’s feelings about their job (and boss) influences their willingness to learn and perform at work.”
Inspiring Success: Satisfying Basic Needs
An engaging environment that enriches employee awareness maximizes loyalty by first satisfying basic employee needs ― a phenomenon confirmed decades ago by social psychologist Abraham Maslow and his work on the Hierarchy of Needs. Once the basics are handled, team members can focus on evolving and working toward the greater goals of furthering the organization as whole and your mission. Workforce motivation accelerates, and you’ll see your employees demonstrate the extra effort to achieve the goals and mission that will differentiate you from your competitors.
Creating a healthier, happier and more innovative workforce can be a game changer for your operation. And, you may find it’s easier than you think — when you combine the inspiration of your core values with the right corporate communication tools. And our experience has shown the most effective programs leverage daily, consistent focus and energy — not just a fleeting flash in the pan. It’s more than the occasional company outing or donuts on Friday. Though those things are great, it’s more about the messages of support, care and nurturing you send to empower your work culture every day.
Strong topic areas to cover include workplace safety, wellness communications and employee motivation — implemented through a mix of media, such as digital display boards and workplace signs. These strategic messaging campaigns give your employees the ambient information, sense of security – and often motivation – to shine and even go beyond the expected to reach higher. I’ve always loved this quote. I’m not sure who said it, but it is the perfect way to communicate our philosophy at Indigo Workplace Communication:
“Reach for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
Creating an environment where rock stars thrive is deliberate and intentional. Pay close attention to your employees at work, rest and play. Ask them what is important to them. Validate and communicate. Looking for the best way to engage your workforce? Give us 20 minutes and we’ll show you how.