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The Importance of Employee Engagement & 3 Ways to Boost It

Employee engagement has risen to the forefront of the minds of today’s business leaders and workers alike, leading many organizations to review and adjust their approaches to modern human resource management. Now more than ever, businesses view HR as a factor in economic success and thus hold it highly in corporate planning. Oracle CEO Mark Hurd has stated that HR “touches everything we do” and that “it's the company's lifeblood. It drives the company.” Accordingly, employee engagement has become an integral component of many HR plans, with 87 percent of organizations citing it as a top priority issue.

The spotlight on employee engagement shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as it’s been directly tied to a number of business outcomes including customer satisfaction, profits, productivity, employee turnover, and product quality. Creating a high level of employee engagement can be a vital asset to businesses in today’s competitive market, though it’s no simple task to maintain.

Fortunately, advances in HR technology have made it easier to engage with employees. Such advances also allow engagement strategies to cater to different personalities and DISC profiles, improving their end efficacy. Here are just a few examples of the modern ways in which companies are boosting employee engagement through the use of innovative practices.

Effective Communication

Since many employees engage with peers outside of work via social media and messengers, it should come as no surprise that mimicking these mediums in the workplace can promote internal engagement. Conversational tools like Google Chat, Slack, or a myriad of others allow employees to communicate cross-functionally and easily, while organizing threads into teams or topics. A brief message can suffice to quickly update teams on projects or other business functions. Aside from helping to complete work-related tasks, chat tools offer a fun way to boost employee morale, as they can use it to send GIFs and emojis, celebrate occasions like work anniversaries or birthdays, share inside jokes and more. With this said, there is obviously a balance between light-hearted communication for team chemistry and staying focused on work. In the end, people communicate differently, and effective and flexible communicative mediums can help cater to the individual, while also augmenting in-person meetings.

Employee recognition

An appreciated employee is usually an engaged employee. In a survey of 1,000 workers, 75 percent of employees who were recognized by their manager once a month reported being satisfied with their job. Employee recognition software and apps provide engaging platforms on which to reward employees for their efforts and achievements. They give managers and colleagues the opportunity to convey appreciation for team members and also allow others to comment and “like” employee accomplishments. Different employees may express appreciation in different ways, and such applications allow them to do so. Company leaders can also utilize their feeds and dashboards to see which of the organization’s values are being regularly enacted and which successes are occurring. Such a setup helps to motivate employees as they reach their goals and contribute to combined company objectives. In addition to digital interfaces, assessment tools like PeopleKeys Behavioral Attitudes Index (BAI) allow businesses to gauge how employees desire to be recognized and compensated. Utilizing such a tool can reveal the passions of employees and how they should be rewarded. Baby boomers might prefer to be rewarded monetarily while Millennials might prefer time off or ability to work from home away from the office. Sales teams might prefer monetary rewards while customer service reps might prefer to be rewarded with time off. Tending to these different motivational preferences allows companies to align with employee desires in effort to keep them engaged.

Feedback

One of the best ways to facilitate employee engagement is to understand and act on employee feedback. Feedback can come in many forms, depending on DISC type. Dominant-style employees may outwardly express jubilation or grievances on the spot without letting it fester. Though, they may also do so without fully analyzing the different variables at play or without adhering to status quo process. Leaders should internalize this feedback and offer back their own considerations, as they keep the energy going, while also posing variables or specifications onto the dominant employee’s assertions. This will hopefully allow for a mutual arrival of understanding and recognition of where the different considerations lie on the spectrum of innovation vs. simply breaking of routine, problem solving vs. argumentation, and even honest improvement vs. challenge of authority. Those of the Influential type may also present their feedback with rapidity and some fire, though they may do so more with a goal of seeking external approval. This type offers creative solutions that should be considered and broken down by managers as they provide positive energy in their assessments and thoughtful responses that aim to ensure the employee’s trust and attention. Employees in the Steadiness camp may be less apt to present outward feedback, for fear of disruption in procedure. As with all types, managers should seek out their input, though they may do so in a more structured manner. Compliant types will dig into nuance and bring things up in relation to it, though like the Steady employees, they might need some nudging in order to more fully express their mind. In providing feedback, managers should attempt to mirror the employee’s detail, and they should expend thoughtfulness in providing constructive criticism. With this said, employees might not sort perfectly into these types, and so hybrid approaches corresponding to personal and situational gradients derive extreme value.

Formal meetings, in addition to digital applications, allow employees and managers to update each other on their perspectives, and in manners that accommodate the different variations of DISC types. For larger companies especially, there exist human capital management (HCM) suites that include interfaces to help manage performance, set goals, and conduct informed feedback exchanges. These tools help employees feel heard and allow managers to preemptively coach and accommodate as well as resolve issues so that they don’t impact productivity. In the end, workers who feel that managers listen to and address their concerns are more likely to become long-term team members.

It’s important to note that although HR trends change frequently, the importance of engaging employees will remain constant. Staying on top of technology trends is a great way to ensure effective engagement that accommodates personality types. Doing so will help to maximize your most valuable resource.

Author: Brian Thomas

Brian ThomasBrian is a contributor to Enlightened Digital, long-distance cyclist, and lifelong advocate for women in business from Philadelphia. Tech and business are his lifeblood.


2019-03-05

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