Why is employee engagement important?
1. A real and raging talent war
Unlike 10 years ago, today the job market is candidate-driven. Employers are finding it hard to attract, hire, retain, engage and inspire talent.
People no more pick jobs simply based on compensations or designations. They don’t see a job offer as a mere career opportunity but a way of life. Consequently, they look for more than what’s on an offer letter - challenges, opportunity for growth and recognition, culture, working space, organizational values, etc,. Employee engagement is a function of these things.
2. It’s official: There is a shortage of skilled labour
The number of open positions in the US is higher than the number of people looking for work and the gap is growing each year. Though all industries and all organizational levels have shortage of employees, companies have a harder time filling in blue-collar positions. Delivery drivers, restaurant workers, hotel staff, health care aides, workers for mining and agriculture etc are becoming more hard-to-entice.
A pay raise alone won’t cut it for them. Employers will have to stretch and think beyond compensations - a promise of a secure future, opportunities for holistic growth and a better everyday experience of life in and out of work.
3. Employees have a voice of their own
Today it’s not only employers who carry a brand. Employees as individuals carry influence and reputation too. The internet and technology have given them power, platform and leverage.
They can and will use their voice on public forums and social platforms to share their views and experiences of the organizations they work with. Sites like Glassdoor allow employees or ex-employees to share their experiences with an employer anonymously for the benefit of others.
During a study by Ranstad, 66% of the managers believed that negative reviews didn’t affect their hiring. On the flip side, 57% of the employees said they wouldn’t even apply to a company with negative reviews.
Reviews not only affect the perception of other job applicants or candidates, but they also affect how customers or other prospects see an organization or feel about it. Nobody wants to have a business relationship with a company that oppresses its employees. On the other hand, when an employee has something nice to say, people want to believe it because nobody experiences your culture, values, leaders or vision first-hand like your employees do.
4. Sustaining workplace productivity is getting difficult
You can cut down on meetings, make thorough to-dos, enforce strict deadlines, and try a hundred other hacks and still lose out on productivity. That’s because there is no match to having completely involved and inspired employees who are pumped up for work on their own.
The most common workplace productivity challenges include: lack of motivation, morale or engagement, absence of social circles, a gap in necessary coaching or training, gaps in communication, uncertain goals and unsettled means, absence of required technology or infrastructure, inconvenient workplace or work hours.
In other words, employee engagement is one of the most dominant influencers of workplace productivity.
Successful employee engagement ignites passion, improves workplace morale and mutual respect. People turn their authentic selves while also celebrating each other and functioning optimally as a team. It influences people’s everyday moods and motivations, gives them the confidence to bring forth bold ideas and initiatives. It keeps your people inspired and your productivity curve moving upwards.
It also sets the atmosphere up for creativity and innovation
5. Sets the tone for relationships within the company
The relationships employees have with each other, their managers or leaders, or even the management itself is a result of their everyday interactions with the company. Most of the beliefs that influence these relationships are unconsciously picked up by their minds during simple everyday experiences.
The dynamics of an organization's internal relationships ultimately affects what employees radiate to customers in their interactions. For example, if you train a support team to always be polite to your customers, but you are very bitter and unforgiving towards them, it will show up in their moods and stop them from going above and beyond.