Employee engagement touchpoints, when and how do we engage them?
When it comes to employment, it’s a buyer’s market out there. For the past few years, the relationship between employers and employees has undergone a profound shift. Indeed, employers and business owners have to spend more time considering the strategies required not only to attract new staff but also retain them. Because the harsh reality is that in a competitive and constantly evolving business market, everyone has varied job experience. Some feel happy but also a sizeable chunk of the working population exists, where they couldn’t wait to get out, simply because they weren’t invested in the project/ job or outcome. This is where employee engagement comes in. It’s one thing to bring people on board. Though the perennial questions remain, what are the most effective employee engagement strategies? How do you keep your people engaged, motivated, productive and happy? What do you think are the three key elements behind effective employee engagement? Here’s a clue: money isn’t one of them.
While a good remuneration package goes a long way to keeping an employee engaged, it doesn’t do everything. In fact, the top three elements have everything to do with a sense of belonging over monetary benefits. Over 2 decades ago, back in 1990, Professor William Kahn held in-depth interviews with employees. He found that for an employee to feel engaged, they had to:
- Feel that their work was meaningful and made a difference
- Feel valued, trusted and respected
- Feel secure and self-confident
In other words, the more an employee feels part of a community, the more likely it is that they are engaged with what they do. It seems quite simple written out like this, but it’s also easy and common to overlook these factors. There are however 5 easy touchpoints have been identified as hotspots for engagement initiatives, which can either maintain engagement, retain talent or help boost overall productivity. The COVID-19 slowdown might be the right time to relook and realign these.
- Hotspot one: Recruitment – The role of employee engagement in recruitment is one that is often overlooked, yet engagement plays a big part in the hiring experience from the perspective of both parties – the candidate and the employer. In the process of selection and interviewing, the candidate is marketing himself or herself to you – and you are marketing your organisation to the candidate. When you take on a recruit, you don’t only hire qualifications and experience, you hire a person and their personality – and it is this that could determine how successful your hire is. There is much empirical evidence to suggest that employee engagement is key to improving productivity, innovation, customer experiences, quality and safety, as well as reducing absenteeism and staff turnover.
- Hotspot 2: Onboarding – It’s a common routine that ends with a big mistake: the boss hires a great new person, walks them around the office on their first day, shows them to their desk, and then leaves them alone to do their work. They’re all set, right? Hardly. If you’ve ever been the new employee who had the first day like that, you know how it feels to be left to figure things out on your own: awkward, stressful, and lonely. Good onboarding practices can prevent your new hires from having to deal with all that. Every contact a new employee has with your organization is an opportunity for you to foster engagement. That’s why effective onboarding is so important.Now that you understand the links between effective onboarding and employee engagement, you’re well on your way to helping every new hire become an outstanding and highly engaged employee. How about sending a welcome-aboard package before their first day, with a company T-shirt and a card signed by everyone on their new team? Then, once they’re on the job, you could praise them for how quickly they completed their first training task or assignment. Good ideas aren’t hard to think of. Just put yourself in your new employee’s shoes and think of what would make a great impression on you—then do it.If you’re in a small or medium business, you may think improving onboarding and employee engagement requires the kind of time and money that only big businesses can afford. Not so. The right HR software can be a time-saving and budget-friendly way for you to streamline and simplify onboarding work and countless other HR tasks.
- Hotspot 3 – In times of achievements and failures – It’s important to take care of the people who take care of you. By recognising your employees’ achievements, they will feel valued within the organisation and therefore feel driven to achieve the best for the company. 86% of employees are reportedly motivated by recognition and 65% say that they would work harder if they were better recognised, so it is important to build employee recognition within your company culture to achieve the best performance from staff. By acknowledging hard work from staff, you will also reinforce actions and behaviours you would like to see more of. Besides acknowledging effort and achievements, it’s also important to understand, accept and acknowledge failure.No one likes to admit defeat. But, regardless of how unwanted, it happens. Even the most successful business people will tell you that their road to success was paved with pitfalls. In order to grow beyond your failures, you need to admit your role in the failures. When you start to create an open dialogue with your team about both the good and the bad, you become a better leader and build stronger bonds in employee engagement. Make a conscious effort to not fall in the category of bosses who only reprimand and hardly appreciate.
- Hotspot 4 – During life events – Building a positive company culture where employees feel happy and comfortable within, can be the key to maintaining engagement at work. A combination of company values, systems, beliefs, habits and relationships are all contributing factors to the formation of company culture and although building a strong company culture is easier said than done, there are a few things that a leader can do to help create a positive working environment; such as respecting your employees, being a part of their life journeys and their celebrations. Build a relationship with your employees, celebrate their birthdays and anniversaries and other personal milestones. That gives rise to a collaborative workspace.Relationships at work play a significant part in how happy people are at work and 70% of people state that their work friendships are the most crucial elements to happy working life and peers can also motivate staff to go the extra mile at work. Most employees want a collaborative, rather than competitive work culture, so a level of openness and exchanging of thoughts and ideas is a win-win situation for both the employer and employee.
- Hotspot 5 – Employee exit – An exit interview should not only get to the bottom of why valued staff are leaving but form the basis of an action plan to stop them wanting to leave in the first place. Regardless of whether someone ‘lives to work’ or ‘works to live’, they lay their aspirations at the door of the organisation, they decide to join, hoping these will become a reality. When the time comes to leave, the extent to which the organisation has encouraged them to realise these expectations is brought into sharp focus.
How an employer handles the exit interview can have a lasting impact on the employee’s perceptions of the company. A sensitively-managed exit can ensure that their alumni become brand ambassadors who will speak highly of their former employer when asked: ‘So, what were they really like to work for?’ Perhaps even more important, the final interview also provides the opportunity for an employer to understand why valued members of staff leave and what can be done prevent it happening in the future.
It is important to devote time, attention and possibly even resources to develop a collaborative and happy workspace. One that works equally hard to realize employee expectation and achieves business success.
Times are changing and workplaces are getting redefined, but what will change is the fact that employee engagement is a two-way street and that happy employees go hand in glove with business success. You take care of organizational success, let us help you take care of your people, with Let’s Buzzz >> click here for a free demo.