Employee Engagement — What Does It Really Mean and How Do You Master It?

by Katie Sawyer, 3 minutes read
HOME blog employee engagement what does it really mean

The most valuable asset for any business is its people. Getting the right people on board is crucial for success in any industry, but keeping them there can prove to be difficult. Especially when there are more job openings than people to fill them.

What is employee engagement? And why are experts adamant this is so critical to business success?

Read on to learn what employee engagement really means and how you can master it.

What is employee engagement?

There’s a common misconception that employee engagement means keeping employees happy. However, an employee who is happy at work isn’t necessarily engaged and productive. An engaged employee is one who cares about the business. They’re motivated as soon as they walk in the door, and they’re keen to move the company forward. They understand the goals and objectives of the business, and their focus is on those, as opposed to their next paycheck.

The benefits of keeping employees engaged

Creating a culture that encourages employee engagement has multiple benefits, both for the team and for the business as a whole.

  • Higher retention of staff. When employees feel like they have an impact in the organization, they’re less likely to look for a new job. Lower staff turnover mean less money spent on recruiting and training. In fact, new staff cost an average of 33% of their annual salary to replace.

  • Higher productivity for better customer service. Engaged employees are more productive and motivated in general. Highly engaged teams can see up to a 21% increase in profitability. Motivated employees who have found a community at work will provide better levels of customer service, which can also boost your total number of repeat customers. Happy customers are also far more likely to recommend your business to others. This could lead to a boost in marketing — without you having to spend a cent.

Tip #1: Create flexibility

Managers should create a flexible work environment. The rise of the gig economy has led to much of the workforce considering their options. The temptation of the ultimate work-life balance has led to an increase in those looking for flexible working environments. There are a few easy things you can do to make your workspace more flexible.

  • Ask your employees for their preferred hours — then import that information into your workforce management system.

  • Aim to provide more flexible working hours, based on what your team actually wants.

  • Use a mobile app that enables employees to swap shifts with other team members to give them full flexibility.

Tip #2: Communicate with your team

Communication between employees and management is vital in any industry. If staff feel listened to, then they’re far more likely to feel engaged and motivated. However, just listening to employees isn’t enough. You must be able to show that you’ve taken their ideas, concerns, or questions on board.

  • Open up various channels of communication with your team. Some would prefer to talk to a manager face-to-face, whereas others would find using a communication tool much more accessible.

  • A workplace messaging system will also allow your whole team to collaborate on ideas and therefore feel more engaged as a whole.

  • Keep your team up to date using weekly communications. What have you learned this week? What can we do better next week? Allow them to be part of your goal-setting, and they’ll be more inclined to push the organization forward together.

Tip #3: Focus on their development

Everyone wants to feel a sense of achievement in the workplace. Your cashier probably doesn’t want to be a cashier forever. Knowledge-gathering is a key part of innovation, meaning it could lead to new and exciting ideas for the business. So what can you do to help your staff move forward in their careers?

  • Encourage your employees to use their break time wisely. Provide them with a list of resources to develop their knowledge and skills while they’re not working.

  • TED Talks, YouTube videos, or articles on trends in the industry are all useful resources.

  • Make resources easy for employees to access, perhaps using your communication tool, to encourage them to focus on their professional development.

Making employee engagement easier

Employee engagement is crucial for businesses, and it doesn’t need to be so hard. Building trust and opening up communication with your employees is the first step to creating a more productive and engaged team. Provide flexibility, build trust, open up your communications, and keep your team engaged with a free trial of Deputy.