When you think about how to improve your company’s chances of success, employee engagement is probably not what first comes to mind. Initially, you’d rather focus on aspects such as performance, motivation and skills development. After all, these are the things that determine the tangible benefits to your business, right? Well, what if I told you that a highly engaged employee increases profitability by 21%?

What is employee engagement and why is it important?

Employee engagement can be defined as the degree of commitment, attachment and affiliation a person has with the company they work for. In the outdated corporate management model, little attention was paid to employee engagement. The basis of loyalty was a regular salary and nothing more. Today, it is clear that a company with which employees feel connected is more than just a source of money. In the modern workplace, engagement, development and satisfaction are the most important factors determining the relationship between employee and employer. 

Employee engagement:

Despite these positive effects, it is estimated that only 36% of employees feel engaged at work. And if so... doesn’t increasing employee engagement in your company seem like an ideal opportunity to gain a competitive advantage? This question is of course rhetorical, so let’s focus squarely on how to do it.

1. Make employees feel important

Imagine a situation in which you try hard, but it doesn’t get noticed or bring you any benefit. What would your reaction be? You will probably stop trying. This is an example of classic conditioning – if our behaviour doesn’t work, we change it. This principle is also applicable in the workplace. If the team is motivated, trying to do their best, and the company doesn’t give them a ‘reward’ for it, and, in fact, starts demanding more and more – engagement will drop. So make sure your employees feel important. 

Hold regular (say, monthly) company meetings where each department or team can show off their achievements. Highlight great team results, but also individual successes – this is very important for each employee’s personal sense of appreciation. You can also use email or a Slack channel to regularly let the whole company know that someone has done a good job. Remember not to limit yourself to managers, seniors and long-serving employees. For interns and juniors, it is very important to confirm that you are happy with their work. The approval of colleagues and superiors reinforces their commitment, which is often very high at this stage of their career. 

Sometimes it is difficult to remember all the important things that have happened in your company...

...but employees remember them. To make sure you don’t miss out on anyone, use tools to track and manage work. Regularly generated tasks and timesheet reports will ensure that you can always see exactly what important projects have been completed and who has contributed to them. This will make everyone feel important.

To show your employees that their satisfaction is important to you, also invest in their development. Develop the competencies and skills of your people, organise interesting courses and training, talk regularly about what they expect and how they imagine their future career in your company. Employee development is very helpful in increasing engagement, loyalty to the company and productivity. We wrote more about this in this article.

Ah, and let’s not forget bonuses. Of course, money is not everything, but a good word and professional satisfaction will not pay the rent. Don’t wait for a good employee to come in on their own for a raise or threaten termination to receive financial recognition for their work.

2. Make employees brand ambassadors

It is boring and unauthentic when the only face of the company is the CEO. Make your employees your experts, speakers, representatives, author of the quotes and interviews. When they are a visible part of what a company does, they will be more likely to brag about that. The success of the company won’t just be about the brand, but also about themselves. It’s a good idea to harness the potential of your team on social media. Implement employee branding strategies. Introduce your people, talk about their interests and achievements, not only professional ones but also passions and interesting things they do. Or better yet, give them a voice and let them introduce themselves in videos or posts. 

If you want to do an unusual project instead of hiring subcontractors right away, discover the potential of your employees. If you want to record a training podcast, instead of hiring a voiceover artist, find someone in your team who has a great voice and energy. When making a promotional video, see if you might have a talented filmmaker and musician in your company that you could engage. Instead of using stock photos, do a photoshoot of your employees to make them the heroes of client presentations and social media posts. Be proud of your team, show that super people are working in your company and you can be sure that their engagement will increase.

3. You know how important team building is, right?

Working for an organization isn’t just about being part of some mystical entity like a ‘brand’. It’s about being part of a bunch of cool people. Everyone wants to like their co-workers and to feel good in their company. This is what builds a sense of belonging. 

We feel more sympathy towards people with whom we have something in common. Also, we like things that connect us with cool people. For example, the super company where we all work. Try to build a close-knit, supportive team that is important to your employees. This will simply make them like working for your organization more because it will also play a social role for them. This has a very positive effect on employee engagement and strengthens the sense of belonging.

4. Have a good PR 

Imagine that you start working in a new company. It’s pretty cool, the people are nice, the money is good. Friends in the industry hear that you’ve changed your job and ask you what this place is. You mention the name and suddenly you see their faces change as it turns out that they have not heard very good things about this company, that their friend worked there and said that the company has no hope for development, the projects are poorly valued, it is difficult to get holidays, there is a lot of work and a shortage of specialists. A similar opinion appears a few more times, also from former clients who were not satisfied with the quality of service.

There is a good chance that in such a situation you would start questioning your choice of workplace. The flaws would start to seem more clear to you, you would see worrying signals everywhere and even if you were personally satisfied, you would slowly start to think about changing and your commitment to work and motivation would drop.

The industry world is small and sometimes working for a company with a bad reputation can do someone’s CV more harm than good. Good PR is therefore very important to increase the commitment of your employees. Working for a company respected in the market, known for its modern approach, professionalism, expert team and top-quality service is a source of pride and an investment in your career. Make sure your workplace is just that and that your employees will want to stay there.

5. Just do great things!

No job is dishonourable, but let’s be honest – it’s nicer to talk about working on interesting projects. When you’re hanging out with friends and you’re asked “How’s work?” you’d like to answer “It’s great! We are working on a project right now that will really change the market by 180 degrees” and not “you know, the usual”. As I mentioned at the beginning, work today is not just a source of money, but a way to broaden your horizons, develop your skills, collaborate with experts, and make interesting friends. And in fact – this is the essence of the whole matter. By involving employees in interesting, inspiring projects you increase their engagement with the company. 

So again, why is employee engagement worthwhile?

We engage in things that are important to us, give us pleasure and satisfaction. If you work full-time, you spend 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week at work – that’s too much time to do something you don’t believe in. Therefore, create a workplace that is inspiring and interesting for your people, in which they feel important and of which they are proud. In such a company, employee engagement will come naturally. And with its unrivalled market success.  

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