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What Is Employee Engagement? The Ultimate Guide

Recruitment | 6 Min Read

What Is Employee Engagement? The Ultimate Guide

Introduction

Employee engagement is a business approach that aims to measure both qualitative and quantitative relationships between employees and the organization. Employee engagement solutions are specially designed to understand and identify an employee’s needs concerning his/her domain knowledge and work environment. The goal of employee engagement programs is to foster the right conditions for all the members of an organization to contribute to their best each day and feel committed to the values of the business.

An actively engaged workforce is vital for an organization’s longevity and success. Engaged employees do not simply mean people occupied with work, but a team innately committed to the assigned task without the need for supervision. They are self-motived and highly efficient individuals who feel an emotional connection and a sense of ownership of their job. Employee engagement is a potent measure that aims to develop a psychological connection between employees and their organization. This cognitive connection influences an employee’s behavior and his/her level of effort toward work-related activities. Employee engagement is a roadmap to building a robust workforce of enthusiastic and passionate individuals instinctively committed to their work.

 

“Engagement represents the energy, effort, and initiative employees bring to their jobs.”

Harvard Business Review

 

This blog presents you with a comprehensive mechanism of employee engagement solutions, its criticality in a corporate work environment and several types of employee engagement strategies accommodating teams of various hues. We will also discuss the benefits of employee engagement that work simultaneously in favor of an employee and the business. Lastly, we will touch upon the best available practices backed by new-age technologies along with ideal ways to measure employee engagement in your organization.

 

What are the three key elements of employee engagement?

 

1. Cognitive engagement

Cognitive engagement indicates that the employees are deeply aware of organizational strategies and are aligned with them. They are aware of what they need to deliver, trust the organization and its members and display emotional engagement toward their work.

2. Physical engagement

Physical engagement indicates how proactively an employee engages in achieving organizational goals. It is reflected by his/her voluntary efforts, physical and mental. It also indicates being a part of regular training, lower absenteeism and stepping out of his/her defined role to complete a task.

3. Emotional engagement

Emotional engagement is indicated by a sense of engrossment and considering oneself an important part of the company. The emotional empathy that employees feel for a company, its culture and well-being influence their performance significantly.

What is the purpose of employee engagement?

 

What is the purpose of employee engagement?

 

The role of technology in employee engagement

 

Digital tools are fast altering the workplace ecosystem. Employing the right set of tools can enable HR leaders to develop prolific employee engagement strategies to accentuate engagement as well as domain knowledge among employees. You can elevate your employees’ abilities by posing them technical challenges in the form of internal hackathons, case study competitions, ideathons and more.

 

These innovative forms of engagement at work offer creative freedom to employees, enabling them to exhibit their entrepreneurial skills and creative thinking.

 

You can deploy tech-backed employee engagement activities to boost business innovation among your existing workforce and build product prototypes. Additionally, you can promote competitive employee engagement ideas by providing a platform for learning, innovation and development.

 

The role of technology in employee engagement

 

The criticality of employee engagement in a remote working scenario

 

Infographic

 

Given the high probability of an ongoing remote working scenario, remote employee engagement is the key to creating a high-performing workforce. Due to the pandemic-related economic stress, many employees may be experiencing that they must do more with less. Unclear expectations, unreasonable deadlines or a lack of communication can lead to employees taking the fight or flight mode. Companies need to actively recognize and reward their employees for strengthening accountability levels, stability and instilling a sense of leadership.

 

Benefits of employee engagement activities

 

1. Employee Satisfaction:

 

This is the preliminary requisite to an organization’s overall success. Satisfied employees feel a greater connection with their jobs, resulting in quality work, consequently benefitting the company’s reputation.

Conversely, low job satisfaction leads to employee burnout and affects time and finances.

 

2. Lower Attrition Rates:

 

A significant advantage of engaged employees is that they are loyal to the company and act as ambassadors of its values. This approach results in a lower attrition rate. When employees are happy and engaged, they are more likely to stay with the organization and work toward its success.

 

3. Enhanced Productivity:

 

Engaged employees work smarter, faster and are willing to go beyond their determined roles. The more engaged employees are, the lower their absenteeism will be. Employees who feel motivated and appreciated by their managers identify with their work and readily display leadership potential for future job roles.

 

4. Increased Innovation:

 

Engagement at work and innovation go hand in hand. Engaged employees tend to bring passion to their work, leading to innovative thinking and the display of an optimistic approach in the workplace. As they feel invested in their work, they strive to create new processes, ideas and products freely.

 

5. Psychological Safety:

 

Engagement at work can lead to psychological safety, assuring employees that they can take interpersonal risks and express themselves freely, without fearing consequences. An elevated level of psychological safety encourages employees to share their opinions and bring their genuine selves to work. Several workplace outcomes are related to psychological safety, including innovative thinking, information sharing and even business-level success.

 

Amy Adams GIF by Sharp Objects

 

How to measure employee engagement?

 

Measuring employee engagement is an essential component for ensuring that your efforts yield tangible results. HR professionals need to know how well the employee engagement strategy is working. As numerous variables determine it, engagement levels tend to fluctuate as new team members come aboard, new processes are implemented, and the workspace evolves.

 


Measuring Employee Engagement, The Right Way

Survey-Based Engagement

 

Sharing brief surveys with simple questions can help you gauge the current employee engagement level and their expectations from the organization. This exercise will offer you an immediate insight into your workforce’s current frame of mind. These short surveys can be rolled out quarterly, at less frequent intervals. You may also share detailed annual surveys that dive into an employee’s happiness at a deeper level. These employee engagement surveys are designed to identify employees’ commitment, motivation and passion for their work and organization. You can easily outline the improvement areas by discovering a uniform way to ask your employees questions about their emotional and cognitive engagement. HR leaders can also employ the results of annual employee engagement surveys to compare and measure the progress of their engagement strategies.

The goal is to acquire data that will catalyze change. The data should be transformed into actionable strategies for improvement after encircling the problem statements. The next measure is identifying the correct tools to devise an effective engagement strategy that targets the identified problem statement and helps build the future business roadmap. You should base the engagement strategy on the survey data’s insights, letting the participants find you an innovative solution to the problem. Each innovative employee engagement strategy will help you understand and analyze underlying gaps and improvement areas.

 

Encouraging a culture of engagement at work requires time, testing, and most importantly, taking a step back to examine the success of your employee engagement program. You must seek data-driven solutions to build a successful future framework if you feel the need to improve the employee engagement strategy.

 

Fundamental steps to planning an impactful employee engagement survey

 


Ways to Improve Employee Engagement

An equally efficacious engagement strategy fuels a highly efficient workforce. There are no defined standards or rules for creating an impactful engagement strategy. There is always room to experiment and improve as each organization has its unique needs and priorities.

Before you start revising or building your employee engagement strategy, here are a few fundamental measures to consider when creating an effective employee engagement plan.

  • Focus on creating an optimistic work culture that allows employees to feel trusted by their leaders, and share an innate connection with their work.
  • Ensure that your employees are aware of the available professional development opportunities and take advantage of them.
  • Make the most of pulse surveys, exit interviews and one-on-one discussions to understand and identify your disengaged employees’ needs.
  • Allow managers to access survey pulse data, take actions considerately and train them with best leadership practices that impact engagement strategies.
  • Include employee health, financial performance, product quality, turnover rates and customer satisfaction to your engagement strategy, attaching tangible benefits to them.

 

Innovative employee engagement solutions

 

Enterprises are investing significantly in innovative tech programs to make virtual workplaces more engaging. With the help of new-age technologies, HR professionals can provide a remote employee engagement platform that boosts their creative thinking, problem-solving attitude, domain knowledge and inter-team collaborations. Recruiters are shifting extensively toward tech events and hackathons/ideathons to engage employees and sustain their interest by using technology to increase efficiency. These innovative employee engagement programs are a terrific way to envisage a futuristic product, team, or brand. The tools go one step ahead in engaging employees in the best way possible. Innovative cognitive challenges serve as an ideal base to a forethoughtful employee engagement strategy. They aim to make employees feel a part of the company’s product strategy by listening to their fresh ideas and developing intelligence through intellectual events.

 

Episode 2 Sptv GIF by Sony Pictures Television

 


New-age Employee Engagement Strategies

Hackathons

Hackathon is a medium for people to find ingenious solutions to organizational problems. Having an incentivized approach to a problem garners the interest of employees. They work toward creating the best solution to a given business problem, fostering innovation and engagement. If the problem is technical, the solution will be technical.

Conversely, a non-technical problem will proffer a non-technical solution. This fast-paced activity brings together a diverse set of people to decipher organizational snags or build novel solutions. Participants take a responsive and agile approach to building the solutions. Afterward, the best solution is recognized and rewarded by the leadership.

Mercer | Mettl’s hackathon is an online hackathon management platform that helps you host world-class hackathons successfully and identify the best tech talent. The platform serves as an employee engagement measure to bring together internal teams and creatively challenge their technical skills. You can use Mercer | Mettl’s hackathon to offer your employees a break from their monotonous schedules and elevate their existing skills by organizing an engaging tech-based event, inspiring them to learn more. This end-to-end virtual employee engagement platform is easily scalable and manages collaborations among judges, participants and organizers seamlessly. It provides live updates while tracking top performers. The solution is holistically designed to organize, promote and manage a large-scale online event remotely and effortlessly. From designing the competition, running the event to declaring winners, each step can be easily managed online without the need for booking physical venues and making adequate arrangements through time-consuming phone calls and meetings.

You can host a digital event seamlessly, using our expert consultation and a wide range of question banks for coding and case study simulators. Bring together your organization’s best minds and let them find innovative solutions to real-world business problems.

Ideathons

Ideathons are intensive brainstorming events where individuals from diverse backgrounds, skills and interests converge to diagnose predefined problems, identify the best opportunities and ideate the most viable solutions. An ideathon may require merely ideas, a solution, a roadmap or an actionable plan. Many corporations use ideathons as an innovation platform for internal and external competitions. Internal ideathons is an employee engagement activity that focuses on team building and solving longstanding business problems.

Mercer | Mettl’s ideathon platform is an ideal tool for engaging the existing workforce by challenging their innovative thinking and creativity skills. This innovative platform is easily customizable, allowing HR professionals to organize ideas-sharing events based on unique organizational problems. Mercer | Mettl’s Ideathon platform can help you find fresh ideas from the existing workforce and build futuristic product prototypes. You can use the platform to foster cross-team collaborations to solve critical business problems and identify problem-solvers in the team. The platform is ideal for running internal ideation competitions to encourage creativity and innovation among employees.

Personal and professional skill development

Providing professional skill development opportunities to your employees is an integral part of the virtual employee engagement plan. You ought to provide them subscriptions to online skills development platforms, including online courses and in-house workshops. You should allow them to attend industry-training events, helping them with career advancement, technology skills, analytical skills, leadership development and communication development. You must envision making their work environment more fulfilling by providing them with the opportunities to expand their abilities, step out of their havens and use their strengths.

Rewards, recognition and appreciation

As per a Harvard Business Review report, 72 percent of business leaders rank recognition as having a significant impact on employee engagement. Employees often regard recognition from their immediate supervisors or managers as more relevant and genuine. Managers must share a deep bond with their subordinates. Employee recognition is an effective employee engagement solution that boosts the organizational culture. Assuring employees that their work is appreciated and valued lends them a sense of belonging to the company. This assurance leads to increased motivation, improved employee retention and enhanced loyalty. An organization must acknowledge the employees’ efforts and behaviors that reflect the organizational values.

Remote work assessments

A remote work survey is designed to help organizations survey their workforce and gauge essential parameters, such as the availability of resources, organizational support, clarity from their managers on their roles and work, etc. Such a survey can help organizations reach out to their employees and make them feel heard and appreciated. It helps organizations understand their employees’ needs, the initiatives not bearing desired results and understanding what may be further needed. This exercise can improve an organization’s efforts by focusing and investing in the right areas.

Mercer | Mettl’s remote work assessment aids organizations in understanding the behavioral and well-being competencies required to keep employees engaged in a remote work environment. Our assessment surveys are backed by Mettl’s Personality Profiler, which identifies training and development areas among remote working employees. HR leaders can employ this tool to gauge domain skills and well-being competencies and devise a strategic action to equip them with the desired skills, enhancing business productivity.

You can use our easily customizable remote work assessments and subject matter expert consultation to create assessments unique to your organization’s needs and gain a deeper insight into the remote workers’ strengths and areas of improvement and growth.

Meaningful work relationships

Healthy work relationships with teammates, managers and the leadership result in increased performance and employee engagement. However, according to studies, only 5% of employees strongly agreed that their organization helps them build more robust work relationships. For a business to perform well, employees must share a healthy and comfortable working relationship among themselves. Employees should be able to enjoy their work environment to deliver their best.

Clear and effective communication

Effective communication between managers/leaders and employees increasingly influences employee retention, especially in a remote working scenario. This employee engagement activity helps assuage uncertainties, set a defined goal for your employees, boost productivity and drive business growth. Line managers play a significant role in improving employee engagement. Regular communication with employees ensures everyone understands the business goals and objectives and their role in achieving them.

Do read our blog on 10 insanely actionable strategies to drive employee engagement to know more.

 

Genius Sounds Good GIF by SoulPancake

 


Success Story

JP Morgan Chase used Mercer | Mettl’s hackathon platform

 

The globally renowned brand JP Morgan Chase conducted an engaging hackathon, divided into two sections – Algorithmic Programming and Derivative Modelling – using Mercer | Mettl’s hackathon management platform. The hackathon provided the brand with a comprehensive platform for employees to exhibit their skills, time management and problem-solving abilities and win amazing prizes like a MacBook Pro. This end-to-end hackathon management solution by Mercer| Mettl created an exclusive event theme for the brand through its stellar features.

 


Conclusion

A healthy work environment, offering an engaging job role and empathetic management, significantly increases employee productivity. An engaged workforce has higher employee satisfaction, resulting in proactiveness in the job role and overall company growth, thanks to higher retention and productivity, profitability, lower absenteeism and strengthened employee loyalty.

With ‘work from home’ unlikely to recede into the background anytime soon, engagement at work has assumed much greater significance. Employees have adopted this new work culture. However, they also concur to the feeling of lacking belongingness to their work and organizations. Businesses that put their people first and demonstrate to their employees that they care, through meaningful engagement activities, open and transparent communication and well-being initiatives are the ones for which employees wish to work.

Learn more about innovative employee engagement tools with Mercer | Mettl’s creative solutions, offering new-age and industry-leading features.

Originally published April 19 2021, Updated April 21 2021

Arshmeet Kaur

Written by

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