Employee engagement refers to a worker’s emotional commitment to the company, belief in its values, and dedication in achieving common goals.
According to Wilmar Schaufel and Marisa Salanova, well-known work and organizational psychology experts, engagement is "a psychological state that facilitates strong commitment to the position held by a member of a company. It is characterized by high energy levels, great enthusiasm, and a great devotion to one’s job".
If the engagement and commitment levels of an employee are high, it is highly likely that the productivity of the company will increase. This way, employees are committed, willing to work and open to collaboration, even when facing challenges.
Nowadays, many studies have been conducted on the subject of employee engagement that put forward various strategies to improve it. There are two main types of strategies: organizational and emotional.
1. Organizational Strategies:
The common organizational strategies to improve employee engagement are as follows:
- Make employees aware and let employees know that they are trusted. Giving them the freedom to organize their schedule and tasks will not only be appreciated by the employees, but will also have a positive impact on their own trust in the company.
- Reinforce a purpose-driven vision. Each person, team or department can explain why they do what they do, thus helping people remember the importance of the work they do. If people can see the impact their work has on the organization as a whole, they will feel more "attached" to the tasks assigned to them.
- Keep everyone involved and informed. In order for the employee not to feel like a passive recipient of instructions, team leaders and managers should seek opportunities to involve their employees in decision making processes. When employees are involved in strategic planning, they are more likely to feel committed to it.
- Create a stable workplace environment. For actions aimed at boosting engagement to be effective, it is important that the profile and preferences of the employees are aligned with the corporate values of the company. Thus, promoting new open work environments will increase collaboration among employees.
- Build a strong connection with the company's management. Many employees have the feeling that those in charge of the company are on a higher plane, creating a communication gap that is difficult to overcome. It is advisable that managers and executive leaders of the company create a tight-knit relationship with their employees and show genuine interest in their situation and task performance.
2. Emotional Strategies:
In addition to the organizational strategies, more emotionally focused strategies can be developed in order to increase employee engagement. According to Carter, emotional strategy is fundamental in order to achieve adequate employee engagement. Hereby listed are the most significant ones:
- Reinforce effort. When giving feedback to employees, focus on how to improve their performance instead of criticizing their mistakes.
- Provide recognition. When an employee is adding remarkable value to the company, it is essential to recognize their efforts and reward them, as this is one of the best ways to retain talent.
- Encourage autonomy. Give employees the freedom to try out new ideas, to incorporate new approaches to their tasks, and to value and appreciate their initiatives/incentives.
- Promote two-way feedback. While it is important to make sure that the employee knows how well they are doing at work, it is equally essential to provide outlets where they can express their opinions about the performance of their managers and supervisors.
Taking everything into account, we put together a series of guidelines that will lead to higher employee engagement.
Firstly, communication is fundamental in achieving high employee commitment; therefore, internal communication should be prioritized to allow for a closer connection between employees and the company.
Secondly, it is essential to collect opinions and evaluations from the employees, as they may be the only people who have an in-depth understanding of certain aspects of a company.
Finally, in order to increase the commitment of employees, it is necessary to support employee growth. This can be done through positive feedback on well-accomplished tasks, new learning opportunities and internal promotion. Facilitating learning opportunities or ensuring constructive and private interaction are small gestures that help professionals grow in every way and become more engaged with the company.
Improving employee engagement is a long-term objective that should be central to the company’s corporate strategy. So it’s time to start conversations with employees and get involved in various aspects of employee experience! Achieve higher employee performance by showing your workforce that they are a part of a real tight-knit community and that they are valued, cared for and trusted.