In Growth & Profit

Julie Noble is the Director of Human Resources at Cain Ellsworth.  She is a nationally certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and works with business owners and managers on a broad spectrum of HR consulting services. These include recruitment, benefits administration, employee relationships, performance management and development, and leadership training. Thank you, Julie, for your contribution to our blog.

Employee Engagement:  A Critical Driver of Business Success

The term employee engagement relates to the level of an employee’s commitment and connection to an organization.  Employee engagement has emerged as a critical driver of business success in today’s competitive marketplace.  High levels of engagement promote retention of talent, foster customer loyalty andemployee engagement improve organizational performance and stakeholder value.

Does employee engagement really matter?

Employee engagement matters a great deal as it directly affects a company’s financial health and profitability.  The numerous benefits of having high levels of employee engagement within an organization include:

  • Higher shareholder return
  • Increased productivity
  • Better performance
  • Less Absenteeism
  • Less Turnover
  • Increased support and resiliency to change

So what drives employee engagement?

Employee engagement is influenced by many factors – from workplace culture, organizational communication and managerial styles, to trust and respect, leadership and company reputation.  Managers along with those responsible for HR functions play important roles in ensuring the success of employee engagement initiatives. 

The Manager’s role in employee engagement has been hotly debated.  Many studies have indicated that people leave managers, not companies; however engagement experts have suggested that the responsibility for engagement needs to be shared from top to bottom.

What can organizations do to improve employee engagement?

There are many things that can be done to increase employee engagement levels such as: job enrichment, improve recruiting and selection methodology, evaluate training and development programs, provide strategic compensation, and emphasize performance management.  All of these are important things to consider as organizations focus on developing their own ‘engagement culture’. 

An engagement culture can be developed by communicating the value of engagement in the mission statement and executive communications, ensuring that business units implement their engagement action plans, monitoring progress, adjusting strategies and plans as needed and recognizing and celebrating progress and results.

Employers also need to look for and take advantage of numerous opportunities for ‘engageable moments’ when they can motivate and provide direction for employees.  Examples of engageable moments include:

  • Recruitment/Onboarding
  • Performance Reviews
  • Goal-setting
  • Training
  • Communications by Senior Leaders
  • Employee Surveys
  • Coaching, Mentoring
  • Career development discussions
  • Recognition programs
  • Company social events
  • Moments of personal crisis

It is probably no surprise that data shows that engagement usually starts off high among new employees but decreases through their careers.  While some decline may be expected, organizations that take action during ‘engageable moments’ and look for ways to provide an ‘engagement culture’ may be able to minimize or potentially reverse such declines.  Not only does engagement have the potential to significantly affect employee retention, productivity and loyalty, it is also a key link to customer satisfaction, company reputation and overall stakeholder value. 

What are you doing to increase your employee engagement and promote an engagement culture?

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