Simple ways to refuel employee engagement in a fast and furious world

It’s no secret that engaged employees are the key to a company’s growth and success. Sir Richard Branson famously said;

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

Simple in theory, however Branson’s formula is harder than it seems.

Statistics show that the rate of engaged employees is low. A 2016 Gallup poll found that only 32.7% of U.S. workers are considered to be engaged. That statistic is troubling when compared to a study performed by Dale Carnegie Training showing that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%. And finally, one of the most powerful stats of all, a global survey showed that companies with engaged employees grow profits 3x faster than competitors who rank lower in employee engagement.

The ROI on investing in employees is clearly significant, but in today’s fast paced, rapidly evolving workplace, it’s tough to sustain employee engagement. We all get tired and burned out at some point. Employees are pressured to produce more and at a faster rate. As a result, they are constantly jumping between projects and platforms in an effort to meet the objectives of their organizations. Boosting employee engagement requires focusing on how to help employees refuel and recharge throughout the workday without adding additional stress and pressure.

Why Aren’t Employees Engaged at Work?

Understanding the problem is the first step in solving it. Employee engagement expert Patrick Lencioni pinpointed three leading causes of disengagement in his book The Truth About Employee Engagement:

1.) Anonymity — The feeling that the leaders in their organization don’t care who they are or what they do.

2.) Irrelevance — Not understanding how their job makes a difference in their organization.

3.) Immeasurement — Employees want to be able to clearly measure their own success rather than depend upon the whims of whether a manager likes or dislikes their work.

It makes sense. Executives and leaders are busy, and it’s easy to forget that simple things like communication and acknowledging team member accomplishments are critical in refueling employee engagement. Additionally, providing employees with ways to measure how their contribution impacts the organization helps them know exactly how valuable their work is, but leadership often only shares measurements of success for quarterly or annual performance reviews. Turns out, helping employees maintain engagement is simple. But it’s not easy.

Simple Ways to Refuel Employee Engagement

Free Flowing Communication
Open and easy communication solves 2 of the 3 causes of employee disengagement. Empower employees to communicate openly using tools like Intranet and Enterprise Social Networks. These platforms provide multiple ways for dynamic discussions to occur across organizations in real-time, including interdepartmental and multi-level communication. This type of communication destroys the silos that lead to employees feeling anonymous and irrelevant because they have a way to make their voices heard, show their work, and get feedback from everyone in the organization.

For example, employees who openly share their work on the company Intranet via their blog or wiki will no longer feel anonymous when colleagues and leadership personnel are commenting on and liking their work. Likewise, employees can create interdepartmental workspaces on the company Intranet to develop and discuss the work that matters to them, and show how it fits in the greater goals.

By breaking down communication barriers, you facilitate conversation and consequently develop communities that serve to let employees know they are heard and that they matter.

Measure Employee Performance
Harvard b-school professor Teresa Amabile found that people who can see their progress, even if it’s small, become more excited about their work and are more engaged employees. Meaningful feedback starts with being able to measure team members’ work and making it challenging enough so that they feel a true sense of accomplishment at the end. If your employees are hitting their objectives 100% of the time, then you aren’t challenging them enough.

Set clear goals and objectives and develop parameters for measurement, but know that measurement doesn’t begin and end with tracking. Going right back to communication, create a space on your company Intranet to communicate exactly what those objectives are and how they will be measured. Incorporate performance management technology such as 15Five for surveys, peer recognition, OKR tracking, and feedback to make it simple to ensure that tasks are being appropriately and consistently measured.

By measuring employee performance and making statuses known to the whole organization, you help recharge employee engagement by being able to clearly illustrate success as well as a path toward new and exciting professional challenges.

Helping refuel your employees’ motivation and dedication to your company doesn’t have to be complicated, but it’s important to remember that it takes more to make an employee feel engaged than it does to make an employee happy.

Sure, you can make employees happy with more money, interesting snacks and free lunches, but engaged employees are more than happy. They care about their company and the quality of the work they are producing. They feel motivated and committed to do their best. If you focus on communication and measurement, your employees will take care of the rest.