Employee engagement has become a major buzzword in the HR and business development worlds. The idea is that if you can get your employees to feel a stronger connection to the company, then they will be happier and more productive.
However, sometimes it’s not always easy to see why this is the case, which could be part of the reason why so many business owners don’t spend enough time trying to boost employee engagement, evidenced by the fact that only a small percentage of workers are in fact engaged.
But once you see what an employee engagement program can do for your business, you’ll be clambering to find out more about how exactly you can boost engagement.
Don’t get us wrong. It’s no small task, and it’s one that requires some long-term thinking and planning. But if you first understand why this is so important, then it will be easier to see what all that effort is worth it.
Here are some of the most significant ways in which engaged employees become more productive.
One of the characteristics of an engaged workforce is that employees feel a deep connection to the company. They don’t see their jobs as simply “a job,” but instead as a key component of an organization that has been set up to try and do something they support.
Encouraging this type of connection is so important because it allows you to tap into people’s intrinsic motivation, which is another way of saying “that force inside us that pushes us to keep going even when things get difficult.”
Multiple studies have found that extrinsic motivation, which comes in the form of rewards, mainly money, can only get people to do so much. However, when you’re able to unleash someone’s intrinsic motivation, they are often more willing to go the extra mile for the company.
They will begin to feel as though their effort is going towards something that’s important to them, and when this happens, the sky is the limit for what they can do.
Getting to this point, though, is not easy. You need to find ways to communicate to people what the overall purpose of the company is, and this comes from having a strong vision and culture.
However, you don’t always need to convince people their jobs are contributing to some greater cause for them to be intrinsically motivated. Often trusting people to solve difficult problems, or giving them greater autonomy in their jobs, is enough to get people excited and working beyond just the bare minimum, which increases productivity without you having to increase your staff.
A Holistic Approach
Another important aspect of employee engagement is the extent to which people feel as though they are a part of the whole. Many of us have worked jobs at really large companies. In these scenarios, it’s easy to lose sight of how your individual role fits into the overall organization.
This limits productivity not only because it prevents people from unlocking their intrinsic motivation, but it also because it causes people to acquire intense tunnel vision.
If an organization hopes to be productive and remain that way, then it needs to innovate. But a truly innovative company needs everyone involved to be looking for ways of doing things better, which doesn’t happen unless you have an engaged workforce.
This is because if people lose sight of how their role fits into the company, then they will be less inclined to raise issues they see.
For example, they may be wasting a lot of time doing one part of their job, and they might have great ideas as to how to be more efficient. But without that sense of connection to the overall purpose of the company, they likely won’t bother to go through the trouble of suggesting and implementing changes, which holds the company, and everyone else, back.
The Power of Balance
Engaged employees are also afforded the opportunity to achieve balance in their lives. They see their jobs as just one part of their life, and because of this, it takes on more significance.
Anyone who has ever spent period of their life working too hard will surely be able to sympathize with this: if the job takes over your life, then you begin to resent it and even avoid doing it whenever you can.
A good employee engagement program will not only focus on helping people feel closer and more connected to the organization, but it will also focus on helping employees find better balance in their lives.
Doing this will make them happier, and the research about the link between happiness and productivity is too abundant to ignore.
In this sense, it’s important to take a balanced approach to your employee engagement program. You need to focus partly on how people connect to the organization, but you also need to pay attention to what people want from their jobs and their lives.
Combining these two points will help you come up with something that is sure to engage people and help them be more productive.
Get Started Today
The best time to start thinking about this stuff is when you’re first launching your company, as this is when culture and organizational norms are at their most malleable. However, if you’re further along, don’t worry. It’s not too late. Take a look at what you’re doing now so that you can plan and implement your productivity-boosting employee engagement program starting today.