According to a Gallup poll, an estimated 85% of American workers are either not engaged or actively disengaged at work. This is a soberingfact, especially considering that most people will spend at least one third of their lives working.
But what does engagement really mean? What would it take to increase engagement? Answering these questions is crucial for any business that expects to succeed and to stay competitive in an era of rapid change.
What is engagement?
Often, engagement is measured by terms such as “output,” “happiness,” or “satisfaction.” However, while all of these factors are important, they are not the same as engagement. For example, for some employees, being satisfied means doing as little work as possible while still collecting a paycheck.
Engagement, on the other hand, means the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals. Specifically, an engaged employee cares about more than just a paycheck or promotion. What they care about is the company’s goals, values, and purpose. Engaged employees embrace change, seek out ways to improve, and challenge the status quo. In short, employee engagement drives performance and gives your business a competitive edge. One of the most important and crucial ways to nurture employee engagement is by ensuring that your employees have a clear sense of purpose.
Purpose: The secret weapon for employee engagement
One of the most important factors that powers engagement is purpose. An employee who feels a sense of purpose is more likely to be enthusiastic about work, rise to senior level positions, form stronger bonds with colleagues, and stay with the company long-term.
Understanding purpose depends on asking the right “why.” Identifying purpose can be a nebulous andrandomprocess, so try to take time at an employee’s yearly or quarterly review to ask them specific questions, such as the following:
- How do you define success?
- What is the most rewarding project you’ve completed at work? Why was it rewarding?
- How would others describe your contributions at work?
- If you had all the time in the world to volunteer, where would you volunteer?
- What has been the hardest moment? What helped you work through it?
These or similar questions can help an employee define in specific language what their purpose is and how it aligns with the company’s purpose. You can further create and nurture a sense of purpose by providing onboarding and training (especially for new employees). Onboarding and training not only help employees clearly understand their responsibilities, these processes also provide an ideal time for employees to bond with other coworkers and develop a connection to the company.
Compassionate leadership: The heart of employee engagement
It’s a common saying that people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. Fortunately, the opposite is also true. Employers who inspire their employees create greater employee engagement. A compassionate leader is one who is present, authentic, holds people accountability, and shows empathy.
There are several specific ways you can lead with compassion. For example, take time to acknowledge your employees. This more than just giving them praise. It means acknowledging their presence personally. Take time to say “hello, “ “thank you,” or “have a good night.” When someone puts in an extra effort, thank them personally. Include birthdays, anniversaries, and accomplishments in your company’s newsletter or other business communications. Notice if someone is feeling overloaded or stressed and offer to help find solutions.
In short, compassion is more than just being nice. It is a type of action that helps people reach their full potential. It creates a safe environment where people can take risks, share ideas, and actively engage in furthering the company’s purpose.
Creativity: Employee engagement’s innovator
There are several interesting and fun ways foster employee engagement and keep the concept fresh and exciting for your company.
One creative strategy is to implement a lunch-and-learn program. Trying hosting a free lunch on Fridays, where employees get one-on-one time with the CEO of the company. You can also try creating a “job swap” or “job shadowing” program. This helps employees understand how each team is important for achieving company goals. Job swaps also help cross-train employees and build camaraderie.
Other interesting ideas include keeping the psychology of color and arrangement in mind in your workplace. Some companies practice feng shui, or the art of arranging space to reflect emotions. If you have the resources, you can also create a relaxing place for lunch, ping pong, basketball, or any area that encourages a quick break and recharge.
Revisit your employee engagement plan
The difference between excellence and mediocrity in the workplace turns on the level of employee engagement. It’s important to note that factors such as purpose, compassionate leadership, and creativity are not merely soft skills. They are power skills that allow your team to perform their best and to actively engage in their work. Creating and nourishing employee engagement creates a fulfilling and innovative workforce that leads to tangible and powerful business results in the present-;and helps secure the success of your company for the future.
Shu Saito founded Fact Retriever in 2016 and has served as its CEO since its inception. Saitoattributes most of his success to his creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. With abackground in music composition and business, Saito continues to infuse his work with acreative and dynamic vision.