Employee Engagement & Why It Matters [A Lot]

May 28

We know there are limits to leveraging technology and to focusing on workflow, but there is unlimited potential when you pour into your people.

When it comes to attracting and retaining employees, employee job satisfaction and employee engagement are the two top factors for maintaining your hopefully-happy workforce.

Satisfaction v. Engagement 

Employee satisfaction is the measurement of an employee’s contentment in his job. Many factors can play in, such as the company, the leadership, the pay, benefits, work-life balance, and not to mention, the work itself. 

Employees who are happy with their jobs are more likely to stay committed to the organization in work ethic, but also to the company. Likewise, for you, the employer, it means lower turnover rates. 

More than 600 US businesses with 50-500 employees, 63.3% of companies say retaining employees is actually harder than hiring them, according to a study from Haiilo. Employee engagement, while still a ball game, is a whole different one. Defined as, “the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization”, employee engagement is not about the benefits or bonuses- it's employees actually caring about the success of the business.

Even if your company offers the best health insurance for a radius of 1,000 miles, job-seekers are now looking more closely at an organization’s work culture and values, and opportunities for growth. If you are not solid in the culture and service you offer, you will not be able to grab motivated employees and henceforth, retain them.

The Top Motivator- And It’s Not Money

It doesn’t matter if you are a CEO, a town manager, an equipment operator, a sewer laborer, a fire chief- employees all want the same thing.
Money is not the only motivator- not even the top motivator. People leave due to lack of recognition- not money. 69% of employees say they would work harder if they were better appreciated, based on a study from HubSpot.

As Bob Nelson suggests in the video below, people don’t go to work out of excitement for dental coverage. They go to work because they are appreciated and feel motivated to do a good job.  

A Few Tips for Maintaining Engaged Employees:

If you want your employees to stay committed and engaged, they need to have a good work-life balance, and have relationships with other employees. Having a culture where relationships flourish should be one of your top priorities as an organization leader.

Make sure your employees know what is expected of them. Don’t just assume they know. One-on-one monthly meetings and annual reviews help ensure your employees are on the same page of their own accord. Not just because they’ve been hired to be.

Which brings up the fascinating statistic, that, shockingly, 91% of employees think their leaders lack critical communication skills.

In a survey taken by Inc., employees reported the following about their manager’s communication skills:

  • Not recognizing employee achievements -- reported by 63 percent of respondents
  • Not giving clear directions -- 57 percent
  • Not having time to meet with employees -- 52 percent
  • Refusing to talk to subordinates -- 51 percent
  • Taking credit for others' ideas -- 47 percent
  • Not offering constructive criticism -- 39 percent
  • Not knowing employees' names -- 36 percent
  • Refusing to talk to people on the phone/in person -- 34 percent
  • Not asking about employees' lives outside of work -- 23 percent

"Employees also called out other management offenses stemming from low EQ: micromanaging, bullying, narcissism, indecisiveness, and more."

Managers, we are speaking to you: Seek opportunities to recognize the good work of your employees. Try encouraging them on the spot- not just at the end of the week or end of the month. By this time, it’s too late, and employees feel their leaders are out of touch with the day-to-day ongoings of their employees’ work lives.
happy employee and employer
As the world culture is changing more and more, most employees feel overworked and under-appreciated. Encouraging and thus leading better doesn’t have to cost you anything but time. Communicate to your employees the good, the not-so-good, and do it well.

Your HR manager will thank you for it.

Much of how an employee acts, works, and reacts is learned behavior; they are reacting to how they’ve been treated over time. People naturally want to do a good job, and given the opportunity, resources, and training, they will do as such.

A Few Easy Action Points:

Start, or amp up, caring for your employees.

Schedule monthly connection meetings, and ask them: "What do you like doing best? Special assignments? Where would you like to be five years from now? What’s happening with you? How can I motivate you?"

When your employees feel you have their best interests at heart, they will give you their best. After all, people work for people- not organizations.

Here's to your organization thriving!

HR Maine Consulting