According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace report, 70% of employees are not engaged at work. What was once viewed as a problematic trend is now common amongst many workplaces, and it’s leaving behind numerous negative consequences for employers. Poor employee engagement results in less productivity, less creativity, greater absenteeism and higher turnover.
Fortunately, low engagement isn’t inevitable. Some organizations have great employee engagement because they make developing and retaining employees a top priority. Their employees consciously and consistently work for the good of their organization. They’re committed, innovative and driven to help their coworkers and organization thrive.
You can’t force an employee to be engaged—engagement is ultimately their choice. But, you can create working conditions that inspire and empower employees to make that choice. Your ultimate goal is to create an engaging culture—a workplace culture that prompts and rewards engagement. Here’s how you create it:
Define the specific purpose of your organization What do you do? What’s your style? How are you different from the competition? Employees can’t be engaged unless they have something to be engaged in. Engagement needs direction, focus. And employees need to know how their role contributes to the organization’s purpose. To get buy-in from employees and to attract top candidates, develop an employee value proposition that defines who you are and the benefits of working for your organization.
Commit to the success of your employees If you want employees to work for your organization’s success, you must work for theirs. Coach them. Train them. Help them develop their skills and abilities and invest in them. They’ll see that you are committed to their present and future success, and they’ll know that you trust them. And knowing you’re committed to them, they’ll be more committed to you.
Recognize employees who go above and beyond In a culture of engagement, just getting the job done isn’t enough. Encourage extra effort by rewarding it. Formal recognition programs are a great way to do this. And by recognizing employees for their efforts, you show them that their work is valued and meaningful.
Encourage criticism, feedback, and innovation Every organization could use improvement and it’s crucial to understand what makes your employees tick. Solicit their ideas. Be open to their suggestions. By giving your employees a say in the organization’s operations and working conditions, you provide them with a sense of ownership. Policies, procedures, and practices shouldn’t all be dictated from the top but should be formed with the help of employee feedback.
Allow for a healthy work-life balance Candidates are looking for employers that value the entire person by promoting work/life balance and honoring family and personal commitments. They want to work for employers who are willing to offer the flexibility that meets their needs. It can mean completing a 40-hour work week in 4 days or varying arrival and departure times. Though flexible work schedules may not work for every organization, employers would be wise to consider how this benefit could widen the talent pool, impact productivity and improve retention rates.
Need more tips on creating a culture of engagement? Paycor has created expert articles and guides on the importance of employee engagement. Start by checking out more tips from Paycor’s Chief Human Resource Officer Karen Crone. Then, get our free whitepaper “Employee Engagement: Why You Can’t Afford to Get It Wrong.”