"To find joy at work is to discover the fountain of youth." – Pearl S Bunk.
Engaged doesn't mean satisfied. Just being satisfied doesn't go far enough.
Engaged doesn't mean being happy. You might be happy with your work, but that doesn't mean you are working hard towards the organization's goals.
So, the question remains - "What is employee engagement?"
Employee engagement is an emotional commitment; it means that employees care about their work and their company. It doesn't just end at working for a paycheck or just for their next promotion.
When employees are engaged – they care. They use their discretionary effort. They go the extra mile.
Many confuse employee engagement with employee motivation. Even though both the factors differentiate from being ordinary to extraordinary. Employee Motivation is more to do with the energy or enthusiasm an employee gets to work. In contrast, employee engagement is an approach, which results from providing appropriate work conditions to the employees.
Both, when put together, are a recipe for success.
I always believe "It takes two to tango."
Yet we often look at what can a company do…..? or what can the managers do to increase employee engagement..?
The other question is, "What can each individual do to become fully engaged and create a great place to work?"
According to the IDG research, 57% of how we feel about our job comes from external factors outside our control; however, 43% comes from intrinsic motivation and attitudes that we control. The study proves that although your manager has an important role to play, you as an individual must also contribute to your engagement.
"Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it." – Words quoted by Budhha emphasize it is essential for an individual to be engaged for your personal growth, better health, family life, and overall a happy life.
Your emotions at work – good or bad spill over into your personal life and individuals at the workplace too. It is called the spillover effect, which can be positive or negative.
Employees need to communicate better. It's not what we communicate which is a problem but what we don't communicate that creates a problem. There has to be two-way communication between the employees and the managers about clearly defining their responsibility and long-term goals.
Employees need to talk to their managers if they feel they aren't growing or developing to their satisfaction.
Employees need to become lifelong learners, thank their colleagues, appreciate their achievements sincerely, learn from them. At the same time, if you feel your company or your manager could be doing more to foster a culture of appreciation, simply bring up your ideas to your boss.
As rightly said by Gary Hamel, "Companies that score highly on engagement have better earnings and fatter margins."
Engaged employees are more productive; they lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction, further leading to higher sales and higher profits.
With the hit of the pandemic in 2020 and work from home, most leaders and managers face this as a serious problem with today's workforce. However, it has given companies an opportunity to ace the art of employee engagement.
Organizations across the globe underwent more changes than any employee could handle. Most leaders struggle to define, measure, and improve engagement in their teams. Any change can be intensely personal for employees and cause insecurity and fear, overall reducing productivity.
The steps of employee engagement are not complex, but they must be prioritized.
1) Give everyone the right role: Communicate with how employees can contribute to the organization's mission, purpose, and objectives. Show them clearly their career path and growth prospects.
2) Give them the proper training: More and more companies today are providing leadership and motivational trainings to their employees, which helps them realize the benefits of higher engagement from their side. This training motivates them and allows them to set clear goals. A lot of emotional intelligence training helps the employees work with the right mindset helping in higher overall productivity.
3) Check on them often: Weekly give and take feedback where the employees feel more valued, keeping open communication.
4) Coaching: Leaders and managers should have a coaching approach rather than simply directing them.
5) Transparency: Managers should be transparent and frequently discuss matters encouraging engagement. Hold "Engagement meetings" where everyone is engaged in the discussion and solution.
Companies that get this right will easily surpass employee engagement and employee motivation problems and quickly climb to the top to make it the best place to work.