You've probably heard the term 'Quiet Quitting' being thrown around by the media recently. It refers to employees who do the bare minimum required of them and nothing more. It’s an issue that might have been exacerbated by the pandemic and economic uncertainty, but it’s by no means a new phenomenon. Quiet quitters are a classic example of poorly engaged employees.
Employee engagement refers to the extent to which a company’s staff are invested in their roles and in the success of the business as a whole. Highly engaged employees, on the other hand, are invested in their work. As well as having higher levels of job satisfaction, engaged employees have a positive emotional connection with the business and work with a sense of purpose.
It won’t be too much of a surprise then that employee engagement is a big deal, nor that there are significant benefits of having an engaged workforce. In this blog, we will explain why all organizations should be prioritizing employee engagement. We’ll also share some strategies that your company can implement to increase engagement – including one that’s effective as it is unconventional!
Are Engaged Employees More Productive?
Absolutely. Gallup published a report this year which found that highly engaged employees are 18% more productive than their poorly engaged counterparts. I know, this isn’t rocket science: motivated employees are far more likely to go above and beyond to drive the success of their organizations.
But it turns out that there are many other benefits of high employee engagement for companies. The same Gallup report discovered that businesses scoring high on employee engagement also enjoyed 21% higher profitability; 81% lower absenteeism, and 10% higher customer loyalty.
On the other hand, the cost of missing out on these benefits is severe. The Engagement Institute has estimated that poorly engaged employees cost businesses as much as $550bn per year in the US alone. In global terms, we’re looking at $7.8 trillion, or 11% of GDP worldwide.
Strategies to Boost Employee Engagement and Productivity
These numbers are alarming, but if your organization needs to increase its engagement levels, it isn’t alone. Employee engagement is generally low: according to Gallup, just 21% of employees globally score highly. This is why it is vital for every organization to have an effective strategy in place so that they can outperform their competitors. There are several ways for businesses to nurture an engaged workforce that have been proven to be effective. A few of the key approaches include:
Peer-to-Peer Recognition Programs
A platform on which employees can recognize one another’s work can be a huge boost to employee engagement and productivity. Praise from colleagues can raise morale and contribute towards a healthy company culture in which employees feel valued and rewarded. This could take the form of weekly or monthly email shout-outs, or there could be a dedicated space on one of your company’s other online communication channels for staff to recognize their colleagues’ good work. Management could help to drive participation in these programs by rewarding employees who are frequently recognized.
Granting Employees Greater Autonomy
When employees feel like they have greater control over their role and more power in the organization as a whole, they are more likely to have a greater sense of ownership and pride in their work. As a result, their engagement levels will increase and so will their productivity. How much autonomy do employees have at every level of your organization at the moment? It might be that the same old structures and processes have been in place for years and your employees are simply completing task after task. If so, maybe they (and your company) could benefit from having greater freedom to shape what they do and how they do it.
Giving Employees a Voice
Having channels in place where employees can share suggestions and opinions with management is an important way of showing each employee that they are a valued and empowered member of the organization.
This could take the form of an old-fashioned suggestion box, but it might be more effective as a digital space, particularly if your business has a hybrid or remote working policy. Employees could use a pre-existing communication channel such as email, Jive or Slack. Alternatively, a dedicated platform could make contributions easier to manage. But note: giving employees a voice will only increase engagement if your business is willing to listen! If they feel like they are talking into a void, it could have the opposite effect. So be ready to act upon their ideas!
Driving Employee Engagement Through A Culture of Innovation
One really powerful way of engaging employees might not be immediately obvious: developing a company-wide culture of innovation. This can be achieved by implementing an idea management program that gathers your employees’ ideas, encourages them to participate, and helps your business to identify and implement the best ideas.
In addition to making your organization’s products, services and processes more innovative, idea management programs carry all of the same benefits as the key strategies we just covered…
Idea management programs give employees a voice by inviting them to propose ways of driving the business forward. These might be ideas for radical new innovations but they could also be more simple ideas for continuous improvements that the company can make to optimize its processes.
By empowering employees to contribute freely towards new innovation projects, they will feel a greater sense of autonomy, and that they are making a bigger contribution towards the organization’s success. Their ideas don’t need to be restricted to the tasks that make up their everyday working lives: you never know where the best ideas are going to come from. By opening up the innovation process to the whole organization, your employees will become more empowered … and you’ll leverage every brain in the organization in the process.
Idea management programs run using dedicated software also serve as a great facilitator of peer-to-peer recognition. Employees can collaborate with each other to develop ideas, making use of software features that allow them to comment on, vote on, and praise their coworkers’ suggestions. The result: a company culture that recognizes everyone for their ideas to drive the company forward through innovation.
As long as there is buy-in from management and a commitment to transforming those ideas into realities, dedicated idea management software can deliver outstanding results in boosting employee engagement, productivity, and all the other benefits that come with a committed and empowered workforce.
For more on idea management programs, head here. If you are interested in discovering how Qmarkets’ own market-leading idea management software can help you to reap all the benefits of increased employee engagement, take a look at our product page.