The engaged employee can be an elusive creature, but by recognising the common characteristics you’ll know just what to look out for. Molly Shanahan, from engagement experts Rant & Rave, discusses employee engagement and how to best encourage your employees to thrive.
In the dawn of time an employee was merely someone who came to work and did their job. This is no longer enough, increasingly businesses are needing employees to be fully engaged to reap the full benefits of the workforce. However, with startling statistics suggesting that 71% of all employees are not fully engaged it is clear that the engaged employee is still something of a rare species.
Engaged employees are most commonly found in positive and encouraging environments, which are harder to come by than you may think. It can be difficult for them to settle on a habitat as many businesses don’t allow for real and sustained engagement and therefore these sensitive creatures often tend to move on.
For a healthy habitat look to market leaders because, as statistics suggest, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202% and so businesses performing well are often a giveaway. The important thing to note here is the way in which this habitat is created - successful businesses do not automatically create engaged employees.
The best habit of engaged employees, if you can harness it, is their staying power. Millennials who feel they're at a great workplace are 25 times more likely to plan a long-term future at that workplace (Great Place to Work) and therefore we can see a proven correlation between engagement and retention. Saving costs of employee churn rates as well as removing training and recruitment costs means that the habit of loyalty within engaged employees is a money saving one.
So, you know you’ve got loyalty, but what about productivity? Well, statistics from Hay Group suggest that office workers who are actively engaged are 43% more productive. Employees who are engaged are working at their best and therefore are doing better for the companies they’re in.
What do engaged employees truly thrive on? Cornerstone research suggests that career satisfaction and work-life balance are the top reasons employees stay in their current jobs. Career satisfaction is of course complex in itself, but ensuring things like a healthy amount of challenges and a likeminded team of people all contribute to this overall idea.
It’s no longer enough for an office to be an office. Allowing employees to have time off between working, creating open plan and interactive work spaces, as well as food or travel perks all help to modernise the workplace and help employees flourish.
One of the key characteristics of these creatures is how much they’re affected by those around them. The team employees find themselves in has a direct impact on their engagement and, as a result, their performance. Successful and engaged employees rarely consider themselves to be an individual, they are pack animals by nature and as such they thrive in a team environment.
In fact, it’s not just the team that can have a considerable impact on engagement but also leadership; 80% of employees dissatisfied with their direct manager are disengaged. Businesses that provide honest and transparent communication with their employees from the top about progress and targets, as well as communicating with employees about where they stand in a wider picture, encourage the strength of the team as a whole.
So the real question we face is this: will these complex creatures face extinction anytime soon? With the fact that 1 in 3 workers will change jobs in the next 6 months, employers need to wake up and realise the value of engaged employees. They are vital, and if treated unfairly, they will not be around forever.
Employers need to ensure employees are in an environment that makes them thrive. Understanding changing demands of employees keeps them engaged: whether that’s reiterating a meaningful culture or ensuring they are consistently being challenged and rewarded. If you create a positive climate and truly listen to your workforce, engaged employees should be stick around for years to come.
About Rant & Rave
Rant & Rave is a leading customer engagement specialist, counting half of the FTSE as clients. Its real-time technology lets brands proactively communicate with and listen to the voice of their customers so they can take real-time, inspired action.