Is Employee Engagement Important?

Published by Sabine Adams, Manager, Professional Services
June 8th, 2015

When we think about the concept of Employee Engagement, our first thoughts may lean towards happy employees with workplace perks, such as game rooms, coffee bars, gyms and on-site massages. Or, perhaps, we think of employees motivated on growing the company with a firm grasp on the vision for the company and their career.

However, studies have revealed that perks are not related to employee engagement and there is a difference between motivation and engagement. Motivation relates to the individual while engagement relates to the common good (‘me’ versus ‘us’). In essence, a highly satisfied employee or happy employee might still not be fully engaged.

Well, what does the concept of employee engagement mean? According to a Forbes article, “employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. Engaged employees care about their work and work on behalf of the organization. They use discretionary effort.”

That means they go the extra mile: For example it is a products developer working overtime without being asked to by a manager, or the server who picks up a piece of trash off the restaurant floor to keep ‘his’ restaurant looking good, or the secretary who works overtime without being asked.

Engaged employees are excited to work for their company and strive to excel!

What are some of the benefits if our employees are engaged?

A Gallup research study shows that out of 100 million people in America who hold full-time jobs, 30 percent are engaged and inspired at work, 20 percent are actively disengaged and 50 percent are not engaged. If you compare this to rowing a boat with 10 people – the three in the front are actively paddling as fast as they can, the five in the middle are looking at the scenery and the two in the back of the boat are actively sinking the boat.

Engagement_Boat

Gallup estimated that the cost of loss in productivity from disengaged employees is approximately $300 billion, hence having engaged employees impacts the company’s bottom line. The benefit reported is engaged employees have a higher than average individual productivity and remain with the company longer than disengaged employees. This results in lower onboarding and training costs with fewer turnovers.

So what shall we do?

Employee engagement is a process and should not be a top-down initiative. Here are some ideas:

  • Help employees feel like ‘owners’ – givingthe experience of autonomy and connection to a higher purpose
  • Create open communication and transparency – no management ‘secrets’ and surprises
  • Create systemized ways to solicit employee feedback and ideas, with prompt management response and action
  • Offer coaching advice and personal growth development for managers and employees

And:

  • Hire according to your company culture which should be well defined.

Here at First Rate, our culture is lived out in our work based on the values of Love, Give, Serve and Enjoy. These values define how we interact with each other and with our clients while also allowing employees to align to a higher purpose at work.

Employee engagement should be defined, measured and managed in order to drive your business to success and not be a one-time effort. This is how you can drive your company to ultimate success.

At First Rate we have given a lot of thought to employee engagement. As a manager of a team, I understand I play an important role in developing the process of engagement by being transparent, hearing ideas and facilitating employee ownership among other initiatives in order to contribute to the success of First Rate.

About the Author: Sabine Adams, Manager of Core Products has been with First Rate since 2006. She has previously served in multiple roles for First Rate as a Client Service Manager and Implementations Manager. In her current role she leads a team of developers, coordinates priorities for product enhancements and product maintenance. Outside of First Rate, Sabine likes everything outdoors and spends time with her daughter and two dogs.

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