Margot is the Human Resources Director for a mid-sized hospitality group. It’s becoming clear that she might not have a solid grip on employee engagement best practices.
Over the last six months she’s noticed a decrease in office morale.
Employees are coming in late and calling out sick more often than usual. Many appear withdrawn, stressed, and attendance at this year’s holiday party was noticeably light.
Most worrisome of all, there’s been a marked drop in productivity.
What Margot has observed are typical “symptoms” of a disengaged workforce. Employee engagement is critical to an organization’s success. High engagement levels are associated with a lower incidence of turnover and a higher level of productivity. In fact…
Work units in the top quartile in employee engagement outperformed bottom-quartile units by 21% in productivity. Work units in the top quartile also saw significantly lower turnover (25% in high-turnover organizations, 65% in low-turnover organizations).
Fortunately, Margot identified the problem and intervened early enough. With the right employee engagement best practices in place, she was able to turn her team around.
Lisa Salcido SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Director of Balance Point’s HR consulting service BPHR, encounters many clients that share the same concerns as Margot. She is cautiously optimistic when offering advice: “If the employee dissatisfaction is not limited to a bad apple here and there but is widespread, there are things you can do to energize your employees.”
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
You may recall learning about Abraham Maslow back in your high school psychology class. According to his Hierarchy of Needs, all people have needs that they instinctively seek to satisfy. He illustrated this through a pyramid with the most basic needs on the bottom level. His theory is often cited when it comes to motivating employees in the workplace, especially the top 3 levels: belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization.
Lisa’s advice supports this and focuses on what we call the Four Cs, four things employees seek from their employers to feel engaged.
Employee Engagement Best Practices
According to a Harvard Business Review survey, 70% of employees say they are most engaged when senior leadership continually updates them and communicates openly. Employees need to be informed to be motivated and fully engaged.
And they need to be heard. Listen to your employees. Encourage employees to speak freely about any job-related questions, concerns and ideas. When their voices are heard and their contributions are valued, employees feel more connected to the company, enthusiastic about their job, and motivated to meet company goals.
Compensation (and Recognition)
Beyond receiving competitive salaries, employees need to feel valued. Provide feedback and recognition often. Discuss individual performance, career goals and set achievable milestones. Employees who feel accountable and appreciated are more productive.
Recognize their potential within the organization by investing in their training and development. Knowing that an employer is willing to provide training builds loyalty and attracts top talent.
According to a Gallup Report, 75% of employers rate teamwork and collaboration as “very important” for success. Coworkers have a profound impact on each other’s job performance and job satisfaction. In productive organizations employees feed off each other’s desire to succeed.
With the rise of remote workers, encouraging collaboration and camaraderie has become more challenging than ever. To help your team collaborate, provide them with the tools they need to share ideas and stay aligned across functions and locations.
Employees feel connected to an organization when they share the same vision. To encourage this, Lisa recommends defining your company through a mission statement, sharing department goals, and continually educating employees on your products and services. “The more your employees know, the faster they will align with the objectives that you are all working towards.”
Connect employees with your mission and goals by identifying where they fit in the process. Review job descriptions and evaluate performance regularly. Take the time to make sure each employee knows what they are doing, why they are doing it, and that their role matters.