Your Complete Guide to Employee Engagement

Posted by Trakstar • March 17, 2023 • 10 min read

Employee engagement is a crucial aspect of any organization’s success. Without it, organizations will flounder with retention rate issues and a revolving door of employees. Engaged employees are more productive, committed, and likely to stay with their employers for extended periods. If historical knowledge and succession are historical problems for your organization, employee engagement is likely at the heart of it.

Leaders owe it to their employees to ensure they are engaged with their work – for organizational success and overall happiness and well-being.

Why? Disengaged employees can significantly impact an organization’s bottom line, leading to decreased productivity, higher turnover rates, and lower overall morale. One disengaged employee can impact countless others by making their jobs harder, bringing their attitudes to meetings, or preventing growth.

In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of employee engagement, what factors influence it, and how organizations can increase engagement levels to improve their performance and bottom line.

What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is a term that encompasses a lot of things, including the amount of enthusiasm and commitment someone has towards their work, their coworkers, and the organization at large. This looks different for every organization and even within individual departments.

Engagement measures how happy someone is with what they do and how much work they are likely to put in, and it can even impact retention rates.

We like to sum it up in a simple formula:

Employee Satisfaction + Performance = Employee Engagement

Why is Employee Engagement Important?

Engaged employees are typically more productive, more committed to their organizations, and more likely to stay with their employers for longer periods. They are also more likely to speak positively about their organizations and recommend them to others as an ideal place of employment. This can impact your brand’s reputation and how the general public looks at you – something that matters for many organizations.

Employee engagement is vital for several other reasons as well:

  1. Increased productivity: Engaged employees are more likely to get their work done and done well. They will go the extra mile to ensure things are working correctly.
  2. Reduced turnover: Employees who are engaged with their work are less likely to leave their jobs, helping to create a workforce where people stay and grow together.
  3. Improved customer satisfaction: Engaged employees are more likely to provide high-quality service to customers, which can result in increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  4. Enhanced innovation: Engaged employees are more likely to be creative and willing to share their ideas.
  5. Healthier workplace culture: Engaged employees are more likely to have positive relationships with their colleagues and managers, creating a healthier workplace culture and improving overall job satisfaction. This creates a place where people have good employee wellness and aren’t feeling the pull of burnout or quiet quitting.

Employee engagement is crucial because it can contribute to a more successful, productive, and sustainable organization.

Who is Responsible For Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is the responsibility of both the employer and the employees’ commitment at a certain point. Both parties have a part in creating a positive work environment and fostering engagement. Employees owe it to each other to create this environment, which should be built into their roles. You’ll hear the term “culture creators” thrown around about some employees – they are a benefit. However, it is the duty of employers to set expectations and align your company culture to those expectations. Culture and engagement start at the top – if the C-Suite is checked out, it won’t be long before others follow them.

Employers are primarily responsible for creating conditions that support employee engagement and what is done to uphold them. This includes providing a safe and healthy work environment for everyone (fold this into your DEI initiatives and ongoing sensitivity training), offering opportunities for professional development through a learning management system, recognizing and rewarding employee contributions small and large, and promoting a positive workplace culture. Employers should also provide clear communication, feedback, and guidance to help employees understand their roles and responsibilities and to ensure that they have the resources and support they need to succeed.

Employees also have a responsibility to engage with their work and contribute to a positive work environment. This includes being accountable for their performance, communicating effectively with their colleagues and managers, and taking initiative to improve their skills and knowledge. Employees should also be willing to provide feedback and suggestions for improving the workplace, and to support their colleagues in achieving shared goals.

What Most Companies Are Getting Wrong About Employee Engagement

Most organizations focus on extrinsic motivation. They provide bonuses, awards, or acknowledgments for a job well done. However, these short-term rewards are ineffective when employees deal with more complex problems. You can only put a bandage on things for so long before they start to boil over.

The key here is intrinsic motivation – or personal fulfillment. This is what keeps employees truly motivated and productive day after day. We have found that the three pillars of highly motivated employees in any organization are:

  • Mastery: There are resources for the person to develop the skills and knowledge to be good at their job.
  • Autonomy: The person has significant influence in the decision-making at their work.
  • Purpose: The person is aligned with the organization’s mission and values.

Three pillars of employee engagement.

Now, there’s a lot that goes into really fulfilling those pillars.

What Do Engaged Employees Look Like?

Engaged employees can look like many different things, as a lot will depend on their own personalities and outlook on life in general. Engaged employees who are introverts may look completely different from engaged employees who are extroverted. The same can be said for hybrid or in-person employees and remote employees.

In general, some traits of engaged employees are:

  • Focused
  • Productive
  • Proactive
  • Self-Starters
  • Committed
  • Collaborative
  • Supportive
  • Open to Feedback

It’s important to note that engaged employees aren’t always the ones willing to work extra hours or stay late. In fact, they often have a great work-life balance. It’s better to ensure that your top performers aren’t burning out.

What Are The Goals of Employee Engagement Programs?

The primary goal of writing an employee engagement plan is to create a roadmap for improving employee engagement and satisfaction within an organization. This will lead to better retention rates, improved employee performance, and pathways to succession and fulfillment.

(This doesn’t mean that engaged employees can’t leave! However, engaging employees (and doing other retention efforts at the same time) should keep retention levels steady or higher over time.

Some specific goals of writing an employee engagement plan may include:

  • Identifying areas for improvement as an organization: An employee engagement plan can help to identify areas where employee engagement is currently low or where there is room for improvement. Then, your c-suite needs to follow up with action
  • Developing targeted initiatives: An employee engagement plan can help to develop targeted initiatives that address specific areas of concern. You can focus on tackling easy wins and the things that matter most to your employees.
  • Creating accountability: An employee engagement plan can help to create accountability for improving engagement. This is hard to do – sometimes, sending an expectations letter might be a great approach.
  • Improving retention and performance: Ultimately, an employee engagement plan aims to improve retention and performance within the organization.

Writing an employee engagement plan aims to identify areas for improvement, develop targeted initiatives, build a shared understanding, create accountability, and improve retention and performance. However, these goals are likely to look very different for every organization. Whatever they look like, they should fit into your talent management program.

How to Improve Employee Engagement

Is your company struggling with low employee engagement rates? Fixing organizational culture and running engagement surveys are a few things you can do. 

However, using technology to stem turnover and improve engagement might be your best approach. At Trakstar, we’ve built Engagement Surveys into Trakstar Perform for this very reason. We offer a few different options:

Employee Engagement Surveys

Employee engagement surveys are tools used by organizations to measure the level of engagement and satisfaction among their employees. These surveys typically ask employees questions about topics that matter or they think have an impact on the employee experience.

The results of employee engagement surveys can provide valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of an organization’s engagement efforts. By analyzing the results, organizations can identify areas for improvement and develop targeted initiatives to address specific issues. Employee engagement surveys can also be used to track progress over time and to measure the effectiveness of engagement initiatives.

Questions for Employee Engagement Surveys

Employee engagement surveys can be designed in a variety of ways, but they typically include questions about topics such as:

  • Job satisfaction: How satisfied are employees with their jobs? Do they feel that their work is meaningful and fulfilling?
  • Work environment: Do employees feel that the work environment is safe, comfortable, and conducive to productivity?
  • Management effectiveness: How effective are managers at communicating with employees, providing feedback, and supporting their development?
  • Organizational culture: How do employees perceive the culture of the organization? Is it supportive, collaborative, and innovative?
  • Compensation and benefits: Are employees satisfied with their compensation and benefits packages?

Some other questions can include: 

  1. How satisfied are you with your current role and responsibilities?
  2. Do you feel that your contributions are valued and recognized by your manager and colleagues?
  3. How often do you receive feedback on your work performance?
  4. Do you feel that you have opportunities for growth and development within the organization?
  5. How satisfied are you with the communication and transparency within the organization?
  6. Do you feel that the organization’s mission and values align with your own?
  7. How satisfied are you with the work-life balance offered by the organization?
  8. Do you feel that the organization promotes a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion?
  9. How satisfied are you with your compensation and benefits package?
  10. Would you recommend this organization as a great place to work to your friends and family?

These questions are just examples and can be adapted to suit the specific needs and goals of an organization’s employee engagement survey.

Employee Opinion Polls

Employee opinion polls can be used for serious topics or just as a way to have some fun with your employees. If you want to get specific information on a narrow topic, running an opinion poll is a great option.

It’s also a fantastic option to use when you have a predefined set of answers to a question you have. This will prevent people from adding their own thoughts.

Manager Check-In 

Does it feel like your department’s mood is off? Using a manager check-in is a great way to see what’s happening and see where problems might arise. This is a great way to stall any issues that are just starting and tackle any problems that have become pervasive.

The tide can shift in a department within just a few seconds, so it’s important to run these regularly.

Custom Surveys

Want to start from scratch? Use a custom survey to completely personalize how you approach topics, questions, and employee engagement.

What to Look For in Employee Engagement Software

There are several important features to consider when looking for employee engagement software. Here are some key factors to look for:

  1. Customization and flexibility: Look for software to customize surveys, questions, and feedback mechanisms to suit your organization’s unique needs.
  2. Real-time analytics and reporting: Real-time analytics and reporting features can help you track engagement metrics and identify trends, allowing you to make data-driven decisions.
  3. Integration with other software: Look for software that integrates with other HR systems, such as performance management and learning management systems, to provide a comprehensive view of employee engagement.
  4. Actionable insights: The software should provide actionable insights to help you address areas of concern and improve employee engagement.

Overall, the right employee engagement software should help you understand and improve employee engagement, increase employee satisfaction, and ultimately drive business success.

Measuring Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is measured in a variety of ways, such as through surveys, focus groups, and performance metrics. It is often influenced by factors such as leadership, communication, recognition and rewards, opportunities for growth and development, and positive work culture. That’s why it was natural for Trakstar to build employee engagement surveys into our performance management system – everything is interlinked.

You can see how many people answer your engagement survey, participate in company-wide activities, show up to meetings with a positive attitude, and contribute when necessary. 

Ready to up-level your employee engagement process? Click here to schedule a demo of Trakstar Perform – performance management with employee engagement!

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