Want Engaged Employees? Here are 5 Things Your Employees Need to Hear from You
It doesn’t take an expert in human resources to know that engaged employees are the best employees.
Engaged employees are emotionally invested in the success of their organization. They believe in its mission and work creatively and flexibly to help meet goals. They know where they fit into the organization and plan to stay for the long term. In short, they feel like they belong.
They also help drive profitability. Business units made up of highly engaged employees are 21 percent more profitable than their peers. They score 10 percent higher on customer ratings and boast 20 percent higher sales, according to Gallup. They also have much lower absenteeism.
Employee engagement is more than job satisfaction. Engaged employees don’t just happily go through the motions. They proactively seek out ways to improve both personal and organizational performance. They are creative thinkers that make connections and seek out information to offer new ideas and inspire others to do their best.
This level of engagement isn’t an accident or a side effect of running a financially sound business. It’s something that must be deliberately cultivated.
There are plenty of people who have the potential to be engaged employees but aren’t. These folks haven’t yet found a work environment where they believe their time and talents are fully valued, appreciated, and utilized. But you can believe they are looking for one. According to recruitment firm Hays, 47 percent of active job seekers say they are leaving their current job due to company culture.
That tracks with data from Quantum Workplace. It found that 90 percent of highly engaged employees plan to stay with their current organization for the next year compared to just 47 percent of not-highly engaged employees.
Building a culture of employee engagement
What can a financial organization do to create a work environment that attracts people with the potential for high engagement while fostering and retaining existing talent? It’s all about communication.
Engagement is a two-way street. It’s not just making sure employees are listening to what you have to say. It’s building trust.
It’s actively listening to employee feedback on how to make the workplace more fulfilling—from working conditions to big picture ideas. It’s showing that your company sees employees as a valuable resource worthy of respect, dignity, and work-life balance and that people are more than their jobs. It’s creating opportunities for employees to connect with each other and build bonds that make them feel supported and part of a team.
That’s not always easy to do. From multi-office organizations to an increasingly remote and hybrid workforce, piling everyone into a conference room for bonding during company-wide lunch or sitting together to hear the latest company news often isn’t practical. Meanwhile, employees are regularly bombarded with email, making it easy for initiatives to get lost in the shuffle.
Communications software makes it possible to activate employee engagement. The right communications software helps your employees start the day with powerful positive reinforcement that makes them feel good about coming to work at your company every day. Combined with managers that embrace an employee-focused mindset and welcome feedback, communications software helps employees feel empowered and connected to the larger organization. This is especially valuable at growing or spread-out companies where employees might otherwise feel isolated or forgotten. It also holds true at smaller organizations by reinforcing the messaged delivered by management.
Even if your organization is one of the best places to work in the industry, you’re not maximizing the value of your employee-centric culture if you’re not actively promoting it and highlighting the many accomplishments of your organization and its employees.
Here are five ways your organization is missing out if it’s not leveraging communications software to boost employee engagement and retention.
1. More visible career opportunitiesMore visible career opportunities
Professional development and opportunities for advancement are high on the wish list for employees, including 87 percent of millennials, according to Gallup.
Thirteen percent of employees area looking for opportunities at their current company, according to new research by Betterworks, and 20 percent of those who leave a job would have stayed if they had better career development opportunities.
It’s natural that smart, motivated employees want to learn and grow, and it’s in your organization’s best interest to help them do that. One of the best ways of doing this is by putting information about job opportunities, training, and promotions front and center.
This shows employees your organization is:
- Is growing and thriving
- Understands the desire to grow and change and encourages them to learn and apply for different roles within the organization
- Believes in its staff and actively promotes from within
It doesn’t matter if your organization actively promotes employees and welcomes them into new roles if no one knows those roles exist. Employees ignore anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of emails they receive, many studies show. That includes messages from human resources, making it a less than ideal option for sharing opportunities.
Advertise opportunities where your employees are. That includes highlighting them front and center in regular updates through your communications software. In a world where people are drawn to social media networks, this type of feed can help employees easily find and digest information—reminding them they are in a dynamic workplace with room for growth and not trapped in a role.
Make it clear that you’re offering more than a job. You’re offering a career.
2. Building personal connectionsBuilding personal connections
Employees don’t expect a work environment where everyone looks and thinks like them. They expect a workplace that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI), and they want to have meaningful interactions with fellow employees.
Use your communications software to show employees that they are part of an organization that values DEI and a wide variety of perspectives. From highlighting new hires to publishing staff bios that offer insights into who employees are both at work and in their real lives—whether that’s volunteer work, athletics, travel, or a love of pets—it gives employees an opportunity to get to know the people they work with and understand the types of people your company prefers to hire.
3. Making a difference through volunteer opportunitiesMaking a difference through volunteer opportunities
Engaged employees care about making a difference. Make it easy for them to fill that bucket by prominently displaying opportunities to volunteer. Whether it’s serving on committees dedicated to making the workplace more fun or exploring ideas for exploring wellness or becoming involved in mentorship programs to connect more experienced staff with those eager to learn more, communications software makes it easy to show ways to get involved.
It also can offer opportunities to take part in companywide volunteer initiatives like volunteering at the food bank or buying holiday gifts for local families in need and highlight charitable donations the organization has made. Even if employees don’t want to participate, it creates a feel-good moment that shows your organization cares about more than the bottom line.
4. Recognizing employee accomplishments and milestonesRecognizing employee accomplishments and milestones
When employees go above and beyond for the organization, the organization should go above and beyond for them and sing their praises. From positive client feedback to educational accomplishments, to completing a major project, don’t let accomplishments pass by without recognition.
Use your communications software to share news of a job well done, everything from signing a new client or meeting a goal to achieving new heights in customer service excellence. Not only will it make successful employees feel seen, but it also reminds them that their work is meaningful to the organization and essential to its success. It shows that everyone has a role to play and that your organization that celebrates accomplishments of all sizes across the organization.
It also reveals the types of internal expertise available. Whether it’s a certification, degree, professional award, or a news story of podcast guest spot, highlighting these activities shows employees the deep bench of expertise available your organization. This can spur ideas for collaboration and mentorship that helps the organization while boosting employee engagement.
5. Collecting and reacting to employee feedback.Collecting and reacting to employee feedback. One of the best ways to make employees feel seen and heard is through polls and surveys. Not only does it serve as a pulse check that lets you know how employees are feeling, it’s evidence that employee input matters.
One of the best ways to make employees feel seen and heard is through polls and surveys. Not only does it serve as a pulse check that lets you know how employees are feeling, it’s evidence that employee input matters.
It’s a trend that was reinforced during the pandemic. Quantum Workplace reported near-record levels of employee engagement during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The reason: Employers were actively checking in on employees to gauge their needs and offer flexibility.
Whether it’s asking for feedback on management performance or asking for input on the preferred way to celebrate company milestones or holidays, communications software helps your organization gather metrics that are meaningful on multiple levels. It helps identify both human resources challenges and opportunities, everything from decreased engagement to employee wish lists, giving your company the data managers need to stave off turnover and make informed decisions.
It also makes it possible to publish the results and provide commentary on what the organization is doing in response to the data. This shows employees that surveys are not just for show.
Boosting employee engagement with communications software
As the Great Resignation continues, hiring new employees remains challenging and expensive. Investing in tools, such as communications software, to invigorate employee engagement is far more efficient and cost-effective than recruiting and training new employees.
Chances are your organization is already doing great things and finding ways to make your workplace attractive to existing and future employees. Don’t let all that good work get lost in shuffle. Make sure you’re using communications software to give employees a dynamic starting point where they can begin each day with a reminder of the opportunities available to them and a sense of purpose. Show your employees that you’re listening to and investing in them, so that they’ll want to continue to invest in you.