We hear the term “employee engagement” tossed around frequently, but what does it mean and why is it so important to your organization? By definition, employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and invest discretionary effort in their work.
Employee engagement is not the same thing as employee satisfaction, which only measures happiness levels. You can have a happy employee who is not necessarily an engaged one. For example, if Jake spends half his day on social media, he might be happy, but he is far from engaged with his work. On the flip side, if Alice’s boss forces her to work ninety-hour weeks with insufficient pay, she may technically be engaged but she is not satisfied. In an ideal environment, both employee engagement and satisfaction are high.
This is very difficult, of course, as no two employees are alike. People have different priorities and life circumstances that affect their ability to engage with work. Some prefer the flexibility of working remotely; others prefer working in person with their team in an office environment. Often times, the changes that top-performing employees crave may be the opposite of what lower performers desire. That’s why it’s crucial for every organization to be nimble and receptive to a diverse set of needs.
Measuring engagement isn’t exactly easy. First, you can measure engagement within the organization—that is, how employees feel about senior management, the overall direction of the company, and other macro indicators. Second, you can measure engagement on a team-by-team basis. Do employees feel valued by their managers? Are they treated fairly? Do they feel their work is contributing to the broader strength of the organization? Ideally, workers feel engaged at both levels, but it’s common for one or the other to be stronger.
All told, studies show that the highest performing organizations benefit from these four pillars of engagement, both on a company-wide and team-by-team basis:
First, does your organization have a CULTURE of engagement? That is, are employees motivated to improve their skills and accept new responsibilities while simultaneously feeling valued for their hard work?
Second, how is the ALIGNMENT between employees’ day-to-day tasks with the broader direction of the company? In other words, do they feel their work is actively pushing the organization toward its goals?
Third, are managers making the CONNECTION to motivate their direct reports to try their best? Even the largest corporation is simply a collection of individual relationships, and a toxic environment can be quickly evident by how well managers connect with their employees.
Finally, how well do managers relay their expectations? Does each team member have a clear role and responsibility? Are there mechanisms in place to hold employees ACCOUNTABLE for delivering results?
The data show that companies are largely suffering from a lack of employee engagement. A massive 142-country study by Gallup found that only 13% of employees are engaged at work. Meanwhile, 63% are “not engaged” and 24% are “actively disengaged, indicating they are very unhappy, unproductive, and likely to contribute to low overall morale. The numbers are a bit better here in the United States, but not by a whole lot: 29% of workers are engaged, 54% are not engaged, and 18% are actively disengaged. All told, checked-out employees cost the American economy some $605 billion in lost productivity every single year.
All of this can be boiled down to a simple question: do employees in your organization arrive at work in the morning with a clear goal and roadmap to success? As we’ve seen, this is not the case for most companies. You can certainly go out and try to recruit the most engaged and passionate employees, but that solution fails to address the cause of the problem: a lack of infrastructure devoted to making employees feel safer and more comfortable in the workplace. If nearly a third of our adult lives are spent at work, shouldn’t we be doing everything possible to make that time pleasant?
For too long, organizations have failed to see the employer-employee relationship as a two-way street. Employees were expected to show up in the morning, devote a chunk of their time to their jobs, and then leave. They were given basic health insurance and expected to handle the rest of the wellness experience on their own. Is it really any wonder that most employees aren’t engaged by their work?
Employees increasingly want the organizations they work for to align with their personal beliefs and interests. Look no further than corporate wellness. The latest data show that 72% of millennials exercise at least once per week, and 95% care deeply about their health. One survey found that a full 97% of young workers would prefer their company to provide a wellness program. If an employee is trying to lose weight, quit smoking, or train for a marathon, why should they have to do this on their own time? In an age when work-life balance is becoming work-life blend, when we are expected to answer emails from the couch at 10pm, personal goals and work goals should not be mutually exclusive.
This is where wellness and engagement software comes in. It is essential in 2020 for every company to give their team the power to create a culture of recognition and wellbeing. In order to compete in the modern economy, organizations must strive to enhance company culture and the employee experience far beyond the paycheck. This means the workplace must transform into a place employees associate not just with work, but improving health, learning new wellness routines, and meeting like-minded coworkers. Staying technologically present with push notifications, automatic emails, surveys, participation rosters, an employee directory, and events management features allow HR professionals to track employee engagement easily, effectively, and efficiently.
Training Amigo was built from the ground up with the four pillars of engagement in mind. With wellbeing assessments, fitness tracking, health journeys, prizes, and company-wide events, Training Amigo helps you cultivate a culture of engagement by boosting morale and camaraderie. Make employees at all levels feel more aligned with the broader company with gamification features that pit your organization against others all across the world in friendly wellness competitions. Let employees connect with their managers and direct reports on a deeper, more personal level with inter-company challenges and events, all of which can be tracked and managed in one easy place. Finally, the Training Amigo software promotes accountability with recognition features that spotlight individual employees and encourage others to be their best possible selves.
At Training Amigo, we believe that health and wellness can unite the four pillars of engagement: culture, alignment, connection, and accountability. Build organic camaraderie by uniting employees all across the organization with the common purpose of getting healthy and active, from executives to accountants to support staff. With the simple and affordable Training Amigo software, you bring employee engagement to the next level, and in the process transform your workplace so employees feel supported in every aspect of life. Now watch your organization and culture thrive!