Employee engagement is a huge buzzword in the corporate sphere. It seems like every other article about business is either disparaging low employee engagement numbers (about 2/3 of employees are either disengaged from their jobs or actively disengaged), or trying come up weird, goofy ways to get people to actually care about their job. Basically trying to get employees to care about their jobs with out actually paying them more. I kind of understand this thinking, I mean the point of a business is to make money and generate profits for shareholders. So simply paying your employees more would work, but if you have too much G&A, you will most definitely go out of business.
However more and more people are starting to want more from their careers than just pay. But in my opinion people are focusing on the wrong things when it comes to employee engagement. Companies are battling this apathy problem by adding more “perks” like snack bars, free merchandise, and special “team building” events that really no one in the company wants to go to. The intent of these events is to foster a community spirit and a camaraderie among the employees, but it rarely works that way. They don’t really solve the problem of employee engagement.
“Okay that’s great and all, but how do I get employee engagement up?” Well as simple or basic as it may sound you have to actually engage your employees. Really think about it, is having cookouts, giving them free swag because you don’t want to pay them really engaging them at all? If people don’t believe that their work is meaningful then they won’t do meaningful work. To say it a different if a company doesn’t really care about an employee, then why would that employee care about the company.
The game plan to show your employees that the corporation cares is simple. Every 3 or 4 months or so (basically 4 times a year) have a meeting with an executive/upper management, an employee and their direct manager and just talk about their career. Don’t use a pre-filled out form, but actually ask them questions about where they see their careers going, what they like about the company, what they don’t like about the company and what they and you could improve upon in order to produce the best work product possible? The goal here is getting the employee to feel like they have a say in their career.
In conclusion the goal of increasing employee engagement is to create an environment where people can produce consistent results with out much supervision. The easiest way to achieve this result is not by doing some half effort “team building” activity, but by getting your employees to get involved in their own career. Employee engagement isn’t a one time metric, keeping your employee’s engaged is a constant process, but if you keep your employees engaged the rest of the business should run itself.