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Employee engagement is one of those issues that is easy to neglect when your business is running well. But doing so could have dire consequences for your employees, your team, and your company as a whole.
In this article, you’ll learn what employee engagement is and why it matters so much for the success of your business.
There are many definitions of employee engagement.
Most will do a pretty good job of addressing the core of the issue as long as they take into account the psychological state of the employee, their focus, and their motivation to get the job done.
The most common definition of employee engagement is:
The ability of your team members to be present in the moment, focused on the task at hand, and motivated to do the best work possible.
Employee engagement often manifests itself as a feeling that then drives your team to go above and beyond what is expected.
When engagement is high, your employees will feel like they have a higher purpose — the success of your business and the betterment of your customers — and will be willing to put in the effort to make that feeling a reality.
That drive is the cornerstone of business success. And it all starts with employee engagement.
Employee engagement is not the same thing as employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction is defined as:
The level of fulfillment, happiness, contentment, or enjoyment that each team member derives from their job
When you compare that definition with the definition from the previous section, you’ll notice that employee satisfaction doesn’t address an employee’s level of motivation, involvement, focus, or emotional commitment.
In fact, for some employees, being satisfied with their job means doing as little work as possible. That’s almost the opposite of employee engagement.
By all means, promote employee satisfaction in your business, but don’t stop there. Find ways to improve both employee satisfaction and employee engagement to get the most from your team.
When most managers think about employee engagement, they picture their team members interacting with customers and clients. While that is a big part of what makes employee engagement so important, it’s not the only thing that matters.
On a more fundamental level, employee engagement contributes heavily to all of the little jobs — the daily tasks — on which your business depends.
These small tasks support the larger processes that make your business what it is. If the little jobs break down, everything resting on top of them will eventually topple.
It might not happen right away, but, over time, an accumulation of poor performance on the small tasks can erode the foundation on which everything above them sits. The result can be a catastrophic failure for both your team and your business.
When you maintain employee engagement, your team will tackle the small tasks with the gusto and determination that they deserve.
As a manager or owner, profitability is always top of mind. No doubt, you’re always looking for ways to shore up that variable. Improving employee engagement may be part of the solution.
Employee engagement has the unique ability to strengthen all of the aspects of your business that contribute to profitability at the same time.
It’s very much like throwing a small rock into a large pond. When you do, the ripples spread out until they reach every corner of the body of water. In this case, employee engagement is the small rock, and your business is the large pond.
When your team is fully engaged in the task at hand — no matter how small or large — they will outperform a disengaged team by leaps and bounds.
Those results will spread from one department to another (like the ripples on a pond) and can help you increase profitability across the board.
Your business has put in a lot of time and expense to find, hire, and train your team. It would be a shame to see them leave after only a relatively short time.
That’s what makes a low retention rate such an important metric to measure. It’s also what makes employee engagement important to the process. An engaged team member is less likely to feel a sense of dissatisfaction that could prompt them to start looking for another job.
When your employees get what they need from your business, they’ll perform better and won’t need to look elsewhere to find what they need.
And when they stay with your company longer, retention rates will improve, recruiting and hiring costs will decrease, and morale will skyrocket.
The more your employees can get done in a day, the more productive your team — and your business as a whole — will be. But it’s not just about the sheer amount of tasks your employees finish. It’s also about the quality of their work.
Employee engagement plays a role in both the number of jobs your team can accomplish and the quality of the work they give. Engagement, in essence, makes your team more productive.
High levels of productivity can help your business finish projects early, under budget, and at a level of quality that others can’t duplicate. And it all starts with employee engagement.
Innovation is something that every business wants to achieve — even if it’s just a small tweak in a work process that only your employees see.
Coming up with a new method, idea, or product, though, is a difficult process to replicate. In many cases, it happens without warning.
Employee engagement is the key. It can open the minds of your employees so that they’re more receptive to novel ways of thinking and performing.
When they’re engaged, they’re more likely to think about ways to improve the work they’re doing — to innovate — rather than just performing the minimum necessary to get the job done.
With high employee engagement as the driver, innovation becomes less like an accident and more like a regular, replicable occurrence.
That’s good for you, your team, and your business.
It’s amazing how interconnected various aspects of your business are. We’ve already talked about how task management and productivity contribute to profitability (and how employee engagement affects all three).
Like innovation, however, the connections within your business that make it run smoothly may seem beyond your control. They’re not.
Engagement has a ripple effect that can strengthen areas you didn’t know were weak. Connection is a perfect example.
“Connection” is simply another word for the bonds that team members forge while working together on the job.
When each member of your team is engaged and working at their best, they’re more open to the connections that lead to friendship and camaraderie. They may even choose to spend time together after work.
Those connections, in turn, encourage a type of honesty, communication, and loyalty that you can’t find anywhere else.
Team collaboration lies at the heart of every successful business. When employees work together effectively, the whole business thrives.
Collaboration leads to new ideas, improved efficiency, better quality work, higher morale, stronger cohesion — the list goes on and on.
Collaboration even helps reduce the workload, spreads the burden throughout the team, and diffuses and decreases conflict.
Such teamwork is only possible when your employees experience the connections we mentioned in the previous section. And how do you strengthen those bonds? By building up employee engagement.
Commitment is your employees’ ability to stay positive, effective, and efficient even during difficult times and busy periods.
No business runs smoothly all the time — it’s just not possible.
When things do get difficult, though, you don’t want your employees to start jumping ship. That’s when a strong sense of commitment becomes important. And it’s about more than just job satisfaction.
Your employees will build commitment when they’re focused on the task at hand and energized about achieving good results. For all intents and purposes, that’s the very definition of employee engagement.
At its most basic, employee engagement is all about communication. Communication between you and your employees and communication between each member of the team.
It doesn’t matter if that communication revolves around the large issues your entire business is facing or the small issues that employees face on a daily basis.
The better you communicate with your employees — and the better they communicate with you — the more engaged they’ll be.
We developed the Inch software to facilitate communication, improve employee engagement, and streamline the way your team works.
All of that in a mobile-friendly app that you and your team can use on any device and with any operating system, wherever the job takes you.
For more free resources to help you manage your business better, keep your team on task, and track and calculate labor costs, visit TryInch.com today.
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