How Engaged Are Your Employees?
Building A Motivated Corporate Culture Ready For the Future
This is the eighth blog post in an ongoing series focusing on the meaning, implementation, function and future of corporate social responsibility.
Are your employees engaged? I mean really engaged. Your employees may clock in early and stay late, but are they living and breathing your corporate values?
No matter the job, work is work; it’s a time to get down to business and accomplish goals and meet deadlines. However, this doesn’t mean employees cannot be motivated and engaged in the workplace. In fact, engagement and a positive corporate culture have become essential to a high functioning, highly productive workforce.
Engagement and motivation feeding a positive workplace culture is the dream for many job seekers and HR professionals, yet it isn’t quite reality. In reality, most employees are disengaged from their workplaces, or even openly dislike their job. In one survey, Gallup found nearly 50% of employees are actively looking for a new job, displaying the strong disconnection many employees have from their workplaces.
Disengaged Employees in the Workplace
A study by Gallup found only 35% of employees identified themselves as engaged in their work. 51% of workers are “not engaged,” meaning they are “psychologically unattached” from their jobs. Even worse, 13% of employees were found to be actively disengaged, meaning they have “miserable work experiences and spread their unhappiness to their colleagues.”
So where is the disconnect? Why are employees so disengaged from their jobs? Employee engagement (or lack thereof) is the main culprit. Most employees feel disposable, ignored, and disconnected from their company and its values. From middle managers all the way up to CEOs, not enough is being done in most businesses to ensure employees feel motivated and excited to go to work every day, and engagement programs are the main means of doing so.
But “employee engagement” is somewhat of a vague term, what does it actually mean? There is no universal definition of what engagement truly is, however its meaning usually revolves around building worth, happiness and commitment within a workforce. Gallup, for instance, defines engaged employees as “those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.” However, Willis Towers Watson states that “Engagement is employees’ willingness and ability to contribute to company success.”
Why Do You Need to Engage Your Employees?
Having a reason to come to work is a key element of how to motivate employees. If your workforce is excited to start the day, then they are more willing to stay at your company, and use each work day to its fullest. Positive workplace culture promotes this behavior, helping employees feel welcomed and motivated by their work. For younger employees, this is what is desired out of a job, sometimes superseding salary.
of job seekers cite company culture as very important when choosing to apply to a company.
of active job seekers cite company culture as their driving reason for looking for work.
Actively fostering a community at your workplace is a key element of employee engagement. Employees do not want to feel like a cog in a machine, and desire human connection and a sense of camaraderie among their coworkers. This – paired with work which employees find important and fulfilling – gives employees reasons to want to come to work, improving their productivity and making them identify with their employer.
If employees feel motivated and connected to their workplace, the company benefits tremendously. Engaged employees work harder and smarter, leading to a 21% increase in company profitability. Engagement has also been shown to lower missed work days while boosting employee retention. This saves companies money over the long run by cutting back on the high costs of onboarding new employees.
Engaged employees radiate a devotion to their work which improves their company from all angles. From customer satisfaction to a company’s bottom line, employee engagement strengthens every level of business. However, to get the most out of engagement-based corporate social responsibility programs, employers need to find new, better means of engaging their employees.
How to Engage Your Employees
In the current state of CSR, employees want more from their 9-to-5’s. Instead of just a means of financial support, modern employees want their jobs to be an extension of their beliefs. Often, engagement is driven by a sense of doing something of importance through work. “Employees whose personal values are very well-aligned with their company’s values are five times more likely to report being engaged.”
Alignment with corporate values are essential to the onboarding process, and help build a common goal between employee and employer. However, this cannot be nourished if employers are not measuring employee engagement. Most HR leaders see the benefits of feedback tools, finding great worth in the ability to gauge employee satisfaction, motivation and engagement. But in reality, only 20% of companies have implemented these tools.
If employee engagement is so important, then why are most employees disengaged and most companies have not invested in new engagement technology, especially when the benefits of highly engaged employees is well documented? The answer is that time tested means of employee engagement are safe and have worked in the past.
Annual employee surveys, happy hours, and company amenities are among the classic ways of gauging and building employee engagement, and they’ve become the standard for a reason. In the past, these were effective means of engaging employees and supporting workplace culture. Yet in the modern day, these means of engagement have become antiquated and below the wants of the 21st century workforce.
Team motivation must stay fluid, adapting to the changing technology and society of the modern day. What worked in the 1990’s will not work to the same effectiveness in the 2020’s; culture, values, and expectations have changed, and will continue to change.
At Impactree, we believe in the importance of adaptability, and have built our platform around creating customizable employee engagement programs. With real time data reporting – and hundreds of actions covering a variety of social, political and ecological issues – Impactree offers companies unique, impactful ways to connect with their employees on a personal level.
Looking to share some of our secrets for modern employee engagement, we’ve highlighted some key elements of engagement which are often overlooked. Especially after Covid-19 completely shifted our perspectives on what the workplace can be, these approaches to engagement and motivation are crucial for strengthening workforces in the coming decade
Focus on Mental Health
Much is expected of the modern workforce; some may argue, too much. Statistics have found 83% of US employees suffer from work-related stress, and only 43% believe their employers care about work-life balance. Not only does this affect the lives of employees, but a company’s bottom line as well, with projections showing the private sector losing up to $300 billion annually due to a stressed out workforce.
Creating mental health programs jointly benefits employers and their employees, building stronger connections by addressing base line human needs. This engages employees by making them feel cared for on a personal level, being seen as an individual by their employer. While HR professionals can not replace mental health professionals, an awareness of how work affects mental health can help build engagement systems which support self worth, wellness and happiness within the workplace.
Mentorship is a key element of motivating and engaging employees which has already been widely accepted by Fortune 500 companies. Yet, only 37% of professionals have (or have had) a mentor in their career. Mentorship is essential to building trust between employees, especially employees from underrepresented groups, and engages them by exposing them to the higher echelon of decision making within their company.
As humans, we look to create bonds between each other, and this is especially true of the workplace. Mentorship offers invaluable career and workplace experience, but also connects employees to the larger fabric of their organization.
Volunteer As A Unit
Employees want their companies to do good, and be part of creating a cleaner, fairer, more sustainable future. 71% of employees say it is “imperative or very important to work where culture is supportive of giving and volunteering.” Because there is a demand, companies should harness this culture of giving by having their entire workforces volunteer as a group.
Solutions for the Future
Essentially overnight, much of the business world uprooted from traditional office culture to the great unknown of remote working. Now with the initial concerns and growing pains of the early pandemic in the rear view mirror, it is clear that technology and software have intertwined themselves within the corporate setting, extending into CSR and employee engagement.
This disruption has expedited the course of what was inevitable: the working environment forged in the latter half of the 20st century is no longer applicable. Advancements in technology, public concerns which have fueled the expansion of corporate social responsibility, and a more politically-minded workforce have altered how companies function. But now that we find ourselves in the 21st century workplace, what’s next?
The answer is adaptation to the unique challenges and demands which companies must now address. If a workforce wants remote work options, companies must be ready to create and invest in solutions which promote and strengthen engagement in the modern day.
Every company’s engagement and CSR goals are different, and must serve different workplaces and values. If you’re looking for creative, modern, and impactful ways to address your company’s unique employee engagement needs, check out the solutions we at Impactree have to offer. Our robust platform allows companies of any size to fine tune their CSR strategies, appealing to employees’ values and beliefs in real time. To learn more and schedule a demo of our platform, fill out the survey below.