Employee engagement is an ever-expanding marketplace and discussion topic within businesses across the world, but what does it really mean, and do we actually make it a priority?
I’ve worked in this industry now for the last eight years and the way in which so many businesses understand employee engagement is so inconsistent and means something different depending on your viewpoint. It’s not surprising, given that there are more than 50 definitions*
The evolution of engagement itself has been a fascinating journey. Early adopters started to add a number of employee benefits to their offerings, trying to differentiate their packages from the crowd, but is this really engagement, or simply business self-preservation?
We’ve all seen the introduction of staff discounts, employee assistance programmes and access to childcare vouchers being applied to thousands of businesses with a view that those employees who benefit from them will be thankful, and it will enhance their job satisfaction.
We now find ourselves in a situation where employee benefits are, or should be, the norm for every employee with 91% of employees believing employers should offer tailored benefits packages** They are accessible, affordable, easily integrated and they do offer value to those employees who have the desire and energy to use them.
I would argue that employee benefits are an essential component to a business operation, as they demonstrate that you care for your employees and that you want to make their lives better, even in just a small way. It may also be a factor that helps you retain an employee, rather than seeing them leave you to join an organisation for the sake of a few pence per hour, or a discounts scheme, or some wellbeing advice.
Employee benefits Vs employee engagement
As employee engagement becomes an even more popular topic, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you made some employee benefits available to your employees, in the belief that this will drive loyalty, appreciation and productivity?
- Do you spend thousands of pounds each month/year trying to implement a range of technology, products and services, only to see usage at a really low level?
- Are you frustrated that your efforts in encouraging usage are wasted?
If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’, then you are probably more focussed on employee benefits and not employee engagement.
It’s really important that you recognise this distinction, especially if you really want to engage with your colleagues.
So, what is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is a much more difficult and complex project entirely. Genuine employee engagement is a culture, a belief system, a management ethos and it needs to be adopted by every team leader, manager, director, owner and executive within an organisation for it to truly work.
Can you look across your organisation and say that you have nailed employee engagement? I know that I look around our business every day and find a list of things we could do better, should have done better, or differently, and I constantly strive for the perfection I’m looking for.
In reality, I’ll never reach perfection, nor do I want to, because that perfection may also bring complacency. Employees change, their circumstances change, the working environment changes (we should all have seen that since COVID-19 arrived), so we need to be constantly evolving to meet the needs that these changes bring.
Ask yourself when was the last time you really reviewed your engagement strategy; do you even have one?
The creation or review of your own bespoke engagement strategy is essential in helping you stay relevant to your employees, ensuring that they stay loyal and engaged with YOU.
Your 5-point plan to drive employee engagement
If any of this is striking a chord with you, then hopefully my 5 Point Plan can help you genuinely drive an uplift in employee engagement within your business.
Employee engagement is about honesty. Rose-tinted spectacles won’t help you, but an honest assessment and strategy will. With clear objectives and the right management approach, you can transform your business from a benefits culture to an engagement one.
I believe that every business should make employee engagement a priority, not a chore, and not a box-ticking exercise. With a little focus, direction and strategy, the gains on retention, loyalty, profits and productivity that are often banded about can become a reality, but one thing is for certain… they won’t without a plan!
So, don’t play at engagement, devise a strategy and implement it with the same purpose, drive and energy that you would every other project within your business; the rewards will be more lucrative and long-standing than most short-term new-business campaigns that you run.
Scott is a results-driven business leader with an impressive track record of helping employers strategise key business growth.
To speak to Scott about your employee engagement strategy, call 07368 474 319 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Engaging for success: enhancing performance through employee engagement – IOE
What’s Next for Digital Benefits Administration in 2019 – HR Technologist