There’s a lot of information and alternative theories about how to improve employee engagement and most company owners and senior HR leaders already have some experience working on strategies to improve the morale and motivation of their employees.
However, many organisations are still operating without complete clarity about what good employee engagement should look like and where their employees sit in terms of their levels of engagement.
Here, we explore a few fundamental aspects of employee engagement and how to categorise the engagement of your employees so you can build a more targeted strategy for making lasting change within the context of your organisation’s culture and values.
The Role of Employee Engagement
Most definitions of engagement describe employees who are healthier, happier, and more motivated. And for an organisation, this means better engagement with work tasks and therefore higher performance.
More broadly, better employee engagement will influence specific work-based outcomes. These can include understanding goals and objectives better; greater commitment to projects; higher customer satisfaction rates; elevated creativity levels and better communication across your teams.
Going further than this though, engaged employees are more likely to embody the values and culture of their companies so they can become stronger brand advocates, as well as promote integration and cohesion across the workforce, leading to more unified efforts and better organisational alignment.
Any effective employee engagement initiatives should be aimed at addressing all of the above, rather than focusing on specific tasks or performance indicators alone.
Levels of Employee Engagement – It’s Not Just Black and White
As humans are incredibly complex, it’s not always easy to measure someone’s commitment and engagement to their roles over any specific period of time. However, when looking at this as more of a spectrum, below are some example groups that can help you determine how engaged your employees are.
Highly Engaged Employees
Employees in this band are likely to hold very favourable opinions of their place of work and the brands that they work for. They are more likely to recommend the products and services to friends as well as use them themselves where possible. If this is not possible, they may simply be proud to mention who they work for to others. This could be because they believe in the values of the brand or simply appreciate their working conditions and atmosphere.
The way someone feels about their jobs can vary depending on the person, but good engagement levels usually means individuals have a positive attitude towards the company and those they work with. They will probably feel good about performing their roles with diligence and be likely to encourage others around them to do their best.
At the furthest end of the spectrum, individuals in this band will be willing to put in some extra effort to support the company and their teammates even when this calls for overtime work or taking on added responsibilities.
Moderately Engaged Employees
Most employees fall into this group. This is where individuals generally like their company but do not feel completely committed to its values or mission. Individuals might be more likely to do a good job when at work, but look to switch off as soon as the day ends, with an unlikeliness to proactively take on any additional work to support the company.
These people may have at one point been highly engaged employees but might feel let down or tired by certain issues or areas for improvement in the company.
They may also be seasoned professionals who understand that their job provides plenty of rewards as well as challenges, and feels generally content with working hard when needed, but not motivated to go the extra mile. Factors like money, helping fellow colleagues and achieving a work-life-balance may be more important to these individuals rather than furthering the goals of the organisation.
Barely Engaged Employees
Many employees in this group have ended up here because of a specific reason. They may feel undervalued or neglected within their organisation and could be on the hunt for a better role, with most of their time and energy focused on searching for other jobs.
They might also lack motivation and feel complacent towards their job because they don’t feel like there is any room for progression. And some might even be dealing with personal workplace grudges, either with their managers or the company as a whole.
Completely Disengaged Employees
Disengaged employees don’t just feel indifferent about their jobs, but actively dislike something about it. They may have a negative opinion about the way things are managed, or could disagree with the organisation’s overall values and attitude.
People in this group will lack commitment to their position and responsibilities, potentially looking to reduce their workload whenever possible or hand off tasks to others.
Importantly, some disengaged employees might be this way because of something happening in their personal lives, which has been overwhelming to the point that their jobs are no longer a concern, and more of a barrier.
Choosing the Right Engagement Strategy
Based on where your employees are in terms of their engagement levels, your strategy for improving motivation and morale should be tailored to suit the needs of your workforce and your organisation. While some companies will simply need to tweak certain processes, others will need to conduct a more thorough overhaul. And, of course, the reality is that there will always be a mix of these different groups.
It is particulalry important to understand how to handle disengaged employees so that their negative perceptions don’t spread.
At Service Brand Global, we offer specialised employee engagement services to help you understand how your employees perceive your company and brand, as well as how to build the right plan for making lasting and positive changes in your organisation.