How employees experience technology on the job could make the difference between digital success and failure.
Positively the percentage of engaged employees is on the rise which might tempt business leaders to lean towards complacency. The number now sits at a 23% global employee engagement benchmark, and while we should find at least some solace in this statistical uptick, it's not necessarily the score of champions! Considering the ever-challenging world of work and the need for continued caution in a confused economy, leaders really do need to keep their fingers on the engagement vs. profitability pulse.
A single disengaged employee at the salary level of $60,000 costs you around $20,400 every year.
What is employee engagement?
Despite being a fundamental concept that every large corporation should consider, employee engagement is difficult to describe both quantitatively and qualitatively.
However, to put it simply, employee engagement refers to how passionate your employees are about their jobs. In organizations with high employee engagement, employees feel in control of their job and are appreciated for creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. They feel like they have a purpose, and that their job has a positive impact on the world.
Now let’s talk about what it’s not. It’s not a supplemental goal or just another buzzword; it has a very real impact on business success.
According to Gallup’s research, businesses that score high levels of employee engagement experience 21% more profitability and 17% more productivity.
Why is employee engagement low in our work-obsessed world?
If 2020’s transition to remote everything taught us anything about work, it’s that employees are bored and burnt out at the same time. The flip side of the increased employee engagement percentage is that employee stress has increased to 44%. Up 7% since Covid-19 hit. That's high, and likely causing your business to suffer.
Let me paint the picture for you …
Take an employee that doesn't feel like they connect with their peers, which is the number one reason someone will love their job. They experience low self-confidence, low motivation, and organizational setbacks. Add to their bleak perceived (or actual) reality, that they are being held to unrealistic performance expectations and factor in the likelihood that they are working across an average of 11 digital tools (we generally see this number closer to 18-30), and they are very likely spending too much time working in silos, performing redundant tasks, and switching between applications.
Despite how hard they are working, employee recognition programs go by the wayside, and they no longer feel valued by the organization. Company culture remains an afterthought and professional development opportunities are lacking. Add salt to the injury, they feel as though their management teams are not transparent with them. Ouch!
It’s a messy picture, to say the least - and a lot of challenges to overcome if you aren’t sure how your employees feel about your organization’s work environment. Fortunately, there are countless strategies organizations can take on board to raise employee engagement.
5 ways to stimulate employee engagement
Although high employee engagement is difficult to achieve, it's always possible with a little extra time and effort.
1. See where your employees’ interests gravitate
All your employees are going to have assignments they don’t do as well as others. Of course, it's important to provide constructive feedback and training to help your employees succeed in their tasks. However, make sure to also spend time recognizing work they do excel at and gravitate towards.
You can use this knowledge to expand employee job positions or create new ones - enabling them to do what they are truly excellent at. Not only will your employees be happier with this flexibility to explore their passions, but your organization will generate better outcomes.
2. Assign and plan meaningful work
Although last-minute requests and administrative work are sometimes essential to delegate, try to avoid inundating your employees with these types of low-priority tasks. Set out to give your employees meaningful assignments with clear deadlines, and most importantly, make sure they know how their work is contributing to your company’s purpose.
After all, if you’ve hired great talent, you don’t want to waste their potential by allowing them to get overwhelmed with their menial tasks. If you create inspiring positions, with strong training and opportunities for career development and growth, you’ll naturally see employee engagement rise as your workforce becomes better supported.
3. Take a step back
When you know an employee has proper training and is in a role that inspires them, the best thing you can do to motivate them is to give them free rein to take ownership of their work.
Having helped over 4,000 companies navigate digital transformations, WNDYR knows that controlling human behavior is counterproductive to healthy, motivated employees. A more effective strategy is managing your workplace’s physical environment, culture, and systems to support your workforce.
4. Share your organization’s highs and lows
Structured leadership teams that never interact with their employees are steadily becoming a thing of the past. So rather than experience your organization’s wins and setbacks alone, fill in your workforce!
By sharing your organization’s successes, you’re showing your employees that their collaboration is contributing to great outcomes, and appreciating them for their work.
Meanwhile, in the case of a loss, keeping your employees in the know creates trust within your organization, and may even result in a new perspective that solves your problem. At the very least, it ensures that your employees are aware of the situation so they can better support you with the tasks they do, and prevent the occurrence from happening again.
5. Provide cutting-edge work management technology
In today’s world, up-to-date technology is considered to be an essential tool in the workplace. They are designed to improve employee efficiency and create better workflows, so much so that they may even push for further change.
Giving your workplace’s digital tools an update can be an overwhelming process with lots of options to choose from. From productive work management tools to a company-wide app that closes the communication gap among all your employees, there are a lot of tools that can benefit your workforce. It can be difficult to tell which one is best suited for your needs. An important thing to keep in mind when developing a strong tech stack is that the more applications you add, the more siloed team activity and work data analytics can become.
All this means is that your organization needs to deploy tools correctly to ensure they’re not counterproductive for your workforce. Technology can be very powerful, but you need to make sure that it is being utilized properly.
Now is the time to embrace the future of work
Although it’s clear that the future of work is digital, you need to give your workforce the tools and guidance to thrive in their extensive tech stacks and modern work environment. Meanwhile, to drive engagement and keep a pulse on your organization, you need an accurate view of your organization’s work across all teams. You don't need to do everything, but you do need to do something.