If you’re an HR professional worth your salt, you’re already aware of the importance of employee engagement. But understanding that something is important and applying best practices to support it, is an entirely different story.

Looking to leverage employee engagement into meaningful results? Here’s what you need to know.

Why It Matters

Gallup’s The State of the Global Workplace report highlights the issue of employee engagement. After surveying nearly 50,000 people in 120 countries, Gallup determined that 62 percent of workers are not engaged (meaning that they are emotionally detached from their jobs and likely to be doing the bare minimum in the workplace), while 27 percent are actively disengaged (meaning, not only is their view of the workplace negative, but they’re likely to share that viewpoint with others). All in all, a mere 11 percent of workers — take a look around your lunchroom: that’s just one out of every nine people that you see — qualified as engaged.

This becomes a serious problem when you consider the abundance of research showing that engaged employees are not only more like to stick around, but also to be more productive, customer-oriented, profitable, and even healthier. In short, employee engagement is a powerful player in organizational success, as well as when it comes to the personal well-being of your workers.

Perhaps Gallup sums it up best in concluding that, “Actively disengaged employees erode an organization’s bottom line, while breaking the spirits of colleagues in the process. Within the U.S. workforce, Gallup estimates this cost to the bottom line to be more than $300 billion in lost productivity alone.”

What You Can Do

Unfortunately, many HR professionals view employee engagement as a once-yearly, necessary evil aimed at reminding managers why engagement matters. This not only falls way short of harnessing the full power of employee engagement, but is also a major missed opportunity. The most effective employee engagement initiatives are strategic in design, ongoing, ever-improving, and capable of driving engagement all year long.

Gallup proposes that the key to effective employee engagement includes the following four components aimed at aligning employee engagement with key business strategies: consistent communication; employee development programs; holding employees accountable through performance reviews; and making an ongoing commitment to engagement not just as a hiring and retention tool, but as an overall organizational imperative. And while these initiatives may begin with human resources, top-down organizational buy-in is essential.

However, it’s equally vital to remember that employee engagement is far from ‘one size fits all’. Consider Bain and Company’s survey on employee engagement, yielding the following eye-opening results:

● There is a direct correlation between declining engagement scores and employee tenure. In other words, those who have worked for a company the longest are typically the least engaged.

● Employees working at the lowest levels of the organization have declining engagement scores, indicating that higher-ups may be out of touch with the levels of discontent.

● Sales and service workers — where the majority of customer interactions occur — tend to have the lowest engagement levels.

The clear takeaway? While HR professionals may play an essential role in communicating the need for employee engagement, the role of managers in targeting department — or role-specific — engagement is also key.

Ultimately, understanding that employee engagement matters is only a small part of turning the tide, as is the use of metrics to better understand your strengths and weaknesses. HR leaders who find the greatest success in solving the employee engagement problem may do so in approaching it not as one driven entirely by data, but as an ongoing organization-wide dialogue.

To know more about how Witty Parrot can help helps HR professionals and recruiters stay on message and consistently deliver a vibrant, compelling candidate and employee experience watch the video below.

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