Employee engagement is more than just a buzzword. In today’s economy, it’s an economic necessity. Data from Gallup shows that companies with engaged employees outperform others by 202%. In addition, the Gallup study showed that companies in the highest quartile of employee engagement ratings outperform those in the bottom quartile in customer ratings, productivity, and profitability.
The qualities of engaged employees drive this success. According to a Dale Carnegie study, engaged employees are enthusiastic about the work, motivated by leaders, feel empowered to do the work their way, and are confident they can achieve success. When employees are engaged, they’re happy, and when they’re happy, they’re more productive, generating better results for the company and offering a higher level of customer service.
Yet many companies approach employee engagement in a transactional rather than transformative way. Transactional engagement methods include the annual survey and executive talks to boost employee morale. Transformative employee engagement aligns employees around the business strategy. It puts employees at the center of the business, and includes them in every step of the company’s evolution.
The initial requirement for transformative employee engagement is executive buy-in. The outdated top-down approach of an executive team that makes all the decisions and then tells everyone what to do creates alienation and fiefdoms rather than an engaged workforce. A truly engaged employee knows that his or her voice will be heard, and has a clear understanding of how the job he or she does fits into the larger mission of the company. Leaders in the company—from the CEO down—clearly communicate the company mission and objectives and demonstrate a willingness to listen to employees and take action on feedback.
Following is a discussion of the four key enablers of employee engagement identified in this Glassdoor webinar:
1. Strategic narrative. Visible, empowering leadership provides a strong strategic narrative about the organization. This narrative will include an examination of the past (how things used to be), the present (how things are now) and the future (where we are headed). When this story is communicated clearly and consistently, trust is built with employees and they become motivated to reach new goals. By frequently considering employee feedback, leaders can build a narrative that resonates with employees as things change.
2. Engaging managers. The executive team can only do so much at company-wide and department meetings. According to a Dale Carnegie study, 84% of how employees feel about their organization is driven by their immediate manager. Managers are responsible for translating the strategic message to their employees in a way that is relevant to their team’s goals and working dynamic. When managers listen to what employees are saying and take action on what they’ve heard, an environment of trust will emerge. Over time, employees will see that the company is listening, and trust that new initiatives are based on what’s best for the company.
3. Employee voice. When employees know that that what they have to say will be heard and taken into account, they become more engaged. By empowering employees to provide feedback in team meetings, in intranet forums, or a public forum such as Glassdoor, managers gain an understanding of how changes are being received. They can use this information to take actions that will improve the working environment and further strengthen business initiatives.
4. Integrity. At its simplest, integrity means saying what you mean and doing what you say. Without it, there is no trust. When the company’s stated values are actively embodied by leaders and managers, line-level employees are encouraged to follow suit. Acting with integrity in the service of employee engagement may entail a practice of discussing employee feedback during executive meetings, actively responding to employee reviews, and explicitly stating when changes have been made that were suggested by employees.
Reading and responding to reviews on Glassdoor is just one tool in the employee engagement toolkit. With potentially thousands of employees and candidates looking at your company’s Glassdoor profile every month, it’s safe to say that publicly listening and responding to employees demonstrates an environment of trust and integrity, which in turn boosts morale, productivity, and profits.
For expert advice on creating an environment of trust and transparency in your organization, download our eBook, 13 Lessons in Trust and Transparency from Employer Branding Experts.