A Resource for Employers
Complete Guide to Employee Engagement
What You'll Learn
- The Importance of Employee Engagement for Productivity
- What to Look for in Job Candidates
- What Kind of Culture Encourages Employee Engagement
- How to Use the Onboarding Process to Increase Employee Engagement
- How Investing in Employees’ Careers Keeps Them Engaged
- The Things that Lower Employee Engagement, and Why
- The Ways You Can Measure Your Employees' Engagement
Employee engagement is very important: Often viewed as the key to retention, productivity, and innovation, employee engagement has remained a top priority over the years. Every company in the world needs to invest in its employee engagement: Organizations with low engagement must work diligently to raise it – and companies with high engagement must work to maintain it.
Establishing a culture of employee engagement is a long-term, multi-departmental approach that requires the help of everyone within the organization. And while most companies recognize its importance, some may not know how to cultivate it in their workforce. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut to the end result, but focusing your efforts on the tips and advice in this guide is a great way to capture immediate engagement improvements while paving the way for future gains.
What is Employee Engagement — and Why Does It Matter?
Employee engagement is a critical driver of business success in today’s competitive marketplace; it promotes retention, fosters customer loyalty and improves organizational performance. Simply put, engaged employees are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work.
Engaged employees are not just satisfied with their job; they are energized by their work. They are more likely to put in extra effort – and that’s at the heart of why monitoring and improving employee engagement is a business imperative. The higher the level of employee engagement, the more employees are willing to work hard for the success of their organization.
Improving employee engagement makes business sense in another way, too: Engaged employees tend to stay longer with their companies. In fact, studies show that the attrition rate of disengaged employees is 12 times higher compared with highly engaged employees over a year.
High employee engagement also tends to lead to a positive employment brand.
Think of employment brand as the outward face of the employee engagement – plus job seeker experience and alumni engagement. And thanks to platforms such as Glassdoor, a company's employment brand is no longer owned by its human resources or marketing team. Today, employment brand is owned by its employees, as well as job seekers and former employees.
With a positive and authentic employment brand, companies can attract – and be able to hire – well-qualified candidates in less time. The more closely the employment brand “promise” matches candidates’ experiences, the more likely new hires are to be productive and positive.
What Drives Employee Engagement?
A key to improving employee engagement – as well as its effect on a company’s employer brand – is understanding what creates engagement, and how to measure it. Think of it like gauging your health: You may notice that you’ve gained weight, for example – but weighing yourself won’t change the number on the scale. You have to address the “inputs,” such as exercise and food, in order to slim down. And the same principle applies to employee engagement.
There are many inputs you can look at when it comes to employee engagement – and they are available for free through Glassdoor Reviews. Glassdoor reviews measure:
Culture & Values
Comp & Benefits
Diversity & Inclusion
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Glassdoor Reviews measure both “satisfiers” and "engagement drivers.” Satisfiers include work-life balance and compensation/benefits, such as health insurance, vacation and 401k plans, while engagement can be measured in career opportunities and culture. According to a Glassdoor research study, employee satisfaction and engagement are dependent upon:
- The culture and values of the organization
- Quality of senior leadership
- Professional growth opportunities
How Transparency Drives Employee Engagement
Job seekers want to know what they’re signing up for before they apply for open positions. If they can’t find out what they want to know about your company, they may not apply for the jobs you’ve posted – and you may miss out on some excellent employees. When used in business, transparency implies openness, including being willing to receive feedback and sharing openly with your employees and candidates the strengths and weaknesses of your company.
Why Transparency Matters
Candidates expect realistic job previews before they apply for or accept open positions. They don’t necessarily expect perfection; they just want to know how your organization really works before deciding whether to work for you. The same is true of recent hires, who may not stick around long if they’re disappointed. According to a 2013 survey by Glassdoor conducted by Harris Interactive, 61 percent of employees say new job realities differ from the expectations set during the interview process.
Perhaps as a result, candidates today want more information about jobs than just the employer’s perspective. Job seekers research potential employers online, at sites such as Glassdoor, where they can find reviews and other information. Transparency requires openness, communication, and accountability at every level of the organization. You need to monitor your company’s reputation and troubleshoot when necessary to ensure that the right message reaches job seekers.
Ways to Be More Transparent
Giving candidates and employees the details they want doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Consider a few ways to make your company more transparent:
- Highlight your employer brand where candidates are searching for you: When you have a clearly defined employer value proposition, it’s important to ensure that this message is updated everywhere your brand appears. Creating a branding calendar can help your team stay organized and ensure that your message stays current. For example, the calendar might remind you to update photos, respond to reviews, and send employee opinion surveys. A calendar also helps you track hiring initiatives and reminds you when to apply for industry or professional awards that will give your brand further validation.
- Give employees a voice: Use Glassdoor along with surveys to collect employee feedback. This feedback provides valuable information about how your company is perceived and identifies issues you may need to address.
- Use social media: Start social media campaigns that encourage employees to get excited about where they work.
- Share frequently: Be sure to share information about your company – and encourage your employees to do the same – in order to build awareness.
- Respond to reviews: A review on a job site such as Glassdoor may be the first thing a candidate sees before deciding whether to apply to work at your company, so be sure to respond to both good and bad reviews to share your employer perspective.
- Create a mobile presence: If your brand isn’t smartphone compatible, your employer message isn’t reaching all your potential candidates. More than 40 percent of traffic to Glassdoor, for example, comes from mobile devices.
How to Hire for Employee Engagement
How do you know if a job candidate will become an engaged employee? Here are six signs:
- They’ve imagined themselves in the role: Listen to the questions that job seekers ask during interviews. If they ask questions that show they’ve imagined themselves in the role, they’re already engaged – and are excited to become a part of your company’s team.
- The role aligns with their strengths and interests: Hiring people who will thrive in their roles sets them up for success, and increases the likelihood that they will be engaged not only in the role itself, but in the success of the team and the company as a whole.
- Their communication style is open and engaging: Just as you have created a company that is transparent, you’ll also want to hire employees who are transparent. If they are open during the interview, chances are they will fit well into a transparent organization.
- Their excitement about the role is obvious: Excited employees are engaged employees.
- They follow up: Job seekers who follow up are showing you that they are engaged even before they’ve been hired; they’re invested in the role and communicative with you.
- Their references vouch for their engagement: Talk to references who have worked with job seekers at past roles. If their references say they were previously engaged, then chances are they will be engaged at your company, too.
How to Establish a Culture of Employee Engagement
Despite the pressure executives feel to improve employee engagement, many organizations still struggle to build a company-wide system of behaviors and beliefs that support it. In other words, they fail to establish a company culture that improves and reflects employee engagement.
While no single effort can improve employee engagement overnight, there are three things that organizations can do to have a positive impact on company culture quickly.
1. Lean into employee onboarding.
You might be surprised to learn that about one-third of employees leave their jobs after only six months. Effective employee onboarding represents a two-fold opportunity to improve employee engagement: It reduces the number of employees who leave in their first year of employment, and ensures that employees who stay are given what they need to contribute to a highly engaged organizational culture.
After all, a good interview process increases the likelihood you’ll offer the right job to the right candidate. But a strong employee onboarding experience is how you ensure the employees who stay make a positive contribution to the company culture. Establishing culture-building behaviors and setting expectations for engagement during the onboarding process is one of the most important ways an organization can build and maintain a high level of engagement.
2. Keep a close eye on management.
Alignment. Clarity. Job satisfaction. The role of the middle manager can have a powerful impact on an employee’s day-to-day experience – for better and for worse. Companies that seek to establish a culture of engagement must keep a close eye on the performance of its management teams to ensure employees are getting what they need to stay engaged in their work.
High-performing managers inspire loyalty and high levels of engagement because they excel at giving employees clear, reasonable goals; they take a coaching approach to employees instead of an evaluation approach, and continually try to develop themselves as leaders. And you can have a significant impact on the overall culture of employee engagement if you’re encouraging your middle managers to exhibit these behaviors.
3. Make the mission clear.
In order to be engaged, employees must have something with which to engage. Many companies rely on employees to bring motivation and excitement to their job based on the job’s duties or salary and benefits. But in reality, most employees value meaningful work above all else – including salary - and it’s up to the organization to make that connection and alignment clear.
If you want to improve employee engagement, find regular touchpoints in interactions with employees where you can bring meaning and mission back into the conversation. From internal newsletters to team meetings to quarterly reports, there are many ways you can make it clear how your employees are contributing to an improvement in the world or the workplace.
How to Engage with Your Employees
When job seekers consider whether to apply to a company, they seek out information provided by current and former employees. Why? Because they trust employees to get the inside scoop. A company’s own website is likely to be the least trusted resource for learning about what it’s like to work there.
Job seekers can get an inside look at any company by researching it on social media channels – and by their homework, job seekers may know more about your organization than you do. It’s important to get involved in these online conversations and encourage employees to do the same.
External Sources You Can Monitor
Here are a few job site places to find out what people are saying about your company:
- Employee reviews: Seeing what your employees are saying about the company can help you diagnose any branding or reputation challenges. Identifying trends allows you to list what makes your company a great place to work and what issues need to be addressed.
- Company ratings: On some sites, including Glassdoor, companies can be rated in several key areas, such as culture and values, work/life balance, senior leadership, compensation and benefits, and career opportunities. Compare your ratings with your competitors to determine what sets your company apart.
- CEO rating: Knowing whether your employees approve of the leadership that you have in place is important.
- Diversity & Inclusion ratings: Understanding where there are discrepancies in D&I ratings matters. Nearly 2 in 5 employees and job seekers (37%) would not apply to a job at a company where there are disparities in employee satisfaction ratings among different ethnic/racial groups, according to a Glassdoor survey conducted by Harris Poll in 2020.
- Interview reviews: By directing candidates to post their experiences on sites such as Glassdoor, you can gain valuable insight into your company’s hiring processes.
- Salary postings: You won’t be surprised to learn that the No. 1 employee motivator is salary. Be sure that your rates are on par with market standards.
Internal Sources You Can Monitor
Along with monitoring all external messages about your brand, you need to hear what’s being said inside the company. These strategies can help you stay current on employee opinions:
- Offer employee opinion surveys: Anonymous queries help you analyze what’s going on inside your organization.
- Conduct new-hire surveys at various milestones: Check in with your new employees at 30-, 60- and 90-day intervals.
- Hold informal employee meetings: Meet regularly with employees. Be sure that managers are checking in weekly with everyone on their teams.
- Establish formal step interviews: Hold six-month reviews for all employees to discuss their roles and career paths.
- Conduct exit interviews: Be receptive to both positive and negative feedback, because it helps you address important issues. Log the results so that you can analyze the data and identify trends that may be adversely impacting your retention and employer brand.
Encouraging Employees to Tell Your Story
Employees are the most important contributors to your employer brand. Ensuring that they’re happy and engaged with your company is critical to your brand’s success.
Getting employees to participate, however, can be no small task. Here are tips that can motivate your employees to promote your employer brand:
- Give them a voice: People want to know that their opinions are heard and that they matter. Take the time to listen to your employees via reviews, surveys and meetings, and be sure to respond.
- Give them opportunities for growth: Glassdoor has found that growth opportunity is the second most important motivator for employees, after salary.
- Make sure they know the elevator pitch: Everyone at your company is selling its success, so be sure that all your employees know the company’s elevator pitch.
- Promote the stories of your employees: Photos and videos on your website are great promotional tools, especially when they feature your employees across every department. Involve them as you assemble material that highlights your brand and company culture.
- Foster, support, and reward employees: Saying “thank you” can go a long way. Companies that have effective recognition programs improve employee engagement and enjoy less voluntary turnover than peers that have ineffective recognition programs.
How to Boost Employee Engagement
Increasing employee engagement starts with giving people a voice – encouraging employees and team members to submit feedback through internal channels, company surveys or sites such as Glassdoor. As employees share more feedback, a culture of conversation and listening develops, and they become comfortable expressing themselves through online tools and in person contact.
Open, honest communication among all employees not only means people have useful feedback to help them improve, but that there is a feeling of trust and respect in the workplace. Fostering such a culture will improve engagement because employees will feel they can offer input without backlash – and that they can help the company on its path to success. Acknowledging feedback is imperative to this process. For example, you can write a response to a review on Glassdoor, or schedule a meeting over coffee to discuss feedback that’s been given.
Next, take action on key drivers of engagement – equip and empower managers to do this, but also get your executive team involved. Tackle it from the top and the bottom. Make sure to:
- Encourage a sensible social media policy. Develop a policy that doesn’t restrict or prohibit employees from accessing, sharing or responding to reviews on social networks.
- Actively log into the Employer Center on Glassdoor. The Employer Center has free tools to help employers manage their employer brand, keep an eye on the competition and manage their reputation.
- Become an OpenCompany on Glassdoor. Today’s candidates seek transparency, and Glassdoor provides a way for companies to show that they’ve got it. Distinguish your brand by completing the five steps to obtain an OpenCompany profile badge.
- Publicize third-party endorsements. Awards and other recognition from outside organizations give job seekers a good impression of your company, and they energize employees by letting them know that they work for an honored organization. When your company wins awards, be sure to publicize them.
How to Improve Employee Engagement with Onboarding
An onboarding program is a comprehensive way to get new hires fully immersed in your company. The process includes logistics, of course. But more importantly, it involves showing your new team member the big picture to expedite his or her broad understanding of high-level strategies, current projects and company culture. It also jumpstarts familiarity with their fellow team members.
To set the tone for a high level of engagement, it’s critical to get the onboarding process just right. Every step should be met with an easygoing, pleasant confidence by everyone on the team. To pull this off, you have to be prepared, and this checklist will help you hit the proverbial ground running.
Here’s exactly what to do and when.
As Soon as New Hire Paperwork Has Been Signed:
Reach out to say how excited you are that they’ll be joining your team.
Go over parking and commuting options.
Let your new hire know when you’d like them to arrive.
Make sure they know who to ask for upon arrival, and make sure that person is prepared to offer a warm welcome.
A Week Before Your New Hire’s Start Date:
Send an agenda for meetings taking place during their first week so they know what to expect.
If you’re hosting a lunch meet-and-greet, it goes a long way to ask about food preferences in advance.
The Day Your New Employee Starts:
Introduce your new team member to his or her workstation.
Have a welcome card signed by team members waiting along with some company swag, such as branded notebooks, a mug, and pens.
Make sure your new hire knows where exits, bathrooms, and kitchen are, and that they have access to a map showing meeting/conference rooms and other key destinations.
Consider setting up a scavenger hunt to help new hires learn their way around together.
Assign someone to help them get settled. This can be someone on their team, or someone on a different team if working cross-functionally will be crucial to their role.
Set a calendar reminder to follow up at 30, 60 and 90 days to ensure happiness and assess overall engagement.
Sometime During First Week of Employment:
Host a small meeting where you go over company history, mission and values.
Familiarize your new hire with leadership, and introduce different departments.
Share a directory of resources and groups, whether on a Wiki or a Slack channel, that your new hire can join to feel at home faster.
Give an overview of the company structure, the function of specific teams, and how your new hire might overlap/interact with each.
Present an overview of the product or service your company provides. Set up one-on-ones or small-group meetings.
Have your new hire meet with HR to make sure benefits are all properly elected and answer any questions about compensation or benefits.
Go over perks, protocol for time off, sick days, etc.
30, 60 and 90 Days In:
Solicit feedback on the interview experience and overall experience to-date.
These nurture touchpoints can be used to solicit new employees’ feedback on how satisfied they are with the company and how confident they are that they made the right decision.
Include people from all levels and job groups in the same training to foster new friendships and allow new hires to meet and greet with one another.
How to Improve Employee Engagement with Recognition
In a working environment marked with uncertainty, stress and burnout, employee recognition is an increasingly important part of being a good manager. But how do you make sure everyone on your team feels appreciated – especially when you're just trying to get by yourself?
It’s an important question to ask, because employee recognition can have a powerful impact on retention and loyalty, as well as employee engagement. In fact, one recent poll showed that when employees don't feel recognized, they’re twice as likely to say they want to quit within a year.
But employee recognition is something you can easily work into your habits as a manager – even on a remote team. It doesn’t take a big budget, extra hours or even extra effort to layer in moments of surprise and delight for your hard-working employees – it just takes a little planning.
How to Give Effective Recognition
Recognition doesn't need to be expensive or flashy to have a positive impact on employees. However, if you want it to be effective, it needs to meet the following three criteria:
Effective recognition is timely: There’s no wrong time to compliment an employee. But your kind words will have more impact if they occur within a short time period after the actual event. Get into the habit of recognizing and acknowledging positive actions or results within a few hours of the event instead of saving them up for the next meeting or milestone.
Effective recognition is specific: Generic recognition feels good – but it feels even better to know exactly how you’ve helped someone. The same goes for employees, who are much likely to repeat the desired behavior if you say, “Good job on the report. It really helps me out that your first drafts are always flawless,” instead of the more generic, “Great job this week.”
Effective recognition is conscientious: Individual people have different comfort levels with praise – some welcome it in public, while others would rather not receive the attention, even if it's positive. As you practice giving more recognition, pay attention to signs that an employee might want to be recognized privately or in front of their group of peers. Better yet, check in with each employee at your next private meeting to ask their preference.
Creative Ideas for Recognizing Employees Remotely
Send a handwritten note or email recognizing an employee for a specific achievement or valuable contribution.
Tag an employee on social media or in your internal communication platform like Slack recognizing the person's achievement.
If possible, set up automatic alerts within your internal communication platform that notify the team when a specific goal is accomplished.
Start each one-on-one meeting on a positive note by mentioning something that’s going well in the employee’s performance.
Monthly or quarterly, ask employees to share what they're most proud of accomplishing to ensure you’re aware of where their heart is and compliment it genuinely.
Sponsor a co-worker recognition effort in which employees nominate others for special accomplishments or contributions.
Collect anonymous compliments from teammates and share in a card or short video. Send a personal note of appreciation from someone higher up in the employee’s chain of command, such as a member of the C-suite.
If budget allows, consider sending a care package to the employee’s home office for special occasions like birthdays, work anniversaries or onboarding.
Employee Recognition to Boost Morale and Prevent Burnout
The working world continues to present challenges and changes to the workforce. Managers that embrace the opportunity to be a positive force in the life of their employees will have a powerful impact on the morale of their team – and go a long way to preventing burnout. Be that positive force by setting aside a few minutes each week to share some recognition with your team.
How to Improve Employee Engagement with Employee Surveys
Companies often survey their employees for a variety of reasons: to improve workflow, for example, or gauge employee satisfaction. They can also survey employee engagement.
An employee engagement survey can give companies a glimpse into what encourages employee engagement – and what discourages employees from being fully engaged while they’re at work. These surveys can help your company figure out what it’s doing well, and what it can do better.
With employee engagement surveys, you can:
- Give employees the chance to express any concerns they may have about their jobs, and reveal what’s holding them back from being fully engaged with the company.
- Take stock, over time, of employee engagement. Surveys allow you to see changes in engagement over months and years – both positive and negative.
- Take steps to increase engagement. Surveys can reveal where employee engagement is lacking; with that information, you can identify where and how to improve engagement.
How to Improve Employee Engagement with Career Development
Investing in your employees’ careers and skills has a bevy of benefits: Supporting them through career development not only gives them the experience they need to perform their jobs better, but your investment in them makes them more invested in you – and engaged with the company.
Career development starts with providing for employees’ physical and intrinsic needs, and grows to help empower and motivate them to meet their career goals. Here’s how you can support your employees with career development and, in turn, improve their engagement with the company.
Encourage Mentoring and Coaching
Companies can look internally to support employee growth and career development through mentoring and coaching programs. Employees may not respond well to demands or orders. And so, managers must learn to work in tandem with their employees – similar to a coach or mentor.
Organizations can support the growth of their employees by creating a management culture that encourages communication and training. Managers shouldn’t be afraid to ask employees if they need help, and they should relish the opportunity to pass on skills or knowledge to employees.
Career development typically falls on one’s direct managers — so, emphasizing a culture of coaching and mentoring is an excellent way to encourage employee growth and engagement.
Identify and Develop Soft Skills
Soft skills refer to the personal traits and non-technical attributes that help you succeed in your career. These skills can include areas like time management, delegation, active listening, and communication, among others. Organizations that offer training and educational resources for soft-skill development can increase the productivity of their entire team – not just the employee.
Organizations should take a proactive approach to assess and develop soft skills for employees and managers. In doing so, you’ll create a more productive and engaged workforce.
Implement Cross-Departmental Training Programs
Whether you work as a production manager or the front-line sales representative, there is value in understanding how every unit operates. Organizations can support employee growth and professional development by implementing cross-departmental training programs. What’s more, breaking these departmental barriers can improve communication from one unit to the next.
For instance, your customer service department might notice a theme in consumer complaints about a product. If there is a communication gap between them and the production team, that deficiency or issue might not be brought up as quickly as it should. Cross-departmental training programs can educate your employees about different areas of your business, while also providing a better communication channel between different sectors of your organization. With better communication between departments, your employees are more likely to be engaged.
How to Improve Employee Engagement with Wellness Programs
Wellness and employee engagement are interlinked: Healthy employees feel happier in their workplaces, and are more likely to be engaged with their coworkers and companies.
Wellness includes both physical and psychological well being, and the best workplace wellness programs target both areas of employee health: They help employees stay fit and in good health, and help them foster community in the workplace with activities and healthy workplace habits.
Here are four ways you can improve employee engagement with wellness programs:
Encourage Rest - Even at Work
Many people struggle to get the 7 to 8 hours of sleep they’re supposed to each night. It may seem counterintuitive, but if you allow employees to take a power nap, you’ll see a boost in energy, productivity, creativity and engagement among your employees. Some forward-thinking companies have even added nap rooms to their offices. When employees stay awake burning the midnight oil working, there are nap rooms at company headquarters to help them catch up.
Provide Counseling Support
Consider offering a healthcare package that includes cover for psychologists, counselors and a host of alternative medical treatments. Services like this often include a confidential 24-hour support line that covers mental health and wellbeing support.
Subsidize Healthy Activities
Healthy activities are different for different people. Not everyone wants to take part in a group yoga class or participate in a daily plank-at-your-desk challenge. For this reason, offering employees an annual wellbeing bonus to put towards anything to do with promoting their health – from a gym membership to enlisting the services of a nutritionist or downloading a meditation app – is a great way to address a multitude of needs.
Encourage Taking a Day Off
It can be easy to feel like you have to slog it out at work day after day with no end in sight. But everyone needs mental health days. Encourage team members to choose a day in the next few weeks or month to just take a day off to recharge – even if it's just to take a long walk or watch an online class. One day off might very well mean that productivity is higher for a solid week.
Make sure your wellness program goes beyond credits for a gym membership. Not everyone works out – and a more diverse subsidy will benefit more people.
How to Improve Employee Engagement with Glassdoor Reviews
Glassdoor has millions of unique monthly visitors, and they are reading reviews: In fact, nearly three in four Glassdoor users read at least four reviews before forming an opinion of a company.
By encouraging employees to leave reviews – and responding to them – on Glassdoor, you can increase your chances of receiving applications from engaged applicants and your overall employee engagement: 3 out of 4 (74%) Glassdoor users agree they are more likely to apply to an open job if the employer is active on Glassdoor (e.g. responds to reviews, updates their profile, shares updates on the culture and work environment).1
Here’s how to get employees to leave reviews, and how to respond to them.
Invite New Hires and Employees to Leave Reviews
Invite both new hires and current employees to leave reviews about their experience with your company. New hires are an ideal audience to target because they are fresh to the organization and bring a lot of enthusiasm – and they can speak with detail about your company’s hiring process.
Other employees can add value through reviews, too. Employees who share transparent reviews about their experience will help the health of the company and assist in recruitment efforts.
Content should be updated on Glassdoor at least once a year to maintain an authentic and current view of what it’s like to work at your company. Ask your HR team to send reminders to your employees on a yearly basis soliciting their feedback and encouraging them to post to Glassdoor.
And the best part? Your team can find email templates here to make the task even easier.
Responding to Reviews
Reviews may be the first things a candidate sees before applying to your company. But how you respond matters, too – and even negative reviews give you the opportunity to display authenticity and concern for employees.
Here are tips for responding to reviews:
- Respond promptly: On Glassdoor, for example, you can set up company alerts that email you when new reviews post.
- Welcome all feedback: Whether comments are positive or negative, acknowledge them in a non-defensive tone.
- Address specific issues: By being receptive to concerns, you give reviewers a sense of satisfaction that they contributed to positive change within your company. A nice touch is giving reviewers an email address or phone number that they can use to contact you to further discuss specific concerns.
- Be considerate: Whether the topic is compensation, career growth, or management, a considerate response builds candidate trust.
- Promote the positive: Responding to positive reviews about your company and adding employee testimonials to your career page are two ways to enhance your employer brand – not just for job seekers, but also for current employees.
Understanding the Factors that Lower Employee Engagement
Just as it’s important to know how to increase employee engagement, it’s also important to learn what can lower it, too. Employees who aren’t engaged are more likely to leave. Learning what lowers their engagement can give you the tools to increase employee engagement and retention.
Here are 10 factors that contribute to lower employee engagement:
1. Employees Feel Underappreciated
People aren’t looking for a pat on the back every time they show up for work on time or finish a task. They simply need to be reminded from time to time that their contributions are a value to the team. And if you ignore them for too long, they may try to seek that appreciation elsewhere.
2. A Lack of Proper Compensation
Even if your company feels it is being fair, this is worth a look: It is no secret that companies that are the most generous in this arena are also some of the most successful, and have engaged employees. Employees who are not well compensated for the work are likely to be less engaged.
3. Insufficient Time Off
In an attempt to do more with less, some employers are saddling their employees with additional workloads to compensate for a leaner staff. Initially, this approach may result in a healthier bottom-line – but ultimately, it will lead to lower production and less engaged employees.
4. Change in Management
Changing managers can significantly impact employee engagement, and companies that fail to recognize the impact of this decision risk losing valuable personnel. Taking the time to speak with those most affected is important to keeping morale up and making the transition smooth.
5. Outdated Machinery and Equipment
Whether it’s warehouse equipment or the office phone system, tools that make life more difficult for those that use them play a major role in employees disengaged and running for the exit.
6. Unrealistic Goals
Setting goals and quotas is important for maintaining production levels and achieving maximum results. But constantly moving the “carrot” without regard for what it takes to reach it will usually wind up in a breakdown in morale and desire – and, you guessed it, engagement. Workers who are consistently put to the test may eventually decide it is simply not worth it.
7. Lack of Management Support
Managers who are unwilling to support those who depend upon them will find it difficult to maintain an engaged staff. Encourage managers to back up staff and right legitimate wrongs in order to keep employees engaged and your company’s retention levels high.
8. The Need to Be Challenged
When working adults get bored with their jobs, their minds wander and they start seeking a more challenging position. Keeping a bright employee challenged with rewarding tasks is the best way to keep that employee engaged.
9. Lack of a Joyful Environment
Look around your place of business. Do your employees seem happy to be there? Is there certain positive energy among your staff that seems to reverberate from department to department? If not, why not? Workplaces needn’t be all drudgery; it should at least be pleasant for employees.
10. Lack of a Clear Pathway to Success
Many times an employee will become frustrated with the inability or unwillingness of management to provide them with a working model for success with their company. This is another common and valid reason for lack of engagement. Good, attentive management will take the time to nurture those with an eye on the future and see their value in a long-term perspective.
How to Measure Employee Engagement
Measuring employee engagement is easy with fast feedback tools and employee surveys.
To foster an environment of continuous improvement at your company, it’s critical to facilitate an ongoing cycle of feedback, learning and change between managers and employees. It’s a process that helps employees feel heard and everyone feel empowered to do their best work.
In addition to using employee surveys – which help companies measure factors such as purpose, recognition, and innovation – employers can also utilize the feedback tools on Glassdoor to measure employee engagement. Glassdoor provides people an opportunity to leave feedback on a variety of things, including CEO ratings, career development opportunities, and salary reports.
How to Measure Employee Engagement with Exit Interviews
Exit interviews offer the perfect opportunity to get honest feedback from employees. While exit interviews can be emotionally charged – and that’s something that should be taken into account – departing employees may also be inclined to reveal things they’ve been hesitant to say while their jobs were in the balance. Developing a solid strategy for exit interviews can give your company incredible insight into what changes need to happen to keep people engaged and loyal.
Here are six questions you should ask to measure employee engagement through exit interviews.
1. Why did you begin looking for a new job?
Asking this sample exit interview question opens up the opportunity for a variety of answers – including those that could reveal employee engagement. You may see that an employee simply needed a job closer to home, or it may point to a specific policy that sparked their search.
2. What ultimately led you to accept the new position?
The employee’s answer to this question will allow you to compare your company’s position with that of another organization. And the key to this answer is actually in what you don’t see. For example, if an employee indicates that they are leaving for higher pay, this could mean that your compensation package isn't competitive enough – and re-evaluating it could help engage others.
3. Did you feel that you were equipped to do your job well?
Career development helps keep employees engaged, and if an employee didn’t feel equipped to do their job, you may want to improve your career development offerings. Be prepared for tales of technology woes and inadequate training –but also be prepared to gain valuable knowledge of what you can do better for other employees.
4. How would you describe the culture of our company?
As you keep track of employee exit interviews, watch for trends throughout to help you identify real concerns with employee engagement. Identifying trends can also help you separate legitimate concerns about employee engagement from the personal opinion of employees who are emotional or feel negatively about the company.
5. Did you share your concerns with anyone at the company prior to leaving?
This common question points back to your employee culture and whether your employees felt comfortable to share concerns with superiors or coworkers. The key here is to understand if you promote an environment where employees feel safe and comfortable to voice their opinions. Remember: transparency and security are important keys to a culture of employee engagement.
6. If you could change anything about your job or the company, what would you change?
Though you'll likely gain a lot of insight throughout the exit interview, this question will help the employee to focus in on the biggest or most important reason they’re leaving your company. This is also a non-confrontational way to encourage them to reveal the real reason they’re leaving: It shifts their answer from a complaint to a suggestion, which many people feel more comfortable providing – and may give you a way to increase employee engagement with other employees.
- Glassdoor.com U.S. Site Survey, Feb-Apr 2021