How employee engagement can improve business performance

With employers globally facing unprecedented levels of employee turnover, it’s time to refocus on the fundamentals of people management.

Employee engagement is a term that is buzzing in board rooms globally. The clear reason is that businesses have worked out how much impact an engaged workforce can have on company culture and overall business performance.

As you’ll discover in this article, employee engagement can lead to many benefits, including better customer experience, greater employee productivity, and increased profitability. In challenging, tumultuous times, an engaged workforce has never been more critical.

What employee engagement looks like

Engagement refers to the degree to which an employee is invested in, motivated by, and passionate about the work they do.

Engaged workers:

  • Are generally happier

  • Want to be at work

  • Try harder

  • Provide a better customer experience

  • Are more productive

With engaged employees, things are done faster and better. Because an engaged employee feels good about their work life and responsibilities, they’re keen to give back. 

This lifts a business’s reputation both inside and outside the organisation.

What's the difference between disengaged and engaged workers?

Disengaged employees

Disengaged workers generally go slow, slack off, don’t care as much and don’t try as hard. Work is often just a paycheck to them and they are not completely committed. According to Gallup, 85% of employees globally are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. The economic consequences of this global "norm" are approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity. That’s a massive drain on the bottom line and a powerful incentive for companies to improve their approach to people management.

Engaged employees

A different Gallup study found these significant benefits for businesses that have engaged teams:

  • 41% less absenteeism

  • 17% more productivity

  • 59% less staff turnover

  • 10% gain in customer ratings

  • 20% more sales

When you add up all these benefits, steps to improve employee engagement led to a 21% boost in profitability.

What Drives Employee Engagement?

If there were one simple answer to this question, every company would be equally successful. What works in some places doesn’t work for others.

However, we can observe some key findings from Forbes that point in the right direction.

Sometimes a simple change to the environment can make a big difference. Whether that’s the physical workspace, or making the work environment healthier and safer, the Forbes article indicates that 70% of employers have enhanced their workplaces to lift the number of engaged employees.

It’s also a truism that everyone wants their voice to matter. Workers who feel ‘heard’ at work are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. 

Some business leaders think managing by walking around is a useful strategy, especially when they’re good at listening. Backing this up with evidence, the Forbes article indicates that 96% of employees believe that showing empathy is an important way to improve retention. That means taking the time to understand what makes each employee tick: what are their motivational drivers? What do they like and dislike about their work experience? Where and when do they want to work? What’s happening for them outside of work? How can they be better supported? 

The answers to these questions help to build ‘mini profiles’ of employees, which can then assist with the creation of a personalised employee experience - for example, tailored learning and development, or bespoke benefits..

How to improve employee engagement

Great businesses have senior leadership and a company culture that motivates staff to strongly identify with the business’s purpose, values and goals and become more engaged employees. This begins with being very clear about these key elements and their impact on customers and the world.

Clearly, internal employee communication has a strong role to play in boosting engaged employees. It helps staff identify with the company’s vision, values and goals.

How to measure employee satisfaction

The simple answer, and one of the best strategies, is to email out an anonymous survey to see if employees are engaged. 

Ask your staff members to answer a handful of questions about how valued they feel, how satisfied they are with their work/life balance, whether they’re optimistic about their career prospects and so on.

Knowing how your employees feel is very meaningful data.

Engaged employees

From an employer's point of view, evidence of employee engagement can be found in all of these related business outcomes:

  • Increased profitability

  • Less burnout, better mental wellness

  • Reduced staff turnover and absenteeism

  • Greater innovation

  • Increased customer satisfaction

When you feedback on the findings of surveys and measurements to employees, it can be a virtuous circle. Just by doing a survey and communicating the findings, you’re showing evidence of listening and caring. 

Empathy is being demonstrated. Staff can feel more involved because they have been consulted and valued.

More tips to foster engaged employees

HR technology has a big role to play in improving employee engagement for shift-based, roster-driven (or “deskless) workers.

HR software systems like Humanforce with inbuilt employee engagement tools help solve this challenge by giving your dekless teams a sense of unity, irrespective of workers’ hours, roles or locations. 

Our cloud-based platform is custom-built to foster collaborative workplaces that support employee satisfaction, engagement and work-life balance. It takes much of the friction out of rostering staff and puts workers in control of their schedules and work-life balance, leading to a more engaged workforce.

Humanforce solutions

Humanforce is a leading provider of shift-based workforce management solutions that simplify onboarding, scheduling, time and attendance, employee engagement and communication.

Customers in more than 23 countries use Humanforce to optimise costs, realise compliance confidence, empower their team and drive growth.