Over the last five years there has been what seems to have been a significant increase in the numbers of studies conducted around the world to try and understand what drives employee engagement. Blessing White, Gallup, KPMG, McLeod amongst many who have been working hard to discover the factors that help us enjoy what we do at work, to the extent that we don’t mind doing that little bit extra to make a difference.
Many organisations also embark on their own organisational employee engagement surveys seeking to understand what motivates their workforce. But for most employees, knowing that they have been surveyed and listened to still doesn’t answer the key question in their mind of ‘why should employee engagement matter to me?”
The answer is simple; we spend most of our waking hours each week at work. So why wouldn’t we want this time to be as stress-free, productive, and maybe even enjoyable, as possible? The chances are that if you are stressed at work, have a poor relationship with your manager, don’t know how you fit in with what the company is trying to achieve, or how you can be developed to contribute more effectively (amongst other things) then you probably aren’t getting the most out of your job; either personally or professionally.
And this is why employee engagement surveys and follow up initiatives matter to all of us. It is an opportunity for an organisation to demonstrate that they take seriously the need for all employees to be involved and engaged, with the preference being that the main stress being experienced is the healthy stress of learning a new skill, growing your career or problem-solving.
But employee engagement isn’t just about what the organisation can do for you. Employee engagement is a two-way street, and whilst leadership groups are typically going off and learning how to lead and engage their teams, this doesn’t mean that everyone can’t be taking some level of ownership for their own their engagement. Some tips for increasing your satisfaction at work include:
- Being aware of what your body and mind are telling you about your stress-levels. If you are feeling stressed, then have a chat with your manager, HR or someone outside of work. Having someone you can speak with is an important factor in managing stress. Outside of work, getting involved in social events, exercising and taking up a hobby are all ways to reduce stress.
- Know what you want from your career. Understanding your own personal bigger picture, and where you are headed (even if it’s just a year-long plan!) can make the bumps along the way not seem quite as bad, and be easier to get over. Get some time with your manager and HR to explore what this can mean for you.
- Get connected! Look for ways to get involved with company activities and events – both socially and professionally. The more you connect with your colleagues the more you understand what’s happening across your site, and the organisation.
Underpinning all of this is the link between our satisfaction and happiness at work and business results. Benchmarking results from the recent Gallup engagement study confirm that a more engaged workforce:
- Is healthier, and has fewer stress related illnesses
- Is safer, and has fewer accidents and incidents
- Has lower turnover, people want to stay
- Have fewer defects and quality issues
- Has higher customer engagement
- Is more productive
- Is more profitable
So why should employee engagement matter to everyone? Because it’s about you, your colleagues, your manager and your customers. And the best thing is, engagement is two-way. For everyone; it’s about taking ownership and seeking to be engaged. For managers, seek to engage. And that’s why, and how, employee engagement matters to all of us!