5 Ways to Boost Employee Engagement

Man leading a business meeting in a modern office

Research over the last decade has made a convincing case that high employee engagement in the workplace is highly correlated with success in achieving business goals. Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace report found that companies with highly engaged employees experience 17 percent higher productivity, 20 percent higher sales, and 21 percent higher profitability, among many other positive metrics.

An engaged workplace also helps create a positive work environment. When employees are engaged at work:

  • They feel a connection with the company
  • They believe that the work they're doing is important
  • They want to work harder

Ashley Pedersen, Aerotek practice lead, has seen this play out in person many times.

She cites the example of a telecommunications company that had worked hard to create an atmosphere of camaraderie and collaboration. “When I talked to different employees of that company, they were praising their peers and giving them shout-outs,” she says. “There was such a dynamic of inclusion and teamwork, and it lifted the whole group up.”

The glowing reports of the work environment were especially noteworthy, she says, because the job itself was difficult and the employees worked long shifts. Yet the team had such a good time and developed such strong ties that they even spent time together outside of work hours.

“In addition to creating a core group of very engaged employees, the company enjoyed the additional benefit of dramatically reducing its turnover and increasing its recruitment success,” she says.

The impact of a great manager

“Managers account for at least 70 percent of variance in employee engagement scores,” notes a Gallup study. Pedersen agrees that the quality of the team’s manager can have a huge impact on employee engagement and success.

“A hiring manager with excellent people skills and leadership ability helps the team feel valued and esteemed,” she says. Pedersen also explains that culture fit can play a huge role in determining what job candidate would excel in a specific job environment. “Getting to know the work environment as well as the job candidate is crucial to achieving a good fit.”

One issue that often leads to disengagement is poor communication, says Pedersen. Beginning with the recruitment process and through onboarding, new hires are on high alert for cues as to how they’ll be treated as employees. If a hiring manager fails to communicate, it may be seen by the candidate as an indication that they aren’t valued. “In this talent-driven market, when candidates often have multiple opportunities or offers, frequent and thorough communication is especially important.”

Many companies partner with a trusted staffing agency to ensure that communications and other hiring functions are timely and effective, Pedersen notes. To have the best chance at success, the agency may recommend that employers streamline decision making and ensure that they’re ready to move on candidates to minimize any unnecessary lags in communication.

So what else can employers do to increase employee engagement? The Gallup study offers some advice.

5 Ways to Ensure Employee Engagement

The most effective managers define and discuss both the explicit and implicit expectations for the employee’s role and the team:

  1. Paint a picture of outstanding performance
  2. Help employees understand how their work aligns with the work of their team members, business area and organization
  3. Ensure their job closely follows expectations set by the job description
  4. Frequently provide formal and informal feedback to help employees reach their goals
  5. As priorities, roles and circumstances change, great managers continually assess and fine-tune expectations.

Want to learn more about the role of employee engagement in high-performing companies? Contact Aerotek now.