Employee engagement in the U.S. has been trending down, from 36% in 2020 to 32% in 2022, and active disengagement has risen, too. Though it’s not what we want to see, this downturn follows a decade of increasing engagement. That means there’s hope that it can recover — if companies genuinely understand its importance and put resources behind their employee engagement strategies.
Today, people want to feel connected to their work, valued for what they do and have their voices heard. They want clear expectations and growth opportunities. Simply put, they want to feel supported by their employers as human beings. And when they do, the benefits are incredible.
If you need to make a business case for why your organization should invest in employee engagement, here’s the evidence you need to back it up.#EmployeeEngagement has an impact on every area of your business. Find out how it can make or break employee motivation, retention and more:
Employee Engagement: The Basics
Before we get into the depth of its impact, let’s set the scene and answer the question, “What is employee engagement?”
Employee engagement refers to the level of connection and excitement individuals feel toward their work and workplace. Highly engaged workers are more productive and creative, and they’re less likely to look for a new job. Companies with high levels of employee engagement are more profitable, experience fewer safety incidents, and have more loyal customers.
Global analytics and advice firm Gallup discovered that managers alone are responsible for 70% of the variance in engagement on their teams. That means managers should take an active role in improving employee engagement and ensuring it stays as high as possible. Luckily, Gallup also identified 12 necessities that, when met, result in a highly engaged workforce.
Here’s what managers need to do provide to foster high engagement based on those 12 needs:
Set clear expectations for every employee
Provide sufficient materials and equipment
Give employees a chance to do their best each day
Offer recognition or praise at least once a week
Demonstrate that they care about their employees as people
Encourage employees’ development
Ask for employees’ opinions and take them into account
Connect projects and goals to the company mission
Demonstrate their own commitment to doing great work
Help employees develop close relationships at work
Discuss performance on a regular basis and evaluate progress with performance reviews
Help employees set goals for their growth and identify career paths
Just from these basics, it's clear that employee engagement is an ongoing process, not a one-time project. You’ll need to adapt your strategies as the needs of employees and the business change and as the world of work evolves. Understanding the importance of employee engagement and its impact can help your organization do just that.
Now, let’s get into the many ways engagement has power across the organization.
Download ClearCompany’s Employee Engagement Bundle to harness the power of employee engagement at your organization — click to get your resource bundle.
Engage Employees to Shape Company Culture
Employee engagement is at the core of company culture. Think about it — if a majority of employees feel happy, supported, and important at work, that will naturally encourage other traits of strong company culture:
- Deeper connections and trust among colleagues
- Better employee communication across the organization
- Higher levels of innovation
More employee recognition, both from people leaders and peers
In this positive feedback loop, when the company culture is healthy, engagement is also higher, with improvements to one strengthening the other. Be sure to identify your company culture and incorporate it into recruiting materials to start building engagement during the application process. Then, don’t check it at the door when the offer letter is signed — embed company culture into every part of the employee experience.
Engage to Motivate
Motivation is what pushes employees to do their very best at work. If you look back at the list of 12 things managers can do to engage their employees, it’s clear why engaged employees are highly motivated. They have everything they need, they know how they’re doing, and they know where to find help. In addition, their work isn’t going unnoticed — employees know that their managers and peers see and appreciate their contributions.
It’s also motivating for employees to see their direct connection to furthering the company mission. When their goals are aligned with business goals, there’s no ambiguity about why their job is important — they can see for themselves why their work matters.
Engage to Improve Performance
Just like highly engaged employees are motivated to do their best on a daily basis, they’re also motivated to improve their performance and become high performers. The data backs that up, too — highly engaged sales teams, for example, are up to 18% more productive than those with low engagement, and research shows that engaged employees are 27% more likely to say their performance was excellent.Did you know that highly engaged employees are 27% more likely to report excellent performance? That’s the power of employee engagement:
When performance conversations are frequent and transparent, and growth opportunities abound, employees have the means and the motivation to get even better at what they do. Making employees feel heard, giving them feedback as they work instead of once a year, and taking action to help them grow are all part of performance improvement — and a motivated, engaged workforce.
Engage to Retain
It’s no surprise that employees stay longer at companies that meet their needs. Who would want to quit a workplace where they feel invested in and appreciated? Evidence shows that retention is as much as 34% higher when employees have professional development opportunities alone.
More chances for growth is also one of the top considerations for job seekers and a major reason many employees are searching elsewhere. And that’s based on just one aspect of employee engagement — imagine the retention benefits when all 12 requirements of high engagement are met.
Engage to Save Time and Money
Considering its positive impact on motivation, performance, and retention, you may have already guessed that higher engagement can save a significant amount of time and money, especially for HR teams. Engaged teams are staying longer and learning new skills during their tenure, which reduces the cost and time spent on hiring new employees to fill open roles or close skills gaps. Employees are getting more work done while continuously getting better at it, increasing production while reducing time and money spent fixing mistakes.VIDEO: Find out how to deconstruct current policies to foster a sense of belonging at work from DEI&B expert Serilda Summers-McGee. Watch the video here.
The Power of Employee Engagement Software
It’s almost an understatement to say engagement is important. It’s hard to find a part of employee experience or a business outcome that isn’t impacted by your company’s engagement levels. Engagement even affects your clients’ satisfaction and longevity. In light of falling engagement levels, there’s never been a better time to bring it to the forefront as a business priority.
Modern problems require modern solutions, as the saying goes, and that’s why you need the most modern solution around to bolster your engagement efforts. Employee engagement software can help your organization measure and evaluate engagement trends and provide insights that help you develop more effective strategies.
You can use software to measure employee engagement quickly and regularly without putting a strain on your HR team. One of the biggest benefits of using employee engagement software is that your company’s valuable engagement data is turned into powerful reports. These reports would take a massive amount of time for your team to produce manually, not to mention the effort it would take to gather the data in the first place. But with software, the data’s all there, and it takes just a few clicks.
Get access to all of these Employee Engagement tools and more with ClearCompany:
Celebrations and Shout Outs make it easy to build recognition and encouragement into the company culture.
Employee Survey tools, including prebuilt survey templates, allow for the fast creation and launch of anonymous surveys.
Goal Planning & Alignment clarify employees’ duties and show how they contribute to business success.
Robust reporting and analytics provide actionable insights from real engagement data and enable more informed decision-making regarding HR strategies.
Discover the employee engagement solutions that can take your employees from uninterested to enthusiastic. Try out ClearCompany's Employee Engagement tools and features firsthand — sign up for a demo with one of our experts.