A lot of companies pay lip-service to create a positive work environment that engages employees to do their best, but few companies actually deliver on that promise. In fact, research suggests that only 15% of employees worldwide are effectively engaged and motivated to do a good job. This is a shockingly low number and brings to light some key deficiencies illustrated in the below infographic. Let’s take a look at these key areas where companies can do better and then talk about how to sell employee engagement as a worthwhile goal to executive leadership.
First on the list is the failure to supply employees with the right tools and technology they need to do their jobs, particularly state-of-the-art digital tools. Modern employees see on a daily basis how something as commonplace as a mobile phone can boost efficiency in their personal lives. When they don’t see a commitment from their employer to equip them with technology that’s at least as sophisticated as what they use at home, they feel like second-class citizens, and this leads to 58% of workers deciding they need to work elsewhere to gain the digital skills they desire.
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Next, many businesses fail to provide their employees with sufficient training and learning opportunities. This leads directly to higher employee turnaround, with 30–50% lower employee retention rates compared to businesses with a strong learning culture. By simply establishing a thorough onboarding program and offering opportunities for career improvement training, companies can easily remedy this problem.
Fostering social connections between employees is another area where many companies fall short. This is a big problem because almost 90% of people rank their relationship with coworkers as important to their job satisfaction. Creating opportunities for employees to interact—whether it be face-to-face or online with something like an enterprise social network—allows a company to easily engage a wide cross-section of its workforce.
Perhaps, not surprisingly, the role of management is also a key to effective engagement. Employees overwhelmingly state that they are more likely to stay with their job, and even take a lower salary in some cases, if they have a boss they like and if senior leadership not only sets a good example but also exhibits socially responsible behavior. Similarly, employees want to be heard and taken seriously, stating they are almost five times more likely to do their best work when management solicits their expertise.
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Offering flexible work options is another key to successfully engaging employees. In addition to making employees feel like their lives are important to the company, it also boosts efficiency, with 75% of workers stating that they are more productive when working from home.
Last on our list of key employee engagement opportunities is showing appreciation for employees and recognizing their accomplishments. Sadly, most employees feel like they are taken for granted. In fact, limited recognition is the top reason people leave jobs, and 70% of employees state that something as simple as receiving a “thank you” from their manager would improve their morale and make them more motivated to do a good job.
So what does this all add up to? We alluded to the fact that successfully engaging employees leads to better morale and performance, but it oftentimes takes cold hard facts to convince executive leadership to commit the necessary resources, so here they are. Companies that do a good job of engaging their employees: A) experience 233% greater customer loyalty; B) outperform other businesses by 202%; C) reduce employee turnover by 65%; and D) grow revenue 26% faster.
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