Employee Engagement

Why Employee Engagement Matters

One of the best ways to understand your staff better is to use employee engagement surveys. The information you can gain from such surveys is invaluable.

As the job market tightens, hiring and retaining motivated staff is becoming one of the key objectives for businesses. Employees are increasingly favouring conditions and job satisfaction over their pay packet, meaning it’s never been more important for organisations to ensure their staff are actively engaged.

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, a shocking 71% of employees are not engaged. Only 14% identify as highly engaged, with another 15% stating they’re actively disengaged. These statistics paint the grim reality that 86% of workers are turning up and doing the bare minimum to get by – or less.

We don’t need to tell you how damaging this can be for productivity, let alone staff morale. In many situations, there’s a very simple reason why employers don’t understand this lack of performance and engagement: They don’t ask.

Understand and Act on Employee Engagement Issues

While strategic direction, profitability and performance are generally the top three things on a leadership group’s mind, there’s a key component that often gets missed. The employees. At the end of the day, a business achieves success due to motivated, dedicated and engaged staff. If your staff are only doing what they need to get their pay check, your business is unlikely to experience continued growth no matter how strong your strategic planning is.

Staff engagement surveys present an opportunity for you to understand the key issues for your team. For example, are staff shown the appreciation they deserve for a job well done? Recognition is always a hot topic among employees, and research by O.C. Tanner over the last decade indicates that 79% of people who left their jobs cited lack of appreciation as a key reason.

For leaders, it isn’t enough to just decide you’re going to improve staff engagement and start telling your team that things are going to get better. To make meaningful change, you first need to understand the causes of low engagement levels. Using employee engagement surveys that ask the right questions is the best way to start your journey towards building a more motivated workforce.

Reduce Staff Turnover

According to research by leading recruiter Robert Half in 2018, 67% of employers had seen an increase in staff turnover in the last three years. While the Australian job landscape is changing and an increase in staff turnover is to be expected, business owners and leaders will be well aware of the cost of losing experienced, qualified staff.

Leading jobs website Seek lists the following 5 most common reasons people leave their current employment:

  1. Poor management
  2. Lack of career progression opportunities
  3. Pursuing a new career
  4. A bad or negative work environment
  5. Dissatisfied with pay

The interesting thing to note here is that 4 out of these 5 reasons could be addressed by employers if they understood there was a problem. People pursuing a career change is somewhat unavoidable, however an employee engagement survey would uncover the other 4 issues, allowing leaders to take action and avoid costly staff turnover.

Gain Valuable Insights into Working Conditions

As mentioned above, a poor or negative working environment is a leading contributor for staff turnover. But what does that really mean? Is it substandard equipment, too much micro-managing or lack of opportunity for staff to challenge themselves? Is it too many meetings, not enough flexibility, or frustration with policies and procedures?

The truth is, all of these things and many more can contribute to what staff feel is a ‘negative working environment’. Once morale starts to drop, it’s incredible how quickly it can snowball into much larger problems.

Understanding exactly what your staff mean by ‘poor working conditions’ is crucial to being able to fix the problems, and conducting a meaningful employee engagement survey is the ideal way to gain the valuable insights you need.

Anonymous Honesty

The fact is, staff will say plenty of things about their job satisfaction when they’re in a private setting amongst trusted colleagues. However, if you drag everybody into a meeting room and ask them to voice their concerns directly to management, not many will be bold enough to do so.

The anonymity provided by a staff engagement survey allows staff to feel comfortable airing their grievances without fear of reprisal. As leaders, the results can sometimes be hard to take, but it’s important not to become defensive. While you may not agree with the grumblings of staff, perception is reality for them, so you need to proactively move forward and strategize ways to address any issues affecting engagement.

It can be helpful to seek out some survey coaching and consulting assistance, to help you unpack the survey results and in some case, read between the lines to see how your staff are really feeling. Whichever way you choose to go, you’ll find that an anonymous survey will give you far more honest results than face-to-face discussions will.

Employee Engagement Surveys and Business Consultants

If you’re a business consultant, you’ll know the importance of understanding employee engagement when conducting organisational reviews. One of the best ways to gain clear insights into where a business can improve is to ask the staff directly. Employee engagement surveys are the perfect way to get a snapshot of how a workforce is feeling and where they think improvements could be made.

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