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Employee Engagement | 3 minute read

Employee Engagement: Beyond a Buzzword

April 1, 2013

In recent years, the phrase “employee engagement” has been frequently thrown around when referring to corporate culture; yet, despite its prevalence, the concept is not taken as seriously as it should be. Every company wants its employees to be engaged in theory, but it’s often not a priority that’s implemented. However, the price an organization pays for disengaged employees is too high to ignore.Recent studies show that employee turnover costs U.S. businesses $11 billion a year, and engagement (or lack thereof) is a crucial component in how likely an employee is to stay with an organization. In addition, studies have shown that companies with the most engaged employees have higher productivity, higher shareholder return and higher net profit margins. So, how do you go beyond talking about employee engagement to practicing it?

Here are some simple and effective ways to improve employee satisfaction:

1. Be aware of the specific needs of your organization.
Employee engagement is not one-size-fits-all. It starts by understanding who makes up your organization. If your company has a remote workforce, you may need to get creative and put extra effort forth to ensure employees feel connected to one another. If you have a workforce with a high percentage of millennials, traditional HR procedures like yearly performance reviews may not be as effective as more frequent, less formal assessments due to this generation’s need for constant feedback.

2. Be clear about your organization’s direction.
Top-down transparency is a critical component in fostering an engaged employee culture. Weekly or monthly updates from management about the company’s progress keeps everyone in the loop and employee morale high. Communicating organizational goals makes employees feel like they’re playing a part in reaching those goals and it stresses their long-term value to the organization. And when management creates a “we’re all in this together” mentality, employees feel like their work is significant, which is a major factor in engagement.

3. Create paths for advancement.
Don’t let your organization fall prey to high turnover due to a lack of potential for career progression. Make sure employees understand your corporate structure and be open about criteria for promotion. Employees are more engaged if they have a goal to work toward and understand what they need to do to attain it. In addition, internal mentorship programs can ensure employees have the tools needed to keep their career moving forward without changing companies.

4. Create a leadership team.
You don’t need a big budget for engagement activities. This is the perfect opportunity to tap into your company’s talent. Creating an employee engagement team or taskforce made up of people who are passionate about your organization will give engagement the focus it deserves. This also creates opportunities for employees to take on a resume-boosting leadership role, something many people (millennials, in particular!) crave. Putting together a team consisting of employees instead of management adds insight into what employees want and yields more effective (and, perhaps, out-of-the-box) ideas.

Don’t let employee engagement be a buzzword used by human resources; make it a guiding principle for your organization by taking action.

About WilsonHCG

WilsonHCG is an award-winning, global leader in total talent solutions. Operating as a strategic partner, it helps some of the world’s most admired brands build comprehensive talent functions. With a global presence spanning more than 65 countries and six continents, WilsonHCG provides a full suite of configurable talent services including recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), executive search, contingent talent solutions and talent consulting. TALENT.™ It’s more than a solution, it’s who we are.

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