Simply put, employee engagement can be defined as the extent to which employees are passionate and/or motivated about their jobs. Throughout the course of our lives, many of us will likely spend a significant proportion of our time at the office. Hence, it goes without saying that a safe and happy workplace is a vital part of human resource management.
In the past, dealing with toxic workplaces and horrible bosses was regarded as just another facet of life for many employees. This was due to existing mindsets of the time and a marked scarcity of jobs. Even nowadays, many employees admit to feeling miserable while on the job.
If the modern workplace is to flourish, this state of affairs has to change and this is why an increasing number of HR professionals and employers have come to recognize the value of employee engagement.
With all of that in mind, here are three reasons why employee engagement should be at the forefront of HR management.
1. A less toxic workplace
Studies have shown that the lack of workplace engagement is one of the top reasons why employees head for the door. Unhappy employees are less productive, demotivated and have the potential to become toxic.
A toxic employee will spread unhappiness within the team and can drastically affect general morale. When left unchecked, this can result in an entire office turning against members of the leadership team. An employee can become frustrated or even toxic when he/she feels that her efforts are not appreciated by management.
This highlights why it is critical that both managers and HR professionals take steps to engage with their employees through a variety of outreach programs. Such initiatives can range from offering upskilling programs to simply having regular coaching sessions with employees.
On the long-term, this keeps employees satisfied whilst also helping build up a dependable core of highly motivated and capable individuals which can give the organization a competitive edge.
2. Reduced employee turnover
In the world of HR, employee turnover refers to the rate in which employees need to be replaced with new ones. Turnover incurs costs in the form of money and time spent recruiting, hiring and training a new employee.
It is vital for the HR professional to understand that employees do not resign from their jobs but instead they fire their employers. From being treated unfairly to working in a hostile work environment, employees leave for a myriad of reasons.
While it’s impossible to achieve nearly zero turnovers, an organization or team with a higher than usual rate of employee turnover is in trouble. Organizations will naturally suffer from attrition over time as employees can be wooed away by competitors or resign for their own reasons.
Conducting regular pulse check sessions with team members allows managers to get an idea of the actual situation on the ground. Most of the time, internal issues often fly under management’s radar and manifest themselves only when it’s too late.
By engaging with employees in such a manner, HR professionals and business leaders can take steps to address any problems. Hence reducing an organization’s turnover on the long-term.
3. Happier, more productive employees
Stress negatively affects employees in a variety of ways. From reduced productivity to mental health problems, chronic stress is a serious problem in many workplaces. A toxic workplace with constant strife and politicking distracts employees from their main function i.e. getting work done.
Working in such an environment will only anger and depress productive employees whilst encouraging unprofessional behavior such as finger-pointing and backstabbing which only serves to kill morale and hamper productivity.
This is why managers and HR professionals need to work together to stamp out such behavior. Having members of the leadership team set an example for staff members is an excellent way of cascading change from the top.
While it may take time for the effects to be felt, consistently pushing for a change in workplace culture will pay off in dividends in the long-term. It’s like betting on the favorite team on the future odds of Superbowl.
Engaging with your employees is not rocket science. In fact, it’s all about treating employees with respect and humility; a fact, unfortunately, lost on many leaders.