Employee engagement is a subject we have mentioned on a number of occasions within this RDZ blog page. It’s a topic which many clients speak to us about and is often raised when business awards are being considered (either because clients believe that it’s something in which they already excel, or because they would like to do it better and see awards as being a way to achieve this).
The fact of the matter is that employee engagement is a topic which merits its own consideration as the implications of doing it well – or more importantly, the implications of getting it wrong – can be extensive.
More than just box-ticking
For some businesses, employee engagement is simply a case of keeping the staff happy, perhaps even a simple box-ticking exercise when appraisal time comes around. Companies who see it only in these terms will probably never reap the benefits which others who take it more seriously regularly enjoy.
A happy workforce is a productive workforce
The statement above is true, but employee engagement is about so much more than having your staff work faster or put in longer hours. The truth is that a workforce who understands the mission of their employer (and sees exactly what it is they are trying to achieve) is far more likely to want to participate positively in the process.
Authenticity is key
Of course, in order for employees to want to be part of this journey to success they need to feel that it is genuine and worthy. It should never be assumed that members of staff, at any point in their career, will not question the mission, values and activities of the company. A ‘cover all’ mission statement borrowed from an anonymous corporation will not wash; employees want to see something specific and relevant, something which immediately resonates with their knowledge of the operation, its day-to-day objectives and the competition it faces. It should never be forgotten that those closest to the coal face often know the challenges best – and they have most at stake when it comes to their employer overcoming those challenges and rising to the top. Not everyone aspires to work only for market leaders, but most people don’t want to work for a business which is considered to be mediocre at best.
Engaging isn’t a new idea
Whilst the term ‘engaging’ might seem to be one which has just very recently come into the public domain, the idea has been in place for generations. Companies of all sizes have always been trying to reach out and appeal to their target markets (think back to the very first soap powder adverts which tried to match products with people’s lifestyles). In the same way as we know to engage our target audience to make the journey to purchase a smoother one, we now recognise that we must engage our staff to ensure that they work with us, positively contributing to progress.
Perhaps the only modern twist to the idea of engagement is that it is generally considered to be just as important to engage with the internal audience as it is to appeal to the external one.
The real cost comes from not engaging
It’s difficult to ascertain exactly what the cost of true employee engagement might be. It is entirely dependent on the steps taken and whether they are handled in-house or by an outside provider. Great examples which come to mind for us are the introduction of employee perks or the initiation of a charity project which encourages employee participation (as well as illustrating Corporate Social Responsibility) – in both cases the cost to the business is negligible whilst the benefits are potentially massive.
The cost of not successfully engaging with employees, however, is an entirely different matter. Disengaged staff will be generally disinclined to ‘got that extra mile’ and they also have a tendency to leave as soon as they see something else of interest. The arduous task of finding new recruits to replace those who have gone elsewhere is one which every company knows is extremely costly, both in terms of money and management time.
Employee engagement is something which we at RDZ take very seriously and, in conjunction with our sister company, The Awards People, are always happy to advise our clients upon. A genuine, well designed employee engagement strategy after all is yet another compelling aspect of a winning business’ story.