Employee engagement is a term that is often thrown around as the solution for workplace challenges. Before we get into the benefits, let’s first try and define employee engagement.
What is employee engagement?
It’s a bit of a catch-all term but generally refers to the psychological state of employees. This can include their energy, effort, enthusiasm, and concentration.
It’s important to understand that employee engagement is different to job quality, employee behaviour or management action.
Despite the lack of a solid definition, employee engagement is a useful concept for businesses to consider. Strategies can focus on motivation, how employees work towards achieving goals, and creating an attachment between employees and the company.
Why is employee experience important?
Employee experience has always been important, arguably now more than ever. In the wake of the pandemic, ‘The Great Resignation’ has many businesses concerned. According to The Guardian, nearly one in four UK workers is planning to change jobs within in the next six months.
It’s a candidate’s market and looking for new recruits is time-consuming and expensive. One way to retain talent is to ensure that their workplace experience is as good as it can be.
What are the benefits of employee experience?
Employee experience can impact everyone, from an individual to the entire organisation. Here are seven of the top benefits of employee engagement.
1. Healthier employees
Research in the US found that engaged employees exercise more and eat healthier foods. While businesses can provide on-site exercise facilities and healthy foods in communal kitchens, that doesn’t guarantee that employees will take the opportunity. Wellbeing is a huge focus for businesses and a healthy workforce is key to this.
2. Happier employees
According to the 2017 Skills and Employment Survey, more than half a million workers in the UK suffer from workplace stress. It’s probably a fair assumption that this has increased since then. Stressed employees face burnout and exhaustion, and their performance will suffer as a result. Staying engaged with employees will help leaders recognise and deal with potential stressors before they get too big.
3. Increased productivity
Numerous studies have shown that engaged employees are productive employees. Simply put, a disengaged worker will not be productive, which impacts the overall business performance. If a lot of workers are not engaged, the impact on the business is magnified.
4. Higher retention
It stands to reason that if an employee is not happy or does not feel a connection with their company, they will look for a new job. That’s certainly one of the key drivers behind the Great Resignation. Employee turnover is extremely costly and disruptive – losing an employee can cost anywhere from 16 – 213 per cent of an employee’s salary, and a new employee can take up to two years to reach the same productivity level. Retention is a key business metric and focusing on employee engagement can support this.
5. Lower absenteeism
Every day missed has a knock-on effect, from other employees having to cover a workload to delayed projects. A Gallup report from 2017 found that businesses with high employee engagement saw a 41 per cent decrease in absenteeism (and a 17 per cent increase in productivity). Clearly, employees need to take time off for health or other reasons, but engaged employees are much less likely to be absent frequently and without warning.
6. Improved safety
Engaged workplaces are safer for employees. That’s according to Gallup, who report that there are 70 per cent fewer safety incidents in engaged workplaces. Not only does a safe workplace protect employees, but it also protects a business from being liable for any workplace accidents.
7. Improved bottom line
It should not come as a surprise that all of the above benefits result in a financial boost for a company. This is achieved through increased productivity and a reduction in costs.
Starting your employee experience journey
It can be difficult to create an employee experience strategy since the term is a little vague. One of the best places to start is creating an employee engagement survey.
This needs to be accompanied by a robust communications programme. Explain the rationale behind the survey and make it clear that responses will be addressed wherever possible. Employee experience is an ongoing pursuit, so be sure to set out a timeline for future surveys and implementation of workplace changes that come as a result of employee feedback.
Contact us today to discuss how we can support your business and employee communications.