With most companies going remote, HR leaders are finding new strategies to keep their remote workforce happy. Although employee engagement has become one of the most common corporate buzzwords in the last decade, it remains one of the most complex issues for leaders to master.
To the layman, employee engagement refers to a sense of loyalty, dedication, and an emotional link to one’s workplace. The more engaged an employee is, the more likely they are to maximize their efficiency and performance. Emgaged employees are more likely to go above and beyond to do an excellent job wherever feasible.
The need for an engaged workforce will be even more essential in 2021 and beyond. With every company’s bottom lines suffering due to the pandemic, employee loyalty and improved company growth can also be attributed to an engaged workforce.
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1. 26% of disengaged employees are highly motivated. (Source: Leadership IQ)
For a long time, disengagement has been linked to loss of productivity and dropping performance levels. But according to research from Leadership IQ, the results of their survey say otherwise. 26% of disengaged employees are more likely to dislike their company or job but will still give a 100% of their efforts at their jobs.
While this research might sound at odds with other research that implies that disengagement equals business loss- there is a simple explanation behind it. The reason is invariably tied to these employees’ source of motivation.
Although a disengaged employee will resent their job but with enough motivation, they are just as likely to put in the same amount of time and effort as an engaged employee. Such sources of motivation can be financial restraint, lack of other opportunities, or fear of failure.
2. 13% of workers reported being disengaged, compared to 5% of managers and 3% of executive respondents. (Source: Wrike)
The clear distinction between the rate of engagement among employees and managers speaks volumes about the importance of decision-making and autonomy.
The power of independence and the ability to make their own decisions can be major gamechanger in how companies engage their employees. Especially when we consider the fact that millennials- a generation that doesn’t take well to being told what to do- constitutes 75% of the workforce by 2025, it’s crucial to encourage and support autonomy.
It means that today’s leaders should start figuring out ways to delegate some of their decision-making responsibilities to capable workers. Employees feel empowered when they are given the opportunity to make critical decisions. It also implies that they see themselves as a vital part of the company’s journey, which fosters loyalty.
3. A survey of nearly 7,500 employees found that 67% of them reported feeling burned out at work sometimes, very often, or always. (Source: Gallup)
Burnout is something unnatural that has been normalized. In reality, people are not supposed to feel like being efficient at their jobs equals being constantly stressed out, anxious, and high-strung about it. While such workers might display great performance at their peak, there is a definite downhill that they will face if such a routine continues.
For the company, the long-term picture of facilitating such a work environment is bleak. High-stress levels, attrition, absenteeism, and increased rates of poor health conditions among employees are just a few of the negative consequences of a burnout culture. In the meantime, the rest of the business world will scrutinize the company’s image, and the chances of attracting top talent will plummet.
4. Employees who said they completely trust their team leader were 14 times more likely to be fully engaged. (Source: MIT SMR)
A popular saying illustrates the above statistic in the very best way,
“People don’t leave jobs. They leave their managers.”
There have also been multiple discourses online where employees are of the opinion that they would rather stay with a bad company but under a great manager than with a good company but under a bad manager.
Managers are often the link between an organization and its employees. Even if the organization spends millions on resources and employee engagement initiatives, the workers are less likely to achieve optimum results if the manager is not a team player.
As a result, a good manager can boost morale, motivate the employees to do their best work, serve as an ideal mentor, and present outstanding results. A team with a good manager will be more productive, less distracted, and display improved levels of teamwork. In short, they will be more active.
5. 80% of leaders who successfully managed disruptions felt that employee engagement and communication are highly critical to their success. (Source: MIT SMR)
Since 2020, disruptions had been the keyword that ruled every aspect of our lives- be it life or work. Leaders that successfully dealt with such disruptions effectively were able to keep their companies afloat during a global pandemic. Meanwhile, those companies who were unable to do so bore the brunt of the consequences.
Strong communication and employee engagement initiatives played a prominent part in those success stories. This is an excellent case study for leaders on how to deal with the majority of modern challenges that arise in the path of your company’s success.
A good communication and engagement plan achieves two goals. To begin with, it will facilitate the loyalty of your most valuable asset, your workforce. Secondly, it will ensure that communication between the organization and its staff is transparent and real-time, such that trust is built and that no critical information gets overlooked.
6. 72% of enterprises reported that their pace of digital transformation had sped up significantly due to the pandemic. (Source: Microsoft & The Economist Group)
It might seem that engaging remote employees is a complex, expensive, and time-consuming process. However, it does not have to be because of digitalization.
Since 2020, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) software and digitalization in HR has increased by leaps and bounds. With the help of these tools, it is now possible to implement global HR policies with little to no delay. As a result, managing and overseeing engagement, performance, and team output are less complicated than it was before.
With digitalization becoming the need of the hour rather than “something nice to have,” HR leaders must find and implement the right digital employee engagement tool that suits their organizational needs the best.
7. Research has shown that engagement and wellbeing are reciprocal, i.e., each influences the future state of the other. (Source: Gallup)
At the moment, health and safety are critical factors when creating the perfect employee experience. Employee health is something you can’t afford to overlook, no matter what industry you’re in.
Simply put, in 2021, employee engagement can only occur if employee health is prioritized.
When your people are mentally stable, happy, and physically healthy, they perform better at work. As a result, leaders should begin to identify employee wellbeing as being a key company core value.
8. Employees who felt their leaders treated them with respect were 63% more satisfied with their jobs, 55% more engaged, 58% more focused, and 110% more likely to stay with their organization. (Source: The Energy Project and Harvard Business Review)
According to SHRM based research:
A respectful treatment of all employees at all levels was rated as “very important” by 72% of employees in 2014, making it the top contributor to overall employee job satisfaction.
Downtrodden employees are unlikely to consider themselves as being happy. According to every current company’s ethos, every employee should be treated and addressed with respect at work.
During your corporate career, every person you meet or recruit will almost certainly play a role in your business development. Never make the mistake of believing that respect is only granted in exceptional circumstances. Respect for all, regardless of rank, race, or other factors, should be a prerequisite of your company culture.
9. Research on the Fresh Start effect suggests that recognizing your employees can be particularly impactful at key temporal landmarks. (Harvard Business Review)
This stat implies that rewarding and recognizing your employees at the end of a particularly difficult, complex, or successful piece of work is a great way to make them feel valued and appreciated.
Even if the project’s result was not what you wanted, but the employees’ efforts and time put in were consistent, it makes sense that their supervisor recognizes the hard work they have been putting in.
This will ensure that future projects are viewed positively rather than negatively by employees. Furthermore, they are more likely to go above and beyond in order to accomplish any potential projects.
Employee engagement will be more people-centric, digitalized, and wellness-focused in 2021 and beyond. HR and leaders who strive to restructure their strategies to meet the needs of today’s workers will see a more productive, happy, and engaged workforce as a result.
About the Author
Barasha Medhi is a part of the marketing team at Vantage Circle. Barasha can be found either searching for interesting HR buzzwords or new organizational innovations to write about.