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How Well Are Your Employees Engaged? 4 Non-Negotiables of Employee Engagement

employee engagement


The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently released a report (“Employee Job Satisfaction & Engagement,” 2015) that gave a unique perspective on challenges that companies and HR professionals will most likely need to consistently prioritize over the course of the next decade, if not right away.  Indeed, employee engagement in the U.S. has been steadily reflected at a mere one-third overall over the past four years, according to a 2015 Gallup survey of more than 80,000 professionals.

Oddly, even though 90 percent of today’s business leaders think that their bottom line is critically impacted by how well they engage their employees, only 25 percent actually follow through and take steps toward implementing some sort of strategy to address the issue.  These will be the leaders claiming that employee engagement is more important than the customer, because they understand that some business outcomes that are directly related to a company’s success (e.g. customer experience) are strongly tied to how well engaged employees are.

If you ever thought that a culture of well-engaged employees is “an HR problem,” consider that companies with a very engaged workforce experience a 19.2 percent growth in operating income over a 12-month period, compared with companies that don’t, that earn an operating income 32.7 percent lower.

1.  Make Employee Engagement Part of Your Company Culture

It’s not an event, or even for just periodic review or teambuilding exercises.  Employee engagement is all about relationship-building and inclusion, and the sooner you begin engaging your employees after they start working on the team, the better – get creative and begin by making their integration and training fun and engaging.

New members of your team who are brought into an engaged work environment will feel more  validated and comfortable with moving forward in an engaged company culture.

2. It’s not Just an HR Problem

One of the top factors considered to gauge employee job satisfaction according to the above SHRM report is directly related to the quality of the relationships between employees and management – aka, the better relationships that employees feel they have with managers and leaders in the company, the more they feel a sense of belonging and inclusion (engagement).

It behooves company leadership to invest the time to get to know each of their employees as individuals, as well as spouses’ and childrens’ names, as well as, to an appropriate degree, a bit about their personal lives.  You don’t have to be everyone’s best friend, but take an interest in the lives of those on your team.

  1. Trust and Empower Your Employees

Neither you nor your employees will ever know what they are capable of unless you loosen up on the reins frequently and give them the opportunity to take on more responsibility and get confident “doing difficult things.”  You should trust them more, and give them opportunities to learn to trust themselves and build their confidence.

Encourage them to take risks and stretch themselves, observe, and if they happen to fail, you’ll be there to help them resolve and bounce back.  Employees become intrigued and engaged when given room to explore and exercise their abilities more freely.

4. Let Employees Help Build Your Consensus, and Recognize Their Contributions

Get input from your team on common goals, and include them on the “on the same page” process – no hidden agendas.  Employees will be much more likely to get behind a vision they feel they helped build, rather than feeling they have to buy into contrived plans.

Afraid they’ll come up with something that is out of sync with your organization’s goals?  Help them see the “how” and “why,” and let them choose for themselves the importance of aligning with company goals as a guideline.

Remember, employee engagement is well worth the attention and sustained effort, and it’s returns don’t just come in terms of income.  Highly-engaged employees have been shown to experience the following:


  • 2x higher customer loyalty
  • 2x higher productivity
  • 2x lower turnover

In sharp contrast, one disengaged employee can cost your company as much as $3,400 for every $10,000 in annual salary.
Before focusing so much on employee performance, focus more on building a more employee-engaged culture.

How are you engaging your employees?  We’d love to hear about it – Drop us a line!

— Jonathan W. Crowell