The workplace is changing. Leaders, HR managers and employees frequently hear this declaration. The mindset of employees has shifted from simply going to work, putting in an eight-hour shift and heading home to focusing more on workplace happiness and work-life blend. Gone are the days of sitting mindlessly through a shift; employees now want to be engaged and included in the workplace.
Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to an organization and its goals. An emotional commitment means engaged employees care about their role at work and their company. They work to further the organization’s goals, mission, and vision; not just work for a paycheck.
According to a 2016 Gallup poll, only 33 percent of U.S. employees and 13 percent of employees worldwide were engaged — involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. Engagement also plays a key role in optimizing employee performance, ensuring that organizations are getting the most out of their teams.
What’s more, a Pew Research Center study shows that in today’s society, millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. Engaging this generation calls for new strategies. How does an organization keep its employees on task and engaged?
1. Open Communication
A 2015 survey by 15Five found that out of 1,000 full-time employees across the U.S., 81 percent would rather join a company that values “open communication” than one that offers perks. Only 15 percent of workers surveyed said their companies were doing a good job communicating to employees. Millennials in particular, who make up 36 percent of the workforce, want more consistent communication. The practice of quarterly or even yearly performance reviews is not enough for employees seeking communication from their managers. More frequent feedback and communication on online platforms, such as Slack, Yammer or Skype and email is key to keeping your employees engaged and on track to meet performance goals.
2. Employee Recognition
Employees want to end their workday knowing they contributed to the organization, did an excellent job and were appreciated. However, according to a Gallup poll, only one-third of people felt strongly that their efforts were appreciated or had received praise in the last seven days. Employees that hadn’t received any recognition in the last seven days were twice as likely to leave the company. Companies should incorporate employee-based recognition into their business culture and reward employees more frequently.
Successful companies use both monetary and non-monetary based programs to reward employees for their hard work and efforts. Examples of employee recognition programs include Fond and Kudos. These platforms recognize and engage employees through features like peer-to-peer recognition, service award, spot bonuses and more based on criteria chosen by the organization.
3. Work-Life Blend
Employees today are looking for meaningful work that fits with their goals, more than a larger paycheck or perks. With employees electronically connected to the workplace 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in the office and out, work-life blend can be a challenge. Employers that are successful at keeping their employees engaged embrace the idea that work can happen anywhere and at any time. That means abandoning the 9-5, Monday through Friday working requirements.
Good employers set up the expectations around working hours ahead of time. They also give employees the freedom to manage their time. Some organization may also offer work from home or other flexible scheduling opportunities.