Even in a tight economy, good companies want to retain good employees. Increasing employee engagement is an important method that companies use to ensure loyalty and tenure. There are a number of things that organizations have found to be effective in terms of employee engagement. The good news is that most of these things have little to do with pay and a lot to do with communication, feedback and opportunities for involvement.
Connection Between Supervisor and Employees
The connection between direct supervisors and the employees they manage is critical in terms of engagement, according to long-standing Gallup research. When respondents were asked to respond to the statement: "My supervisors focused on my strengths or positive characteristics," only 4 percent of "actively disengaged" employees agreed, 23 percent of not-engaged employees agreed and a whopping 77 percent of engaged employees agreed. Gallup's research further indicates that the vast majority (86 percent) of engaged employees say that their interactions with coworkers were either always or mostly positive.
Clearly communication matters when it comes to employee engagement. Engagement does, after all, suggest a connection or bond between employees and the organizations they work for. Supervisors who communicate effectively with their employees -- by providing a clear indication of expectations and feedback about if those expectations are being met, along with positive or constructive feedback -- build engagement and boost satisfaction. Even in settings where workers may be remote (e.g. global organizations or telecommuting types of positions), maintaining communication through alternative channels (email, videoconferencing, etc.) can help to maintain a connection between employees, their supervisors and managers and their peers.
A Sense of Contribution
Employees need to have a clear line of sight between the work that they do and the outcomes the organization achieves. In short, they need a sense that their efforts make a difference. Organizations can provide this connection by making it clear to employees how their work, and the work of the departments or divisions they work with, contribute to the overall organization's strategic plan and outcomes. A cascading process for the implementation of work plans that starts at the top of the organization and trickles down to the front lines can provide alignment and a sense of connection.
Opportunities for Feedback
Engagement is aided through the ability for employees to share their ideas, opinions and perspectives with the companies they work for. This can occur during one-on-one conversations with supervisors and managers as well as through channels such as the traditional suggestion box or electronic communication tools such as a company intranet, blogs or internal social media sites. In addition to the ability to share their insights and perspectives, follow-up is important -- whether or not the suggestions are able to be implemented.