Employee Engagement: It's a marathon, not a sprint

Tanya Pinto
Employee Engagement: It's a marathon, not a sprint

Employee engagement is beginning to gain the mileage it deserves in the corporate world, and rightly so. According to studies, engaged employees are more productive, motivated and stay longer with the company. However, the true relevance of employee engagement is often misunderstood, which causes even the most well-meaning employee engagement programmes to fail. As an manager, have you mastered employee engagement? It may be worth reading on to see if you’re right…

Employee engagement is the best way to boost business performance, but only if you’re doing it right. Too often, managers have an inadequate understanding of what employee engagement really is.The important truth is that employee engagement is not an isolated phenomenon. It is not all about tangible elements like better perks, free lunches or regular appraisals. Employee engagement goes hand in hand with a healthy workplace culture, motivating leadership and a strong sense of purpose. As illustrated in a study by Google, effective team performance was the result of an open and safe team culture, and setting clear goals. This clearly demonstrates that a high score on employee engagement surveys is a great achievement, but you need consciously maintain your company’s working culture. While this may seem like a daunting task, it actually is quite simple. Here are some useful pointers to understand employee engagement better:

Good survey feedback isn’t the pinnacle of achievement, just the beginning: Ran an employee engagement survey and scored superb ratings? Great. That means your journey has just begun. Employee engagement is not a static aspect. It is something that is constantly evolving and changing as your business progresses. So if you’ve scored well on employee engagement, it’s the best opportunity to identify what your company is doing right, in order to continue it. Additionally, to boost business growth, you need to make sure the engagement doesn’t dip!

Employee engagement is not just about the employee: This is an extremely crucial point. Employee engagement is not just about the employee, but the employer too. Too often it is assumed that being motivated and committed to the job is solely the employee’s responsibility. However, this is a misconception. Employee engagement can be boosted equally by an employer who makes the effort to improve employee motivation. Additionally, engagement is not just to improve employee productivity, but also improve the team’s overall performance. 

You want to improve engagement, not cause a burnout: You definitely want to have highly engaged and motivated employees at your company. However, it’s important to take a break once in a while. Allow your employees to take some time off work. This can range from simple email-free weekends to days off on holiday. The goal of employee engagement is to have productive, motivated employees -not create an army of workaholics. Even if they seem happy to do the work, pushing your brightest employees too hard may cause them to burn out.

Unhappy employees can teach you important truths about your company: Employee engagement surveys are really useful to understand how happy your employees are. However, don’t use the results as a sole opportunity to sack the unhappy ones. Often, unhappy employees could be important markers of how the company culture needs to improve. It would be worth understanding an unhappy employee’s point of view, and working to improve that particular aspect of the company. 

Employee engagement isn’t utopia, it is attainable: Often, employers go through with employee engagement programmes, but think of it more as an administrative requirement. They don’t really believe it is something that can be completely achieved. While it may seem like an impossible target to have happy, committed employees, it is actually an achievable reality. The first step to developing a strategy is using a survey app to understand how employees perceive their work and future with the company. 

The key takeaway is clear: employee engagement is highly important, but make sure you understand it right. While it’s great to have highly engaged employees, make sure you do your part as an employer. Create an open, winning workplace culture! It’s important to remember that achieving employee engagement is not a linear, one-time task. It is something that constantly evolves as the business progresses, which makes it essential to keep track of employee satisfaction on a real-time basis. 

Author - Tanya Pinto