Employee engagement is often confused with job satisfaction or happiness. However, they are not the same. Whereas job satisfaction would be an employee being content in their role, for example liking their boss or not minding the commute, employee engagement goes deeper than that.
Employee engagement is defined as “the level of an employee’s psychological investment in their organisation.” It involves employees saying positive things about their organisation, intending to stay with the organisation on a long-term basis, and being motivated to do their best to help the organisation succeed.
But how do employers achieve this? Ultimately, there are four main factors that should be worked towards in order to gain an engaged workforce.
Based on McLeod and Clarke’s research, the first driver for employee engagement is strong leadership, worded as ‘strategic narrative’. This is defined as “a strong, transparent and explicit organisational culture which gives employees a line of sight between their job and the vision and aims of the organisation”.
In other words, top level managers need to be on board with employee engagement, and have an overall plan in place so employees can meet the organisation’s goals. This means everyone is pulling in the right direction, and employee engagement won’t be seen as just a temporary project.
Line managers are the link between senior managers and employees, making their role highly important for employee engagement. They are defined as offering “clarity, appreciation of employees’ effort and contribution, who treat their people as individuals and who ensure that work is organised efficiently and effectively so that employees feel they are valued, and equipped and supported to do their job.”
Engaging managers should facilitate and empower rather than control or restrict their staff. Employees should be treated as individuals with fairness, respect and a concern for the employee’s wellbeing.
Employee voice exists when everyone in an organisation can be heard and have their views taken into account. Managers shouldn’t see employees as a collective that need to be dictated to, but as colleagues who will have opinions and ideas that can benefit the organisation as a whole.
There are several ways that organisations can give employees a voice. These include employee engagement surveys, one-to-one meetings, online forums for making suggestions, or solutions groups.
There has to be a clear link between the behaviour of leaders and the stated values of the organisation in order to build trust and show integrity. If there is a gap between the two, this creates distrust and disengagement. Leaders and managers should therefore ‘practice what they preach’.
Managers should be honest and evaluate whether or not they are doing this. Training will help line managers to lead in a way that is built on trust and respect, rather than micro-management and threat of punishment. Most of all, when employees use their voice to make suggestions, managers have to act on the feedback. Not following it up will make any employee engagement efforts just feel like ‘lip service’ and reduce levels of trust.
How can I achieve employee engagement?
Deminos can conduct an employee engagement survey with your workforce so you can find out the current levels of engagement within your business. You’ll then know what aspects of work your employees are feeling positive and negative about, so you can act to improve the areas that need attention.
Your dedicated advisor will explain how to promote the survey to your employees to ensure a high response rate. After the results come in, we’ll show you how they can be presented to employees to show you’re listening.
We will then design and introduce solutions based on the results to improve and sustain employee engagement on a long term basis.