What is employee engagement or employee satisfaction?
Employee engagement is a set of emotional bonds that employees establish with their company, and these bonds affect their level of commitment, passion and loyalty with their own work and their companies. A high level of engagement makes employees to give the best of them at work and it results in high levels of motivation and involvement in the companies’ projects. A great example of this are employees who come to work happy and eager to carry out their tasks because they enjoy what they do and because they know that their efforts are valued by their team. Besides, satisfied employees are proud to belong to their company, so consequently they become great brand ambassadors.
Evidence shows that employee engagement has a direct effect on the income results of companies. Results increase, especially in sales departments, when employee engagement is high. In the same way, employee job dissatisfaction may cause major losses. According to a study carried out by Gallup Consulting, the costs caused by absenteeism, leaves by burn out and accidents at work cost the U.S. economy were between 450 and 550 billion dollars in 2017. This is the reason why it is essential that companies value the well-being of their employees and take into account the elements that can favour employee engagement in the development of their internal dynamics.
What factors help to increase employee engagement?
1. Sharing values with the company
Companies in which workers feel more involved and emotionally engaged are those which employees can share values with. An environmentally sustainable company, fair to customers and suppliers, and respectful with its employees will achieve higher levels of professional involvement and satisfaction than another company whose sole objective is only to increase profits at any cost. Employees have to share the mission and vision of their company and their course of action. Therefore, emotional identification with the company and pride of belonging have a key role in employee engagement. It is essential that companies integrate clear and authentic values in their DNA and, above all, that they act accordingly.
2. Having clear goals
Employees who achieve their goals are more involved in their companies than those who fail to do so. However, in many cases, the problem is that employees do not know exactly what the goals that they have to achieve are. Employee professional satisfaction entails understanding their own role in the organization as a whole and feeling that every effort made goes in a specific direction and is seen and valued by their environment. In order to do this, individual and companies’ goals must be very clear, and constant feedback must be provided. In this way, there are professional strategies that can help to establish achievable goals in the short term, but it is also possible to set monthly, quarterly or annual targets, so employees will always be aware of their goals. It is also important to set specific goals for each department.
3. Receiving continuous training
Offering training to employees is an excellent investment for companies because this generates benefits such as:
- Increase in the quality and productivity of the employees’ work since they can apply the acquired knowledge to their professional activity, which has a positive impact on the company;
- The interest of a company in promoting the personal and professional development of employees is shown;
- Employees’ commitment with the company is increased, as they feel valued and well cared of by their company;
- Improvement of talent retention, since training acts as a continuity incentive for professionals.
4. Having time flexibility
Time flexibility is one of the most appreciated benefits by employees nowadays. Most employees (and not only those who have kids) appreciate having freedom to manage their own work schedule and, consequently, maintain a healthy balance between professional and personal life. By adapting the in and out times and by working remotely one day per week, employees increase their ability to optimize personal time, so they feel more satisfied, which improves their productivity and their involvement with the brand.
5. Earning and appropriate salary
Wage is one of the primary motivations when people choose jobs. Therefore, it is essential that the salary is adequate to the required degree of responsibility. This will attract and retain the best talent and will make employees feel satisfied with the company. In this sense, it is positive for the employee engagement to have a transparent and fair salary policy that allows employees to know the different salaries associated with the different positions and the requirements to apply to each of them. This way, employees can set specific goals and strive to achieve them, knowing in advance the requirements they must meet.
6. Having freedom and autonomy
When supervisors restrict the decision-making capacity of their teams, they are not only damaging their motivation but also their productivity. Employees do not feel comfortable when their boss is watching them every minute and supervising all the time what they are doing. But, above all, nobody feels motivated or satisfied when working in a company that does not trust their employees’ criteria or does not give them chances to solve problems individually. Therefore, it is essential that teams are provided with freedom and autonomy. When employees are encouraged to make their own decisions within the company’s protocols, they feel more confident and more valued by their company.
7. Feeling part of the team
Numerous studies have shown that having friends at work increases professional commitment and motivation. We all work better if we feel happy in the professional environment around us. For this reason, it is recommended that companies pay attention to the interpersonal relationships of their employees and try to favour them by generating informal leisure spaces. A good way to achieve this could be organising group gatherings or activities to share leisure time, such as meals, contests or competitions.
In the same way, it is important to enhance employee participation in the company itself and encourage them to feel an important part of it. Creating two-way communication channels where employee proposals are valued and heard is as relevant as making them part of the organization’s decisions so they can feel they are considered by the company.
8. Receiving recognition and feedback
Feeling that one’s own work is valued by the company is essential for the employee engagement. Employees need to receive feedback, either to celebrate their success or to improve their results from a constructive perspective. Employees who receive recognition and attention from their direct and indirect supervisors feel more motivated and committed to the brand. It is not just about congratulating good results or thanking extra efforts: things as simple as saying “good morning” to employees can make a difference. For the same reason, employees who perceive that their work is invisible not only tend to lose motivation, but they are also more likely to quit their job.
How to measure employee satisfaction
Although it can seem an abstract concept, employee engagement can be measured and quantified. There are different assessment models, although the most used are individual surveys or one-to-one interviews between managers and employees. In both cases, the objective is to quantify employee engagement according to standardized criteria, such as their professional strength (energy level and mental resilience at work), their dedication (reflected by notions such as relevance, enthusiasm, pride or challenge) or their concentration level and perception that time goes by quickly when performing tasks.
Do not miss our article “How to develop a successful employee motivation strategy” to find out more about other specific tests to assess the motivation degree of your employees.
For example, Gallup Consulting measures employee engagement by asking employees to value numerically different aspects such as the clarity which they know their objectives with; the attention that their company pays to their opinions; if they have the necessary materials to perform their tasks; the importance that the mission of the company has for them; the quality of work and the commitment with the team which they are part of; personal relationships with supervisors and colleagues; the recognition and the compliments received, and the perception of growth opportunities and development in their professional career.
The benefits of having satisfied (and aligned) employees
Motivated employees are more productive, active and more committed to the brand. This has a direct impact on customer satisfaction and, of course, on the income statement. The improvement of employee engagement is also the source of other positive consequences:
- Increase of innovation. Motivated employees are more proactive and suggest new ideas and strategies which benefit their companies.
- Reduction of work absenteeism.
- Increase of customer loyalty. They can even double their purchases and recommendations thanks to the attention of motivated and committed employees to the brand.
- Reduction of staff turnover and talent retention improvement.
Gamification for sales and employee engagement
Gamification is an excellent tool to increase employee engagement because it combines many of the elements that influence its development. Through gamification, players can clearly check their short-term goals and objectives, receive regular feedback and obtain public recognition for their achievements, as well as rewards. By turning ordinary work tasks into a competition and adding leisure features thanks to storytelling, employees can not only enjoy an informal space of interaction with their colleagues to strengthen their ties, but they also perceive the interest of their company in their well-being. These benefits are especially relevant for sales teams because sellers often have to face their daily tasks without interacting with their colleagues. However, through a gamification app, they can share their evolution so their feeling of belonging to the team is increased.
In Playmotiv we develop gamification dynamics to improve sales results and employee productivity. But we primarily make our players perceive their ordinary work as a challenge and a great motivating adventure. This is the best formula to increase professional engagement for Playmotiv.