The Year in Employee Engagement

By on December 11, 2019

For me, 2019 will be the year that employee engagement became a true “buzzword” in our industry. (Many reading this will remember when this happened to the term “employer branding” about a decade ago). Even if the term employee engagement is misunderstood or poorly defined, I think it’s a good thing that companies are putting a more authentic, measured focus on engagement. Smart organizations are seeing the positive business impacts of employee engagement–as well as the negative consequences of poor engagement, and it’s something we at CKR are passionate about. So much so, we’ve written several blog posts about it this year. I’d like to share with you what I found to be the most valuable excerpts and insights regarding employee engagement from 2019.

The Difference Between Employee Engagement and Employee Satisfaction

Before we talk about what employee engagement is, let’s talk about what it isn’t:

  • Employee engagement is NOT employee happiness
  • Employee engagement is NOT employee satisfaction
  • Employee engagement is not the new office ping pong table, Bagel Monday, or a 20% increase in sign-ups for the company softball team (though those things can be fun and good for morale)

So what is it? I really like this definition from Forbes: “Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.” This doesn’t mean that the employee loves every (or even most) aspects of their job. What it does mean is that the employee cares. And if they care, they will use discretionary effort. Employee engagement also means your organization’s ability to balance your employees’ needs with your business needs. You have an opportunity to directly impact your organization’s success through your willingness to enhance your employment experience.

Employee engagement across the employee life cycle:

Organizations pay a lot of attention to attracting and recruiting top talent, but if they aren’t paying attention to retaining talent then they will forever be attracting and recruiting. To improve the employee experience, organizations need to look at the whole employee lifecycle and pay attention to all of the stages in order to not only retain, but also engage their employees across the entire spectrum of:

  • Attraction.
  • Recruitment.
  • Onboarding.
  • Development.
  • Retention.
  • Transition.

Employee engagement and creating a sense of belonging:

Tips you can use today:

  • Give recognition for accomplishments.
  • Provide a safe place for employees to voice opinions.
  • Create an environment where employees feel comfortable being themselves at work.
  • Keep employees informed about company information.
  • Make employees feel like they matter as a person and not just as an employee.

Employee engagement: how your company culture should match your employer brand:

Yes, your company culture will definitely impact your employer brand. If you ignore your culture, your employer brand will inherently be bland. I struggled for quite some time on an analogy, so when in doubt, go with dessert. Ice Cream – there are infinite flavors, even the “boring” ones have a flavor. Hello, vanilla, I see you. But if there wasn’t any flavor it’d be just milk or just ice. People love vanilla —you don’t need to be an artisanal, locally-sourced, salted caramel to have curb appeal. You just need flavor. People who like your flavor will flock if you promote and describe it properly. (If you don’t get it by now, your culture is the flavor). It’s the only thing that makes your employer brand unique to you.

From all us at CKR, here’s wishing you a happy holiday season and make 2020 a great year of employee engagement!

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