Last month we shared our whitepaper on The Benefits of Engaged Employees : a compilation of research to show that having highly engaged employees leads to greater company profits, higher customer satisfaction, better health and safety outcomes and more creative and driven employees.
This week we ask a follow up question – How do we actually engage employees?
Still Feeling Happy and Satisfied
I have been in my current role at Business Development Company for a little over a year now. According to Gallup’s research, I should be less happy and less engaged in my role now than a year ago. Gallup states that 52% of employees feel engaged in the first six months, and only 44% feel engaged after 6 months. This then stagnates for the next 2.5 years – not a great outlook considering many employees have been in the same role for a lot longer than 2.5 years.
If I consider the reasons why I still feel engaged, I can quite easily list them:
- my role has developed to include more of my interests and strengths
- I have a greater involvement in decisions at a company level with more responsibilities
- the work I do makes a real and lasting different to others
- I feel recognised and appreciated for the work I do
- I am building relationships with more people.
When researching Frederick Herzberg’s theory, many of the factors above are mentioned. It is no wonder that I am still feeling engaged after one year in my role.
Frederick Herzberg’s Theory
Think of a time when you felt especially good or especially bad about your job. Why did you feel that way? Frederick Herzberg posed this question while conducting his research in the late 1950’s, and used the answers to form his theory on motivation.
Herzberg developed two categories determining what employees need to feel engaged in their work. These are ‘motivation factors’ and the ‘hygiene factors’. Motivation factors instil satisfaction by fulfilling the need for creating meaning and personal growth and can only be achieved if the hygiene factors are met first. The diagram below demonstrates:
How to Actually Engage Employees – A Practical List
Herzberg’s factors are outlined below.
- Company and Administrative Policies – decrease dissatisfaction by making sure policies are fair, apply equally to all and are easily accessible.
- Supervision – appointing a supervisor should be done with care – they are leaders and need to have the skills to handle effective communication and conflicts.
- Salary – employees wish to be paid fairly and at the market rate. Have clear policies related to salaries, raises and bonuses.
- Interpersonal Relations – employees value social contact and camaraderie. Ensure there is no rudeness, inappropriate behavior and offensive comments.
- Environmental/Working Conditions – keep equipment and facilities up-to-date and clean. Have basic things working and available – printers, stationary, heat pumps, etc. Allow for personal space.
- Recognition – Individuals at all levels of the organization want to be recognized for their achievements – not just task-based recognition, but inspirational leadership achievements too. Even small achievements are worth recognising, but all must be sincere.
- The Work Itself – employees are more engaged when they know the work they are doing is important and that their tasks are meaningful. Talk about your company’s impact on the community, not just its financial results.
- Achievement – Understand that employees want to do a good job. To help them, make sure you’ve placed them in positions that use their skills. Set clear, achievable goals and standards for each position.
- Responsibility – Employees will be more motivated to do their jobs well if they have ownership of their work. This requires giving employees enough freedom and power to carry out their tasks so that they feel they “own” the result.
- Advancement – Reward loyalty and performance with advancement within the company.
I’d like to add a few more – Inspire, Empower and Believe
- Inspire – be a genuine leader in all you do – maintain your company’s reputation and demonstrate high ethical standards. Your employees want to be proud of their jobs, their performance, and their organisation. Share your success to build their momentum.
- Empower – be consistent and have your employees backs. Rather than micromanaging, empower your employees to discover their potential. Give and seek feedback – focus on strengths when giving feedback and implement change when asking for feedback. Encourage employees to share their ideas – no matter how crazy. Have a brainstorming session when an issue arises. Give employees some control over the flow and pace of their jobs – listen to their needs and try to accommodate. Offer training for professional development and to exceed in their role.
- Believe – Look for the most positive capabilities in people.
How many of the above factors can you tick off? Would your colleagues feel the same about their roles?
Post your thoughts below, and start the conversation!
Written by Chantell Bramley.
Want more? Check out this amazing UK video on an employee’s take on employee engagement:
http://www.globoforce.com (Gallup statistics)