If there’s one thing the Great Resignation showed us, it’s the value of engaging and retaining employees. According to a 2021 study from Gallup, only 36% of U.S. employees feel engaged at work while 12% feel actively disengaged. The rest regularly cite poor management and miserable work experiences as the reasons for their unhappiness.
This makes employee engagement not just an important focus for companies across the world, but also a requirement for keeping workplace morale and productivity high. In this article, we’ll discuss how employee engagement impacts three key areas of business, and how you can improve it by making your workers feel appreciated.
When workers feel like they’re valued and that their work has a purpose, they’re more likely to stay with a company long term.
Additionally, loyal employees tend to be more productive overall. Consider the airline industry where productivity is measured through customer satisfaction. Industry leader Southwest Airlines makes employee engagement a cornerstone of its work culture, and currently ranks among Forbes’ Best Employers in America. It also has the highest overall customer satisfaction rating of any North American airline. Its emphasis on employee engagement creates a ripple effect where workers remain loyal and, in turn, provide an unmatched customer experience.
In short, loyal employees who have a strong emotional commitment to their business are enthusiastic about its product and services. They’re more productive and willing to go the extra mile to keep customers satisfied.
How your employees feel about their work will directly impact how they treat your customers. Customers are the lifeblood of your business. Your reputation relies on how they feel about your company, and customer service is a critical component of it. In fact, customers are another key component of answering the big question: Why is employee engagement important?
Ideally, your team will turn customers into brand advocates—people willing to spread positive word of mouth about you. But they can’t do that if they aren’t providing the best customer service possible. If you want your company to provide excellent customer service, you need to have engaged employees who are ready and willing to go the extra mile.
Engaged workers are more likely to take care of customers and build positive relationships with them. On the other hand, disengaged employees are more likely to provide poor customer service in comparison, according to Forbes. Simply put, happy employees make for happy customers.
When team members feel like they’re a part of something larger, they’re more likely to participate in company initiatives that drive value. Common examples include:
These company initiatives are the internal campaigns within your organization that seek to improve your work environment, company culture, or overall strategy. Company initiatives vary in scope and mission but could mean anything from participating in workplace wellness programs to taking on leadership roles.
Wellness initiatives in particular create opportunities for workplaces to reward their employees for making healthy changes in their day-to-day lives. When those changes are enacted, workers can accumulate points over time and redeem them to earn rewards, such as merchandise, cash incentives, or gift cards. But because wellness means different things to different people, it’s important to remain flexible and provide employees with different reward options including work anniversary gifts, to ensure that they feel appreciated and motivated. A program that offers fitness-themed gift cards from top brands, for example, can cover both bases at once.
Making your workers feel appreciated goes a long way toward reducing employee turnover and improving workplace morale. And you can achieve both by implementing a solid employee recognition rewards program. The more visible your token of appreciation is, the better. Here are five key aspects to consider when creating a rewards program:
Buy-in: No reward program can take off without leadership buy-in. It’s vital to clearly outline the goal of the rewards program to help leaders understand the return on investment.
Parameters: Parameters are defined by thoroughly reviewing company goals. An enterprise that wants to boost retention and engagement, for example, may take a different approach than one that’s strictly focusing on wellness. The goal will help the business define all involved parties, triggers for rewards, budget, and other key technical details.
Reporting: Reporting needs to be in place before a program is rolled out to collect the right, actionable data. Creating a report template with predefined fields such as the reward sender, receiver, the amount, and the reason for the award will make data analysis much easier later on.
Communication: Of course, it’s not possible to get an incentive program off the ground without actual participants. Consistent and clear communication will help drive participation.
Monitoring: While occurrences are rare, it’s still important to monitor these programs for misuse. The program should be watched closely to identify any red flags, including rewards given without a reason listed, or given exclusively to the same employees.
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