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Your complete guide to improving employee engagement

Thanks to modern technology, numerous tools and applications exist to help your teams connect and build working relationships

By the team at Slack2nd July 2022

Employee engagement impacts nearly every aspect of your business, from profitability and revenue to customer experience and company culture. A recent study by Harvard Business Review found that a whopping 92% of business executives think engaged employees perform better overall in the workplace. The same study found 56% of respondents have achieved positive ROI from dedicating resources to employee engagement.

So what can you do to improve your employee engagement? Our guide is here to help.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement measures how employees feel about their organization, their teams and the work they do. According to Quantum Workplace, there are four core levels of employee engagement:

  1. Highly engaged. These employees are company advocates who feel incredibly connected to their work. They intend to stay with you long term and are not a turnover risk.
  2. Moderately engaged. These employees like what they do but see opportunities for improvement. Something is holding them back from being fully engaged. They are at low risk for turnover but could still be swayed to leave your company for a different opportunity.
  3. Barely engaged. These employees feel indifferent toward your company and do the bare minimum that their job requires. They are at high risk for turnover.
  4. Disengaged. These employees have a negative opinion of your company and feel disconnected from its goals, mission and values. They are at the highest risk for turnover, but more importantly, their negative feelings about your company could spread to other coworkers and influence their opinions.
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Why employee engagement is more relevant than ever

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, some professionals are quitting or even retiring from their jobs if flexible work options like remote or hybrid schedules don’t continue. This trend of professionals leaving their current roles for other opportunities or exiting the workforce all together has been dubbed the “Great Resignation.” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate at which people are quitting their jobs in 2021 was the highest it’s been in 20 years.

How does employee engagement come into play? Companies with higher levels of employee engagement tend to see lower employee turnover rates. It makes sense: if an employee is satisfied with their leadership team, job role and coworkers, and feels aligned with the company culture and mission, why look elsewhere?

How employee engagement can impact your business

Besides reducing costly churn and keeping top talent from defecting to the competition, there are numerous other ways employee engagement can impact your business.

Better customer experience. Engaged employees are motivated and passionate, which shines through to your customers. In a 2021 Harvard Business Review study, 72% of executives strongly agreed that companies with highly engaged employees have happier customers. Improving your customer experience and driving higher customer satisfaction scores results in more revenue to your business and helps retain existing customers long term.

Reduced absenteeism. Engaged employees are less likely to miss work. A 2017 study by Gallup found that highly engaged workplaces saw 41% lower absenteeism rates. Plus, highly engaged employees are more present and productive when they are at work. The same study reported they are 17% more productive than their less engaged coworkers.

Increased profits. When employees are more present and productive, profits go up. Highly engaged employees can produce both a higher quantity and quality of work. Companies that report high levels of employee engagement are 21% more profitable on average.

More innovation. Engaged employees perform at a higher level overall and have a sense of ownership about their work. Passion and motivation lead to innovation. Innovation can help improve internal processes while keeping your business at the industry forefront, offering the best products and services to customers.

Best practices for improving employee engagement

Now that it’s clear how crucial employee engagement is, what can you do to improve yours? Here are some best practices for prioritizing employee engagement in your organization.

Empower teams with the right collaboration tools. One of the easiest ways to improve employee engagement is to provide your employees with relevant collaboration tools. Tools like Slack create an open line of real-time communication between coworkers and leaders. When your team has reliable access to a convenient, all-in-one communication hub, it’s easier to brainstorm, build rapport and stay aligned on projects.

Give feedback. The amount of feedback given to employees directly influences their engagement. A 2018 study by The Predictive Index found that even managers who give their direct reports too much feedback are rated higher by their team than those who don’t provide enough. Employees need regular one-on-one check-ins with their direct managers. Teams should have regular review sessions to gauge ongoing initiatives and get a pulse for employee engagement and morale. This helps to proactively identify problems rather than waiting for something to go wrong.

Recognize employees for a job well done. Shouting out an employee who’s gone above and beyond on an assignment or modeled one of your core values makes them feel appreciated and, in turn, more engaged.

A 2019 survey conducted by Bonusly found that 84% of highly engaged employees were recognized the last time they went the extra mile at work, compared with only 25% of disengaged employees. Slack makes it easy to acknowledge and even reward your employees directly through the platform. You can create channels dedicated to such messages, like #kudos or #teamwins. You can even integrate your Slack workspace with a Bonusly or Disco account to give employees perks when they hit specific goals or get a shoutout.

Be transparent. Being transparent about your company goals, mission and values is critical for boosting employee engagement. Employees need to have an awareness and understanding of these things to believe in them and carry them out day-to-day. A Harvard Business Review study found that 70% of workers report being more engaged in their job when they feel senior management is communicating openly with them.

Prioritize work-life balance. A recent survey by Deloitte uncovered that 77% of professionals have experienced employee burnout in their roles. When employees are burnt out, it’s nearly impossible to be motivated and engaged. Offering a quiet space in the office for meditation, providing a workplace wellness plan, allowing remote work and regularly checking in with your employees about their workload and stress levels can all help here.

How to measure employee engagement

One way of measuring your employee engagement levels and how you can improve them is to conduct employee engagement surveys. Use a combination of both open and closed questions to get quantitative and qualitative data, which can give you valuable insight into what you can do to make your people feel more engaged on the job.

Additionally, identifying trends in your employees’ absence and turnover rates can help you get a pulse of your employee engagement. Businesses should aim for an annual employee turnover rate of 10% or less, so if you’re finding your rates are way above this average, it could be a sign that your employee engagement strategy needs improvement.

Boost employee engagement with Slack

Thanks to modern technology, numerous tools and applications exist to help your teams connect and build working relationships. That goes a long way toward motivating and engaging employees. Automating and fostering that engagement with collaboration platforms like Slack makes it easier to translate effective employees into profit.

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