Are Your Employees Feeling the Love?
With Valentine's Day and Employee Appreciation Day around the corner on March 2nd, it's a good reminder to check in on your employee engagement. Not only is an engaged culture more fun to work in, creating a culture that embodies happiness and satisfaction just makes cents! (Pun-intended.) Effective human capital practices can and will, lead to positive financial outcomes.
Studies upon studies have linked engagement and satisfaction to productivity, performance and customer satisfaction. Harvard Business Review's analysis concluded that when employees are happy or satisfied they were 31% more productive and the organizations had 37% higher sales. Gallup's research found "work units in the top quartile in employee engagement outperformed bottom-quartile units by 10% on customer ratings, 22% in profitability, and 21% in productivity. Work units in the top quartile also saw significantly lower turnover (25% in high-turnover organizations, 65% in low-turnover organizations), shrinkage (28%), and absenteeism (37%) and fewer safety incidents (48%), patient safety incidents (41%), and quality defects (41%)."
How Is Your Employee Engagement Measuring Up?
Evidence shows it's pretty clear that engagement and satisfaction drive business growth. Do you know how it's impacting your organization in particular? What Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) do you have in place to measure the impact of your people practices?
If you don't have an employee engagement survey tool today, it may be something you want to consider implementing this year to track your progress. Many of our clients at Helios first started obtaining HR metrics by doing their surveys in-house, and over the years have transitioned to more sophisticated tools to compare their results by department, by manager, and their industry peers. What's most important once you have the employee engagement survey data, is to analyze what's working, what needs work and develop an action plan that is aligned with your business goals. We recommend quarterly or bi-annual pulse checks with our engagement survey so that clients aren't waiting the full year to see the progress and stay on track with their plan.
An engagement survey is one way to measure the impact, however, there are other ways to check in on how you're doing. For instance, Inc.com columnist, Samuel Edwards highlights the following attributes of happiness and satisfaction on productivity which are easily measurable:
- Drive to succeed
- Willingness to refer
- Increased dedication
If you're not already tracking turnover and retention, start. As Edwards suggests, "when an employee finally finds a job that makes them happy, they want to hang onto it." You will also notice a correlation with satisfaction if employees readily make referrals for new business and potential hires and higher levels of dedication because they care about the company, their individual impact, and feel aligned with the purpose. And Dan Pink’s book DRIVE tells us that mastery, autonomy and purpose are the key drivers of employee motivation. On that note, your organization should have department goals that are tied back to individual performance goals, and the capability to measure the efficiency of projects and tasks completed so that you have an understanding of those productivity metrics too. The Corporate Executive Board compiled research on the topic and found that "satisfaction may be viewed as a passive attribute, while more
proactive measures such as motivation levels and brand engagement are viewed as more closely linked to behavioral change, performance, and, ultimately, to bottom-line performance."
It all ties together, folks. Starting from the core values and behaviors you set for your culture, the people you attract and hire, how you grow, develop and manage your team, and aligning your practices to achieve your business goals. Your human capital practices must be intentional, consistent, be driven from the top... and constantly measured. So now's the time to start tracking your current state (if you aren't already) and identifying where you want your engagement to be six or twelve months from now.
There are simple practices you can do every day to increase job satisfaction, engagement, and motivation for your employees:
- Communicate openly and frequently
- Listen to your employees and give them the opportunity to solve challenges
- Know your team's personal and professional goals and think about how you can support them in their development
- Recognize when to give feedback and do it in the spirit of caring
- Celebrate success -whether as a team or individually, there are countless ways to recognize and reward
For more tips on strategic recognition programs and the impact they have on employee empowerment, performance and tenure, continue reading another article we wrote here.