In the business world, your customers are gold. However, have you ever stepped back to think about the people who serve those customers.
In truth, no business can operate if the employees aren’t doing what they’re supposed to. With that said, there’s a big difference between engaged and disengaged employees. Engaged employees will perform at their heights and work to make your company money. Disengaged employees might show up when they’re supposed to, but they’re certainly not going to go above and beyond to make sure your company has what it needs to thrive.
Unfortunately, most companies don’t grasp the importance of employee engagement as it relates to their bottom lines. In fact, in a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, the company found that there’s a clear and substantial link between employees and revenue. In fact, if the average study respondent was able to transition from the bottom quartile to the top quartile in all of the employee experience metrics that were studied, their revenues would increase by more than 50%, with their profits following shortly after. The data also shows how a simple data-driven people management strategy could produce a 10-year ROI greater than 80%.
The truth is, highly engaged employees fuel business outcomes. According to Gallup, employees who are engaged help their business units achieve a 10% difference in customer ratings and an 18% difference in sales. Beyond this, the presence and productiveness of engaged employees results in a 23% difference in profitability. On the other hand, disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism, 18% lower productivity, and 15% lower profitability. They’re also more prone to leave, causing employers to deal with the high costs of turnover.
It’s not uncommon for companies to miss opportunities when it comes to increasing engagement levels in their organizations. They often fail to see how their everyday practices can actually cause disengagement. Instead, they rely on their HR teams to do all the heavy lifting. Although HR does play a vital role, those team members alone cannot drive widescale engagement.
Fortunately, companies can reverse this problem and reap the rewards of a highly engaged workforce. The first step is to take a long hard look at corporate and team initiatives, then strategize to continually improve the employee experience and workplace culture. Surveys, focus groups, interviews, and greater access to resources and leadership can greatly alleviate employee frustration.
The power of modern technology is here to help. Today’s cloud-based ERP solutions can connect employees with real-time, on-demand data and processes. With this in mind, let’s explore eight proven strategies that can help you improve your organization’s employee engagement levels.
1) Get Back to Basics
The pandemic triggered significant turmoil in the business world, bringing with it a lot of uncertainties. A lot of workers feared for their own personal safety while simultaneously being tasked to deal with mounting personal and professional pressures.
As new business models appeared, and the Great Resignation got fully underway, workplace uncertainties were exacerbated.
Technology was able to help companies navigate unchartered waters by connecting workers to their colleagues and assignments. However, it didn’t always make life easier. Disparate systems continued, forcing employees to navigate numerous applications simultaneously with restricted workflow visibility. At the same time, companies struggled to connect with their workers. As a result, engagement plummeted and turnover increased.
Your company must monitor the effect of fluctuating working conditions and create an engagement strategy that emphasizes the following core principles:
- A sense of purpose
- Empathy and support from leadership
- Open, ongoing communication
- Professional development and career planning
If you want to have a solid business system, your organization should fundamentally look for ways to make it easier for people to do the right thing and harder for them to do the wrong thing. Recognition and rewards go a long way in building engagement.
2) Share Responsibility
Don’t leave your HR team to be the sole answerers of employee engagement issues. This is a legacy approach that neglects the fundamental engagement principles, and it will cause you to fall behind your competition if you follow this method.
Strong engagement flows from the top, relying on supportive relationships with leaders. As such, your company needs to distribute the responsibility throughout the organization. Companies succeed when they give managers the power to change quickly when business conditions dictate pivots are necessary. Senior leaders should always be modeling their mission and values and encouraging their direct reports to do the same. Individual contributors must also be encouraged to be responsible for their own happiness, communicating their needs and seeking to derive purpose from their roles.
Acumatica’s world-class cloud and mobile ERP system can help you give leaders, managers, and staff members the real-time information they need to pursue their passions and live up to the missions, visions, and values of their organizations.
3) Clearly Define Shared Mission and Objectives
Speaking of mission and vision, is your company clearly communicating company progress, goals, and missions? This is imperative to the success of an employee engagement strategy.
It’s important to realize how remote work can change the workplace besides workers simply not being at their physical desks in the office. For instance, remote work can cause employees to feel isolated or confused about certain interactions. Virtual meetings, for example, are a prime place for missed or misinterpreted nonverbal cues. Meanwhile, a lack of impromptu conversations between teammates can perpetuate misunderstandings.
Senior leaders need to craft and convey messages that resonate with the individuals within their organizations. However, before they can create visions and set milestones, each team must be given a voice and learn how their roles are viewed within the organization. Consider using storytelling and analogies to share your passions and connect the dots with workers in your organization. Utilize technology to distribute and reinforce these messages.
Acumatica’s cloud-based ERP system puts the power of clear, multi-channel communication right in your hands by integrating diverse business and collaboration applications in a single, unified platform.
4) Promote and Personalize Flexibility
Today’s workers not only expects flexibility at the job—they demand it. Whether they’re evaluating companies to apply to, or deciding if they want to stay at their existing companies, flexibility ranks at the top of the charts. Some workers claim they would even sacrifice a percentage of their pay if they had more flexible working options. This means flexibility should be worked into your employee engagement plans, whether you’re allowing for adjustments to schedules to accommodate childcare or promoting development opportunities.
Your organization should also evaluate remote workers’ conditions, ensuring they’re being set up for success. It’s important not to assume everyone has the same access to equipment and workstations. Lean on technology to enable flexibility. As an example, Acumatica’s users have the same access to information on PC and mobile, and the ERP automatically opens to the last task a user performed. You can use this platform to build inclusive teams and improve your culture with training and development materials that are accessible to everyone in your organization
When you put flexibility at the forefront of your strategy, you’ll soon realize that you’re attracting and retaining top talent.
5) Foster Collaboration, Communication, and a Team Culture
Collaboration is a powerful tool that can boost engagement and resolve issues. The problem is, companies often thwart collaboration when projects are handed out in a vacuum and the success of those endeavors is measured without any request for feedback. To foster collaboration, your organization must be founded on empathy and open communication.
Consider these elements as you build your employee engagement strategy:
- Practice two-way communication and give every employee a voice
- Recognize and leverage each individual’s strengths
- Automate manual processes and workflows so staff can concentrate on strategic tasks
- Leverage tools that facilitate communication
- Centralize key information and provide real-time access to this data
- Promote transparency as a way of unifying employees’ efforts and make sure they’re looped in on strategic objectives
Acumatica’s ERP is founded on the idea that collaboration and connectivity make everything easier for everyone on the team, offering end-to-end views of real-time data. Additionally, users can visualize project data with integrated workflows and leverage automation to remove error-prone manual tasks.
6) Clarify Expectations
You can’t expect success if your staff doesn’t have clear expectations set before them. They’ll make false assumptions, which can lead to frustration that will ultimately hurt productivity.
Senior leadership needs to find a way to drive clarity from the top of the organization by sharing progress and outlining expectations, particularly when strategies are forced to pivot. Technology can highlight changing strategies and objectives to everyone in the organization, showcasing dashboards that show each user KPIs that are customized for their role and responsibilities. You can also use this tool to display company goals and project statuses. Acumatica’s ERP system aggregates real-time information from across the organization and converts it to role-based reporting, ensuring everyone has the information they need, the moment they need it.
7) Embrace DEI Initiatives
People connect easier with those who have similar backgrounds, interests, or views. Although this is generally subconscious, it can breed implicit bias and influence hiring decisions. On the other hand, if you’re able to diversify your organization, your company will be more likely to outperform the competition and capture new market segments.
As such, you must diversify your workforce at all levels. According to Glassdoor, 76% of candidates evaluate an organization’s diversity when they’re deciding if they want to work for (or stay with) a company.
In order to achieve true diversity, you have to implement strategic planning and analysis. You need to set diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals and understand how every department and level in the organization measures up. Training programs can help promote awareness and close gaps; technology can help you drive transparency, collaboration, and shared responsibility of these efforts.
You can use Acumatica’s technology to support diversity, global team integration, and even multi-lingual translations.
8) Drive Engagement with Modern Technology
When you’re talking about engagement, you’re talking about giving all members of the organization the tools they need to do their best each day, so they’ll be committed to contributing to organizational success.
Today’s employees expect instant access to information and tools. If they have to spend minutes or hours looking for the information they need—or if they need to re-enter data into multiple systems—their engagement will plummet, and mistakes will be made.
Acumatica makes it easy to integrate systems and automate workflows via an intuitive interface. It provides 360° transparency into customer data inside a centralized database. These integrations remove redundancy and inaccuracy. Plus, the dashboards engage users with personalized KPIs and alerts.
Is employee engagement the answer to becoming a profitable business?
As we discussed, a disengaged and dissatisfied workforce does not bode well for any business.
To learn more about each strategy, download the full 8 Simple Strategies to Boost Employee Engagement and the Bottom Line. Each strategy is examined in detail, offering companies specific steps they can take to engage their employee and grow their profit. Download the free Solution Brief today for a happier, more profitable tomorrow.