5 Things You Forgot About Employee Engagement

Here are 5 Engagement Essentials, Keys to Success

When discussing employee engagement, many organizations miss the mark because of the erroneous conceptions they have about engagement. Real employee engagement isn’t just another item to check off a to-do list. And a good employee engagement survey digs deep into the why – what makes each employee tick. Engagement, then, is way more complex and interesting than a checklist.

Here are 5 things you might have forgotten about employee engagement.

1. Engagement is an investment, not an expense. Expense is defined as “the cost required for something,” whereas investment is defined as “the action or process of investing money for profit or material result.” The latter has a direct relationship to employee retention, product and the bottom line. Whereas the former is just money “spent.” Strategic engagement strategies are an investment in your organization.

2. Engagement is not satisfaction : Satisfied employees are happy to go to work. Engaged employees feel passionate about their work, are committed to the organization and put discretionary effort into their work. So, sometimes a grumbling employee is more engaged than the one that arrives with a smile every day. Sometimes.

3. Being aligned with company culture is a big driver of engagement. There is no one-size-fits-all employee. Some great professionals might fail in the wrong position or organization. Successful recruitment and hiring strategies of new talent has to begin with finding the right cultural fit. Do you speak the same language, share the same vision?

4. Employees need stress. Contrary to the everybody-gets-a-trophy movement, employees perform better when they are challenged. Challenges help employees grow and improve as people and professionals.

5. It’s not always about the paycheck. We won’t get lofty here and say it’s all about the joy of the job. People need money. They have bills to pay, kids to feed. But at the end of the day, once those needs are met, employees are looking for something more than just a paycheck to stay engaged with their work. This is different for each individual. It could be a strong CSR program or a positive work-life balance. Creating a strong sense of purpose is the first step toward keeping employees engaged. But to know what your employees need, you have to ask them. Motivation is individual. Start to listen. Pay attention to the choices your employees make. This is a way to go beyond that bi-monthly pay stub.

Employee engagement is nuanced and complex. That’s what makes it so fascinating and, quite frankly, frustrating. But don’t forget some of employee engagement’s essentials. Invest in your employees, invest in strategies to improve engagement, and employee recruitment, retention, and training programs. Keep them engaged. And reap the benefits.

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