Originally posted April 16, 2014 by William Taylor on https://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com

The emotional commitment an employee has toward a company and its main goals is called employee engagement—employees being more focused on helping the company thrive.  This emotional binder has nothing to do with financial compensation but with the personal feelings of that employee for the workplace.

Let’s not confuse engagement with happiness.  Being happy at work doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re working hard to help that organization succeed.

Engaged employees initiate better business results.  Research shows that organizations with engaged workers can easily reach higher profit margins of up to 6%.

Motivated employees often lead to:

  • Better customer satisfaction
  • Better quality of services
  • Enhanced productivity
  • Higher profit levels
  • Increased shareholder returns

Switching from THE Company to THEIR Company

Ownership is the heart and soul of employee engagement.  Your people must feel that they own the company for which they’re working.  It’s paramount to treat them like partners and make them feel like CEOs (even if deep down they are employees and nothing more).  Once you’ve accomplished that, allow them to make important decisions, share vital information with them, let them take part in important meetings to keep them motivated.  Engagement soars when employees feel like leaders.

How do you maintain employee engagement long-term?

Engaged employees are both happy and motivated people.  They feel appreciated by their bosses, they feel valued, and they’re willing to go to extreme lengths to help THEIR Company flourish. However, it’s vital for organizations to make sure the engagement is permanent.  Here are some important aspects you might want to look at to make sure your people stay engaged for as long as necessary.

  • Consistent expectations—whatever you do make sure your expectations are clear and consistent.  Tell your employees exactly what you want from them, but make them feel comfortable and safe in your presence.
  • Value their work—employees want to feel that their work is being appreciated; if you must criticize, do it, and do it constructively.
  • Leave room for advancement in their career—the goal of every engaged employee is to climb up the ladder; the more some advance in their career, the harder they will work to please their superiors.

Constructive Criticism Keeps Engaged Employees Alert

Feedback is important for engaged employees who want to be sure that their actions are good enough.  These people are willing to accept criticism and do everything in their power to turn an observation into a goal.  Communication is equally important between managers and motivated workers.  As boss, CEO, or supervisor, it’s your job to foster that motivation by asking questions and challenging their potential.

Criticism should be constructive; it should be meant to add value to a company.  Engaged people are not afraid to be criticized.  On the contrary, they strongly believe that the only way to nurture their potential is to give them challenges that are difficult to achieve.

A Different Type of Reward

We mentioned that employee engagement is not based on financial compensation.  While that might be true, motivated employees should be given constant rewards for their hard work.  Promotions, free training sessions, better working hours, and paid vacations, are just some incentives companies can offer to their committed people to make them feel esteemed.  There are so many things you can offer to satisfy their needs without breaking the bank.

After working hard on a project for over a month you can take them out for a festive dinner.  People love to socialize and the best way of making them feel good about themselves is to integrate them in your executive group.  Appeal to their social side, have a good time, and interact with them on a human level.

The key word for successful employee engagement is RELATIONSHIP.  Nothing matters more for employees than a good working relationship with their superiors and teammates.  Satisfaction and engagement are deeply connected in a company.  Let’s call it a marriage where two parties enter this “relationship” with extremely high hopes, best intentions, and great aspirations.  In time, the relationship can become unbreakable; however, for that to happen—employees and company workers must value each other equally.