An Engaged Workplace: The Key to a Healthy & Productive Work Environment
Most everyone has experienced walking into a business where the employees seem to not enjoy or even care for their job. Not only does this impression have a negative affect on customer relations, it also drags down employee well-being, satisfaction, and productivity.
Low engagement can cause employees to seem detached from their work and cause significant losses in both productivity and retention . Employee engagement refers to the idea that employees should be emotionally invested and committed to their work (3). There are many benefits to having a company culture that is attentive to its employee experience, but, unfortunately, low engagement has become the norm for most companies worldwide. Research suggests that 85% of employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged at work(4).
What most companies may not know is that boosting engagement doesn’t have to entail a big budget and is not necessarily linked with increased pay and benefits. (3). Plus, employees who report feeling engaged at work have higher performance ratings, increased well-being, and a substantial boost in productivity (1;4). It can also foster an environment that allows employees to feel more inclined to introduce new ideas, alternative solutions, or improve operations (2). Ultimately, engaged employees make for a more productive and satisfied work force, dramatically reducing the risk of turnover.
Factors such as unpredictable management, distrust of management, unease about job market, or a lack of cohesion among coworkers can discourage employee engagement.
Does this sound like your company? Here are three ways to encourage employee engagement:
1. Leaders leading. Being engaged at work is transmissible from person to person, both vertically and horizontally (1). This stems from social learning theory, a way in which values, emotions, attitudes, and behaviors can be learned through passive observation (1). This is valuable information for a workplace because rather than a two day workshop to teach each and every employee how to be engaged, engagement can have a trickle down effect with a few positive role models. Make sure that your management team values and exhibits engagement for the best results.
2. Culture of spontaneous fun. Research shows that workplaces that have more fun during the workday have more employees that report feeling engaged (2). Interestingly, the connection was only significant in reference to informal fun (spontaneous activities, jokes, etc.) rather than formal fun (scheduled employee activities, “forced fun”) (2). Allowing room for informal fun in the workplace sets up more opportunities for employees to enjoy their working environment and take the edge off of a competitive or stressful environment.
3. More comprehensive training. Other than hiring the right person for the job, the most important factor in engagement is proper training (3). Research suggests that companies that have comprehensive training methods in place retain more employees, thus decreasing turnover (3). Investing in training boosts employee self-efficacy, confidence, and knowledge, which dramatically increases the likelihood they will be engaged.
Having difficulty assessing engagement among your employees? Contact OMH Solutions for a complete workplace assessment to take your company to the next level.
1. Lu, X., Xie, B., & Guo, Y. (2018). The trickle-down of work engagement from leader to follower: The roles of optimism and self-efficacy. Journal of Business Research, 84, 186-195. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2017.11.014
2. Müceldili, B. & Erdil, O. (2016). Finding fun in work: The effect of workplace fun on taking charge and job engagement. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 235(24), 304-312. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.11.034
3. Lytle, T. (2016). 7 Tips to increase employee engagement without spending a dime. Society For Human Resource Management. Online.
4. Harter, J. (2017). Dismal employee engagement is a sign of global mismanagement. Gallup Blog. Online.