If you’ve ever worked at a company, big or small, you may already know why it’s important to improve employee engagement through annual surveys or new employee orientation. Most companies have made employee engagement a priority because they realize that satisfied and motivated employees are beneficial and critical to the success of any organization.

Before providing several ways to improve employee engagement, let’s take a look at a few key indicators that stress the importance of employee engagement. The statistics are staggering as it relates to disengaged employees:

  • The number of employees who are disengaged at work has averaged 70% for nearly two decades
  • U.S. businesses lose $11 billion to staff turnover each year
  • The average company’s biggest productivity losses are often caused by less than 20% of employees who are “disengaged” or “extremely disengaged”

Productivity, Profits and Retention

Studies have proved that by investing in employee engagement strategies will lead to improved employee engagement and a positive impact on productivity, profits and retention.

  • Companies with high and sustainable levels of engagement tend to have operating margins up to three times higher than companies with low or unsustainable levels of engagement (Willis Towers Watson)
  • Studies show that businesses with the highest levels of employee engagement are 22% more profitable than those with low levels of engagement (Gallup)
  • Organizations with higher than average employee engagement have been known to exceed the financial performance of their peers by 73% (University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School)
  • In one recent case study, an Ohio-based manufacturer was able to increase profits 24% after measuring employee engagement (Emplify)
  • Engaged employees are 44% more productive than workers who merely feel satisfied (Bain & Company)
  • An employee who feels engaged and inspired is 125% more productive than the satisfied staffer (Bain & Company)

New Trends to Increase Employee Engagement

Leadership, communication and training will always serve as cornerstones for maintaining a happy and healthy staff, but a few more trends have emerged as ways to increase employee engagement. Let’s take a look at five ways to improve employee engagement.

1. Mental Health

Anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses can be costly to employers. As healthcare costs rise, employers must be committed to improving conditions in the workplace. Some companies are encouraging employees to take paid mental health days, while mandatory training educates directors in identifying more serious mental health and substance-abuse issues.

2. Professional Development

Engaged employees will always embrace professional development. LinkedIn reported that 44% of people said that personal development and career advancement opportunities were the reason why they chose their current jobs. It’s important to encourage and support professional development among employees, as well as opportunities to take on new responsibilities.

3. Innovation and Change

Advances in technology have had an effect on nearly every industry. Companies must adapt quickly to remain competitive and when employees are given the opportunity to contribute to change, they will feel more connected and engaged.

4. Work/Life Balance

Companies with policies that embrace work/life balance like flexible work hours and working from home are more likely to have engaged employees. Strict schedules and dress codes may soon become a thing of the past, as they are no longer how to engage employees successfully.

5. Ongoing Performance Improvement Discussions

As directors adjust to new technology like Yelp and other apps that provide real-time feedback and reviews, the younger employees prefer the same. They would rather not wait for an end-of-year performance review to track their progress and provide feedback. Companies are now implementing more frequent meetings and feedback on performance.

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