Spoiler: the answer is “yes, but.” (You saw that one coming, right?)
First of all: what is employee engagement?
At PEAR, we define engagement as an employee’s willingness to do more than what is strictly expected of them due to an emotional connection to their job and their company.
Fine, but why should I care about my employee’s “willingness” to do anything?
Perhaps you view business as working like this (and you are not wrong!):
- You pay your employees
- Your employees do the work
- Your customers pay you money
- The cycle repeats
As long as the dollars keep flowing in, you don’t need to worry about your employees’ engagement, right?
Yes, you can choose to not focus on employee engagement and still keep that money flowing in. But, you will be overlooking the enormous potential that increasing your employee’s engagement has on such things as customer satisfaction, turnover rates, and ultimately your bottom line.
OK, I hear you, but I don’t have money to spend on employee engagement.
Increasing your employees’ engagement does not have to cost a lot of money. Some strategies, in fact, cost nothing at all (for example, frequent feedback, recognition for achievements both small and large, cross-training). In fact, throwing more and more money at the issue is exactly a strategy this is not recommended!
Your work days are probably structured around day to day business priorities – such as meeting your customers’ needs. When you do have time to focus on employee-related matters, it’s likely that you deal with the most urgent issues. Rarely – perhaps never – do you find the time to deal with “soft” issues such as your employees’ engagement. If you start thinking of employee engagement as a day today priority itself, even schedule it into your calendar, you can start to find ways to move the needle of your employee’s motivation and engagement, one employee at a time.