TODAY, we shall continue with the topic we started last week on Improving Employee Engagement and Productivity.
WHAT IS EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT?
Managers most times do not take cognizance of employee engagement when developing the human resources policy of the organisation. This is due to the fact that many are not aware of its importance and benefits or simply because some managers do not see the reason for that especially in Nigeria where most employment opportunities are given as a favour.
Due to the desperation exhibited to getting a job as a result of too many people/graduates pursuing fewer jobs, some persons go as far as paying a huge amount to secure employment. In the end, they get into the hands of managers that take advantage of them. Most managers/employers do that because they believe that no matter what they do, the employee will rarely leave to join the highly tensed and competitive Nigeria labour market.
It is important to note that when employees are emotionally attached to their jobs, the results are very clear in the overall performance of the organization. Therefore, a manager that is not putting in place systems and/or structures to get the employees engaged is doing a lot of disservice to the organisation especially as that will have significant effects on employee productivity and organisational profitability.
A survey conducted by Gallup in 2018 reported that only 15% of employees are engaged in their jobs. The questions that may emanate from this poll include;
What about the remaining 85% workforce?
Why do organisations have a large proportion of their workforce not engaged in their jobs?
What can managers do to change this narrative?
We will answer the above questions in the course of our discussion.
But what is employee engagement? Defining the term employee engagement may be confusing at times and that was why we started the discussion last week by explaining what the term is not. Employee engagement is simply the emotional feeling of commitment towards the organization.
Though, such instinctive feeling is a result of an employee’s personality and sense of purpose, the organisation can also create a platform/environment where an employee feels comfortable to the level of being very responsible and willing to go the extra mile in achieving the organisation’s goal. In a nutshell, employee engagement underscores the level of an employee’s devotion to the vision, mission, and success of the organisation.
Employees’ emotional feelings and/or connection toward the organisation dictates to a large extent their behaviours and the level of effort put to work to meet the organisation’s goal. This explains why organisations with a high level of engaged employees enjoy a high level of employees’ productivity because a positive correlation exists between employee engagement and productivity. Steve Jobs asserted that “The only way to do a great job is to love what you do”. Therefore, employees are said to be engaged when they identify themselves with their works, enthusiastic and passionate about whatever they do, feel a sense of gratification while and after ‘engaging’ in that work, and show a sense of community with their colleagues where effective communication is upheld.
How can managers boost their employees’ emotional commitment toward the organisation?
According to Simon Sinek;”When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute”
An employee that is emotionally attached to his/her job works at the best level. Nowadays, employees appreciate work-life balance; they want to work and still have time for themselves, their families, and even for leisure. What strategies are in place to do this? Engaged employees are happy employees and they are always proud of what they do, the level of happiness exhibited is dependent on factors such as; work environment, management styles, and other variables that guarantee employees’ comfort and security among others.
Therefore, as a manager and/or employer, you will need to answer this question; you want your employees fully engaged? What environment are you creating to meet that? The answer you get to this question will help to gauge the level of engagement and/or commitment you should expect from your employees.
Next week we will look at the four levels of employee engagement.
Sunday Ade Bello is a multi-talented, analytical and highly qualified Management Trainer, Inspired Writer, Examiner and Education Specialist. He is the CEO of WorkLife Training Professionals, Lagos.