How to Build an Engaged Workforce

View all blog posts under Articles

Engaged employees perform better at customer service, are more productive, and ultimately bring in more sales and profits for the company. Unfortunately, only an estimated 13 percent of employees are engaged at work and over 60 percent are classified as disengaged at work, according to a Gallup poll. However, employers can take steps to ensure employee engagement right from the start.

Monitor Compensation Levels

Image via Flickr by 401(K) 2013

Large gaps in pay between executives and the average employee do not encourage the employee to strive for that level. Instead, these gaps create destructive competition among management and cynicism among employees. Similarly, employees are more engaged when management is not afraid to share both the pain and the profit of business. When business is good, do not be afraid to offer bonuses tied to profit and revenue goals. On the other hand, when business is struggling, have the courage to stand in front of employees and explain what went wrong and the plan to fix it.

Encourage Differing Opinions

Employees who work on the front lines every day know more about the problems of a business than anyone else. To get a good understanding of these problems and how to fix them, management should encourage their employees to offer constructive dissent and then actively listen to what these employees are suggesting.

Allow Flexibility in Employee Career Paths

Employees want to grow with their jobs and feel challenged by their work. At the same time, businesses need employees who can actively take on new roles in our ever-changing technological society. Both can benefit when employers allow employees to take on different roles within the company and see where their skills can benefit the company most.

Don’t Forget to Focus on All Employees

While plenty of employees start their jobs actively engaged, this engagement can deteriorate over time. As Curt Coffman, a consultant on employee engagement, points out, engaged employees tend to get the least amount of attention from managers because the managers focus on the performance of below-average employees.

Therefore, while managers are busy trying to get a below-average employee to become an average performer, a good employee may never become a great performer and eventually becomes disengaged. To combat this, managers need to focus on all employees to make sure everyone knows his or her role, the expectations for that role, and that he or she has the equipment and knowledge to meet those goals.

Offer Opportunities for Growth and Development

Needs change quickly in the business world, and managers should meet with employees every quarter to discuss career goals as well as the knowledge and skills needed to reach those goals. Employers have plenty of ways to offer employees the chance to grow and develop in their career paths. For example, training programs and tuition reimbursement for advanced degrees such as an online MBA are popular choices. Other informal options include job rotations and mentorships.

Employee engagement is crucial to the success of every company. While these tips take time to implement, the reward is better commitment and higher performance from each employee.