The way your staff feel about your organization doesn’t stay static – they’ll move through different stages of connection during their time with you. We look at how employee engagement works and why using collaboration tools can help keep people on board.
Getting employees engaged isn’t something organizations need to do just once during a person’s employment. Workplace engagement fluctuates. According to some workplace psychologists, on a monthly or daily basis – as well as over longer periods. So organizations need to win it and then nurture it.
Tasks and engagement
Some psychologists point to engagement being largely task-based. Arnold Bakker, for example, says that engagement will vary depending on the job an employee is doing and how much control they have over their tasks.
Engagement can depend on the job someone is doing and how much control they have over their tasks
Effective collaboration tools can help meet this need by giving people greater input into how they work and how tasks progress.
The reasons for fluctuations in workplace engagement vary and are not always completely within an organization’s control. Bakker also cites an employee’s personal resources on a given day as playing a part in how engaged they are.
Taking a broader view, workplace psychology sees employee engagement as having different levels or phases over time. These can work as a virtuous circle, so engagement doesn’t end, rather one stage feeds into another. Engagement impacts profit, productivity and almost everything else you can think of – so it’s important to understand how it works.
Engaging people at the outset
Getting buy-in to your organizational culture is critical for workplace engagement, and early days are crucial.
Engagement starts before people work for you. The first stage is to find and win the right employees in the first place. This so-called ‘attract’ phase relies on the organization projecting a positive – and genuine – impression of itself to engage people who are the right fit.
Getting early days right
The process of engagement has to continue through the new employee’s induction – the ‘acquire’ phase. New hires need to see that the organization’s image lives up to the workplace reality.
If you position yourselves as a transparent, super-responsive, collaborative environment – you need to back it up
So if you’ve positioned your company as a transparent, super-responsive, collaborative environment that Gen Y-ers, in particular, are attracted to, you need to back this up.
Having the right processes and tools in place can help you do this. Using platforms like Workplace empowers teams to give instant 2-way feedback and helps employers and employees shape a more open and transparent work culture.
Workplace engagement doesn’t end there. An organization has to continue to attract people who already work for it. Having easy ways to communicate and collaborate using a common platform can help give employees the consistent sense of belonging that’s so vital in maintaining this attraction.
Collaboration tools like Workplace can also facilitate easy communication by an organization’s leaders – a particularly important factor in fostering a sense of belonging.
The final stage of employee engagement is ‘advance’. This stage should continue throughout an employee’s time with you, with their feelings of belonging feeding into attracting and settling in new recruits.
For the advance phase to be successful, employees need to feel that they’re making progress. And this isn’t just a matter of you putting up salaries or promoting people. It’s building an environment where people of feel that they can – and are – moving forward and growing in the organization.
This isn’t just a matter of you putting up salaries or promoting people
Research shows that Millennials find this sense of constantly learning and progressing particularly important in their working lives.
So having the right tools to give them feedback and to connect them with the rest of the organization is crucial to building effective employee engagement.