April 29, 2016

Engaged Employees Make the Difference

by Guest Blogger

A few weeks ago, my colleague Erin Johnson wrote here about how it can be easy to overlook our most valuable asset—our employees--and how a proactive internal communications plan can be a powerful tool for success.

Why is that? A robust internal communications plan can be a great way to maintain transparency, share news and make employees feel heard. And all of these things go a long way toward bettering employee engagement—an important management component directly tied to your company’s success.

A Big Impact
There’s a famous anecdote that helps illustrate employee and workforce engagement. While visiting a NASA location in 1962, President John F. Kennedy spotted a janitor walking past with a broom. Kennedy asked the janitor what he was doing, to which the man replied that he was “helping to put a man on the moon.”

When all employees are invested in an organization’s total success, it can have a major impact on many areas of your business. Gallup’s widely cited State of the American Workplace report says everything you need to know: Successful employee engagement results in a 240 percent boost in performance-related business outcomes when compared to companies with disengaged employees.
Gallup further found that employees tend to fall into three distinct categories:

  • Engaged employees: Those like our NASA janitor, who feel connected to their organization and are proud of the work they do each day.
  • Not-engaged employees: Employees putting in minimal effort to get by—those who are putting in time, but not necessarily effort.
  • Actively disengaged employees: Employees who aren’t just not-engaged, but are actively damaging to an organization.
Broken down, it’s easy to envision the real ways in which workplace engagement can impact your organization. Are most employees bringing their best to work each day? Or are they actively undermining your organization’s success?

What engages employees?
Employee engagement has been recognized as beneficial to the company to the point that 61 percent of U.S. companies devote part of their budgets specifically toward engagement efforts.
Where are these dollars being spent? While there are no specific, hard-and-fast rules for what engages employees across organizations and across industries, there are a handful of general strategies to follow:
  • Know your workforce. Your employees are people with different beliefs, hopes, dreams and talents. When management understands its people—on an individualized level—engagement in organizational goals is much more likely.
  • Make your organizational goals clear. The first tip goes both ways—your workforce needs to know you and what success means for your company. Your internal communications plan can help here—be creative, colorful and emotional about what success means.
  • Follow through. In our last post, we mentioned how asking for feedback is an important part of internal communications—but while feeling heard is one thing, it’s another for your employees to see their suggestions come to life. Demonstrate your commitment by taking action where it makes sense.
Brenna Schmidt is Corporate Manager of Human Resources for Quanex, focusing on performance and talent management, as well as recruitment and selection.

For more information about Quanex visit www.quanex.com