A recent study by Gallup uncovered that 51% of the U.S. workforce is disengaged – meaning more than half of employees aren’t emotionally committed to their organization and its goals. The Engagement Institute estimates that disengaged employees can cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion every year. Employee engagement is something that every employer seeks to maximize.
Of course, giving your employees a free vacation every year to boost their engagement would be nice, but it’s not cost efficient. USC recently outlined how businesses can retain their employees with cost efficient perks, but when perks don’t cut it, sometimes a change in culture is needed to spark higher levels of engagement.
Here are five ways companies can cultivate an engaging culture:
Fostering a culture of professional development can lead to more engaged employees. Helping your employees sharpen their skill set can help build loyalty and increase productivity.
Better Buys recently conducted a study to learn how professional development impacts employee engagement, and they found that 92% of employees thought that access to professional development was important or very important. They also came to the conclusion that employees are 15% more engaged with the opportunity for professional development. Examples of professional development include access to online MBA programs, on-the-job training, and attending seminars.
Company Sponsored Activities
Company sponsored activities are another great way to increase employee engagement. Building camaraderie between co-workers can make the work environment much more enjoyable. This will make employees feel more emotionally invested in their jobs.
Gallup discovered that close work friendships can increase employee satisfaction by 50% and that people with close friends at work are seven times more likely to be engaged at work. Some examples of morale boosting activities are after-hours social events, corporate outings, and team building exercises.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate philanthropy is a proven method of increasing employee engagement. In a study by Dale Carnegie Training, they found that 54% of employees who were proud of their company’s contributions to society are engaged.
When employees are enthusiastic about the causes that their employer supports, they have more confidence that they are making a difference. This causes them to take more pride in their jobs. Corporate philanthropy can take many forms including: charitable giving, food and clothing drives, volunteering, and more.
Open lines of communication from executives, management, and peers can create a more collaborative atmosphere. Employees are more likely to be engaged in a collaborative office environment. A collaborative atmosphere allows employees to share knowledge and ask questions quickly and more easily, leading to increased engagement and productivity.
Collaboration can also serve as a source of camaraderie. The McKinsey Global Institute found that workers who routinely collaborate increase their productivity by 20 to 25 percent.
An attractive and comfortable workplace design can help employees remain engaged. A study by Steelcase was able to find a strong correlation between how satisfied employees are with their workplace environment and how engaged they are. Tailoring your office space to meet the specific needs of your employees is essential in today’s environment. The ideal workplace design would include a combination of quiet, collaborative, private, phone-friendly, and common spaces.
It is clear that changes in company culture can have a profound effect on employee engagement. With the high costs associated with disengaged employees, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to foster a culture that values employees and encourages them to grow. If a company can produce an environment that allows employees to be emotionally committed to their jobs, they will in turn be more productive and will save the company valuable dollars.
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