Driving employee engagement is one of the major struggles for most organizations. Yet, it is so important as it has a significant impact on performance, productivity and turnover rate. Highly engaged individuals are highly committed to their roles and the organization, which manifests in increased productivity, better performance, and reduced absenteeism and turnover.
Moreover, the workplace environment has a lot to do with employee engagement. The physical environment, company policies and values, leadership style, the team, compensation and rewards, and every other element that constitutes the workplace environment are important to how an employee feels about an organization. We look at different factors relating to the workplace environment and their importance in employee engagement.
Physical work environment
The physical workplace environment touches different aspects such as lighting, temperature, air quality, office furniture, furnishings, colors, and more. If an employee has to deal with back aches from sitting on an uncomfortable chair, or headaches caused by straining the eyes due to poor lighting, it can be demoralizing and engagement is bound to fall.
For increased engagement, it is paramount to create a physical environment that is inspiring and that contributes to the comfort and wellbeing of the employees positively. This can include improving the lighting and ventilation, investing in ergonomic chairs and standing desks, providing different seating setups, bringing in plants, using inspiring colors, and the like. Well, building one can be daunting. But, you can always go with a cheaper option such as renting an adequate office space. The office spaces in Brooklyn, New York are a great example of offices that are designed with the workers’ comfort and well-being in mind.
Leadership and management style
How the management relates with the employees contributes to how they feel about the workplace. Employees detest working in a place where orders are barked out to them, they are not trusted to complete their tasks and the management isn’t supportive. This reduces job satisfaction and ultimately their engagement with the organization.
Leaders who are willing to get down in the dirt to show the way and collaborate with the team appeal to the workers. Additionally, putting employees’ happiness and needs first, showing empathy, and fostering a sense of trust show employees that they are valued and respected. Focus on hiring leaders who showcase the best leadership qualities. Investing in training managers is also important in building leaders who inspire and drive employee engagement.
Company policies and values
Organization policies act as guidelines that define best practices and appropriate conduct in a workplace. Besides ensuring compliance with the regulations, they can contribute to the work environment and how employees relate to it. In the absence of good policies, there is bound to be a negative culture that can affect engagement negatively. Think of a workplace that doesn’t define how employees should interact with one another – a single employee who treats others with disrespect can easily impede a team's motivation and engagement.
Adopt policies that promote a positive work culture. They include policies that advocate for work-life balance, foster a respectful atmosphere, offer equal opportunity and fairness and creates a safe environment for all and the like.
Effective communication is the cornerstone of a successful organization, a highly engaged workforce included. For starters, no one likes being left in the dark. Employees feel valued where there is open, honest, and transparent communication. Such an environment ensures that employees are kept in the know of what is happening in the organization. Moreover, communicating what employees need to complete tasks, rather than having to look for the information themselves improves productivity, which yields a sense of accomplishment. Lastly, fostering a culture of two-way communication where employees are given an opportunity to air their thoughts and opinions makes employees feel heard and included. When employees feel valued, heard, included and productive, they are likely to be happy and engaged.
Rewards and employee programs
Nothing can be frustrating as outstanding work goes unrecognized. In fact, employees don’t see a reason to continue working hard if no one notices. The commitment to the individual roles diminishes and productivity declines.
Rewarding and recognizing employees shows that you are paying attention to the contribution they are making to the overall growth of the company. Whether it is a simple pat on the back or sponsorship to further their education, any form of reward can have engagement levels go through the roof.
Driving engagement can feel like such a daunting task for most organizations. However, it all boils down to creating a workplace environment that ensures job satisfaction and happiness. Think of a physical environment that promotes comfort and health, company policies that create mental, psychological, and physical safety as well as good leadership, effective communication, and culture of recognizing and rewarding great work.