Employee Engagement in IT: Techniques for Increasing Employee Engagement | ITExpert

High Employee Engagement Helps to Increase Business Income By Four Times: How to Boost It Even Remotely

Anna Reznikova 10.05.2023
ITExpert Blog HR
High Employee Engagement Helps to Increase Business Income By Four Times: How to Boost It Even Remotely

According to Gallup’s new 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace, generally, only 13% of employees are engaged in the workplace. The rest aren’t psychologically committed to their jobs and just do the minimum from assigned tasks.

However, poor engagement is costly for companies. For example, the US loses more than $450–500 billion due to this reason. We’ve discussed with ITExpert Recruitment Team Lead Anna Reznikova how to achieve a high level of engagement in a workplace and how it will ultimately affect the financial performance of the company.

What is Employee Engagement and How Does It Affect Profitability & Revenue

Engagement is a physical and emotional state that motivates a team to do quality work and give their best. Engaged employees do not need to be constantly motivated. They take the initiative and “row ahead” themselves.

Engaged employees will be less likely to leave the company. This, in turn, means lower expenses for the company since it takes about $3 million a day to search for new personnel, for example, in the US. By the way, there are positive working atmosphere and less conflict situations in a team with high involvement.

Last but not least, according to Gallup, companies with high team engagement are 21% more profitable. In the long run, team engagement helps quadruple business revenue. Harvard Business School professor James Hesketh spent 11 years studying the corporate culture of 200 companies. He concluded: those organizations that cared about corporate values, encouraged initiative, valued their employees, and worked with their engagement, increased revenue by 682% during the experiment.

Employee engagement is their emotional connection with the company when the employee knows and feels that the firm cares about him. In turn, he/she is passionate about his work, responsibilities, career goals, and ideas, as well as wants to work on improving the product/project and the company as a whole.

Engagement also shows employee loyalty and affects their quality of work, bringing something new to the company. And, of course, engagement affects profits. Highly engaged employees perform better work, constantly show initiative, and come up with new ideas. Anna Reznikova

How to Properly Measure Employee Engagement: Proven Steps, Survey Questions & Important Factors

According to Gallup, only 21% of employees are actually involved. So how to find out more about your team?

The engaged specialist recommends the company as an employer and makes additional efforts to achieve the result. He/she is ready to perform tasks that go beyond usual functionality. It is not a problem to take the initiative, offer new ideas, and easily move on to new projects without shifting responsibility to others.

Here are 6+ common signs your employees aren’t engaged at work:

  • poor performance;
  • unwillingness to take responsibility in case of difficulties or unusual situations;
  • degradation of job quality and feedback non-perception;
  • frequent failure of deadlines;
  • negative attitude towards innovation;
  • poor communication with colleagues.

Gallup has developed a Q12 methodology for checking employee engagement. It consists of 12 statements/questions. The employee needs to answer on a 5-point Likert scale, where 1 point is strongly disagree, 2 is disagree, 3 is neutral, 4 is rather agree, and 5 is strongly agree. Alternative option: answers “true” (1) or “false” (0).

The Q12 survey questions you can use to measure employee engagement are:

  1. “I clearly understand what the employer/manager expects of me at work.” The employee understands his/her tasks, how he/she is evaluated, and what results are expected from him/her.
  1. “I have all the materials, equipment, and software needed to get the job done.” Does the employee have equipment for work, the needed software, access, knowledge, and so on?
  1. “I can do what I do best every day, at a workplace.” The manager knows the employee’s strengths, clearly understands what he/she does best, and tries to assign tasks depending on this.
  1. “In the past seven days, I have been getting positive feedback on my work.” Were meetings held with the employee? Did the manager note his/her merits?
  1. “I feel like my manager/someone else at work is caring.” Are there 1:1, or any informal meetings to discuss emerging problems? Does the manager understand the plans of the specific employee?
  1. “I feel like my work is encouraging me to grow.” The manager understands how the employee can grow, and the company provides him/her with development opportunities.
  1. “My opinion is taken into account at work.” Do managers ask the team’s opinion and take it into account?
  1. “The company’s goals and values make me feel the importance of my work.” Is the employee familiar with the company’s goals, mission, values, and strategic objectives? Does he/she understand how his/her work affects the achievement of these goals? Does it motivate him/her?
  1. “My colleagues maintain a high level and quality of their work.” A person needs to come to work and understand that other colleagues are also highly engaged and work for the result.
  1. “I frequently communicate with some of my colleagues outside of work.” Does an employee have a person at work he/she can go out of the office with, share his problems with, or just go out for lunch?
  1. “Over the past six months, someone at work has been talking to me about my progress and success.” Were there meetings with the manager, a performance evaluation, and a Performance Review?
  1. “Over the past year, I have had opportunities to learn and grow at a workplace.” Did the company provide specialists with the opportunity to boost their hard skills, take courses and develop professionally?

It’s better to run a questionnaire in units or teams. Respondent groups should be at least five people. You can additionally discuss some questions at a 1:1 meeting. Then, the manager receives a report from the HR specialist with wishes and recommendations for work. The meeting itself should be held without a direct manager. 

Example of using the Q12 tool and combining it with 1:1 meetings: multitudes of employees responded that they do not understand the direct manager’s expectations from them. The HR specialist held a 1:1 meeting and found out how tasks are assigned in their team, and what are the problems at the setting or evaluation stage.

It turned out that the team lead sometimes does not take into account the workload of employees and gives several urgent tasks in a row, without detailed prioritization. The HR manager talked with the team lead about how to plan tasks better, and explained to employees how to warn about the current situation with project loading in the best possible way. After that, the team got three months to measure the updated results in order to understand how much this parameter has improved.

Engagement can be measured by regular questionnaires and 1:1 meetings. At such meetings, it is important to listen carefully to a person, to be able to ask the right questions so that you could understand how much he/she is involved in the workplace, and to sort out his/her pains and joys.

I also recommend using the mentioned Q12 employee engagement test. This is truly one of the most effective and popular employee engagement surveys. I use it regularly at work. The Q12 questionnaire includes four basic needs that are important for employees in the field. They are praise, team relationships, career, and growth. Anna Reznikova

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How to Keep High Engagement in Remote Working Teams

Even before the pandemic, many people wanted to work from home. To have close people nearby, a favorite sofa, a cat, pajamas, a blanket, and tea. However, when this finally happened, people faced many factors that negatively affected their psychological, and physical condition and engagement in general.

Working in the office, the specialist keeps a specific pace. As soon as he/she switches to a remote, motivation may decrease, and the threat of burnout and depression, on the contrary, may increase. In addition, communication with the company is often lost at a distance. We’ll share tips on how companies and employees can stay motivated while constantly working from home.

1. Maintain regular communication

Studies have shown that loneliness has a negative impact on employee performance and teamwork. Set up constant and transparent communication with the team so that everyone feels “in touch”. That is how can you do that:

  • Call up and discuss plans—for example, daily at 10 AM for 5–15 minutes.
  • Creating general chats for chatting and memes is a cool replacement for conversations near a coffee machine.
  • Arrange regular “mood checks” such as tests, surveys, and personal contact with employees.
  • Organize online and offline events—for example, quests or online quizzes.
  • Don’t miss important dates. Personal congratulations are a good way to remind the team that specialists are important to you.

2. Maintain a work-life balance

In Italy, the average working week is 20 hours. And in the UK, it is illegal to work more than 48 hours a week. At the same time, habitual Japanese overtime is too expensive for the country. According to statistics, Japanese people who died from heart or brain failure worked more than 80 hours of overtime per month, while those who died by suicide worked more than 100 hours.

Nowadays, the government even pays compensation to relatives for every proven case of death from karoshi—it is about $20 thousand. A real estate corporation Tokyo Tatemono has even launched a system to turn off computers at the end of the business day to prevent overtime. And in Microsoft Japan in 2019, the directors tested a 4-day work week. As a result, the productivity of the company’s employees increased by 40%.

Teach employees to work not longer but more efficiently. Do not encourage overtime in the workplace, even if the project has a tight deadline. Stimulate employees to use their vacation days. Finally, implement software to spot and address early signs of burnout.

3. Encourage personal project

We often underestimate personal initiative, although the opportunity for employees to implement small personal projects within the company can benefit both parties. For example, Google has a special bonus. Each employee can devote one day a week to side projects. Thanks to this, famous services such as Gmail and AdSense were created.

4. Create a buddy program

Let everyone have the opportunity to choose a mentor. A sense of support from a more experienced colleague can motivate employees to take on challenging tasks more courageously and stay with the company longer.

To increase engagement outside the office, it is necessary to constantly be in touch with employees: hold regular team meetings, analyze the results of the team and the company every 1–3 months, keep up to date with the news, and support employees if necessary. Online team building is also of great importance.

It is critical to developing a corporate culture so far as it unites people around the company’s name and goals and makes it easier for the business to work. People move in one direction when they understand a common global goal. 

Job engagement is more than just money. Of course, people need to have a good level of income, because the quality of life directly depends on it. But engagement cannot be increased by money alone. In addition to money, people also care about their physical and mental condition, empathy, and support. If this is supported by a good salary and bonus system, engagement will be at the highest level. Anna Reznikova

Just as importantly: employee engagement highly depends on the leader. Therefore, the main focus in increasing staff engagement is the interaction of the lead with the teams, his/her new ideas for improving the office, etc. Lastly, development opportunities for HR managers are also crucial so that they could work with engagement and create comfortable working conditions.

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