It’s no secret that employee engagement is important for any company. Engaged employees are so committed to the company and its goals that they give their very best effort. In addition, research shows that companies with more engaged employees experience a number of benefits, including higher profitability, higher productivity, and lower turnover.
Employee engagement is a complex, nuanced aspect of work life that is not easy to understand. Certain work conditions, compensation, and team dynamics can be highly motivating and engaging for one employee, but only mildly satisfying for another. Moreover, aspects of the workplace that keep employees engaged now can change over time. The way to understand these variations in engagement is to gather regular employee feedback. Employee feedback is the key to not only understanding company engagement but also improving it. Here are four reasons why company engagement depends on employee feedback:
Gives Employees a Voice
A recent workplace study found a significant positive relationship between employee voice and engagement. Asking employees for feedback gives them an outlet to describe their experiences and what motivates (or frustrates) them. No one wants to feel like “just another employee.” Rather, they want to be a team member whose experiences, ideas, and suggestions matter. Asking for feedback sends the message that the company and its leaders want to listen to what employees have to say. When employees see a clear demonstration of interest in their experiences, they’re more likely to reciprocate it with a stronger sense of engagement and commitment at work.
Increases Opportunities for Recognition
Research shows that employee recognition improves engagement. Aon’s 2018 employee engagement report found that increasing employee recognition (beyond pay and benefits) was the number one opportunity for companies to improve employee engagement. Employee feedback is an important vehicle for recognizing employees and letting them know that their contributions are appreciated. As an example, peer-to-peer and 360-degree feedback can play a valuable role in identifying high-potential employees or exceptional leaders who might not have had broad visibility throughout the organization. Feedback from peers, direct reports, or other teammates shines a light on an employee’s contributions, putting them in a better position to be recognized by senior management.
Helps You Understand Current Engagement
You can’t improve what you don’t fully understand. Employee feedback gives the organization a more complete view of which aspects of work, relationships, or team culture are positive drivers or detractors of employee engagement. Asking the right questions is a good place to start to ensure you develop a good baseline understanding of current employee engagement levels. Some good questions to ask include, ”Do you enjoy working with your team?” and, “Do you have the resources you need to be successful at your job?” From there, it’s possible to understand not only engagement but also where to make changes that will improve it.
Spurs Follow-Up Action
Put simply, the whole point of asking for employee feedback is to do something with it. Asking for employee feedback and acting on it creates a continuous feedback loop in which employees take a more active role in improving workplace culture and engagement. As employees continue to see how their feedback shapes workplace policies and programs, they’re more likely to develop a stronger commitment to the organization. Just a few examples of the follow-up actions that can result from employee feedback include:
- Managers receive training or coaching to help them address feedback about their leadership style.
- Corporate training programs expand to provide more self-directed learning options.
- A more efficient onboarding process gives new hires more time and resources to ramp up.
Instead of guessing or making assumptions about employee engagement, it’s best to ask employees directly. Not only does employee feedback empower employees to share their experiences, but it also helps identify aspects of work life that might have gone unnoticed otherwise.