“There is a common denominator in our human experience… Everybody wants to know ‘did you hear me’ and ‘did what I say matter?’” Oprah Winfrey said this during her commencement speech at Harvard University in 2013.

On average, only 33% of people employed in the United States report feeling engaged at work. Employee engagement boils down to the same two factors: knowing that what’s been communicated was heard and that it matters. As defined by Gallup, an employee is engaged at work if they “are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace”.

Having highly engaged employees doesn’t necessarily mean that you have high attendance at company events or that most team members engage in conversation during staff meetings. While those things do help shape engagement, the level at which your employees are engaged is an intrinsic value that’s best defined by ­how the employee feels when they think about work.

So, how does employee engagement show up in the employee and in the organization?

Employees feel heard and culture flourishes.

Asking for feedback is one of the most valuable things you can do to engage employees. When you give employees the opportunity to share feedback, you give them a platform to shape culture, improve individual and company performance, increase employee retention, and share what’s important to them. A happy employee is an engaged employee; where there is lack of engagement, unhappiness commonly takes shape as a complaint. When this happens, identify it as feedback, ask how things can be different, and then take action.

Asking for feedback is only step one. Step two is doing something with the feedback you receive. When employees share how things can be better, listen. Accept the feedback with an open mind and take it as an opportunity to engage the individual and strengthen the whole.

Employees feel satisfied ­and retention increases.

Feedback is a two-way street, and while it’s great to ask for feedback, it’s also necessary to give feedback. Constantly sharing feedback on performance keeps the employee aware of what they do well and what they can improve on while keeping the employer in tune with the employee’s strengths. In a study conducted by Gallup, employees that use their strengths daily at work are 15% less likely to quit than their counterparts, further emphasizing the role feedback and engagement play in employee retention.  

Employees feel connected and relationships grow.

As humans, we have an innate desire for connecting with others, and it’s important for employers to offer their people outlets for building relationships with their colleagues, inside and outside of the office. Peerfit is one resource companies can provide for their employees that enables them to build relationships through fitness. Employees like that they can customize their fitness benefit by taking any class they choose, and employers like that they only pay for engaged employees. It’s a win all around.

As the old adage goes, people that do what they love never work a day in their life. If we make way for our employees to do the work they love for a company they love working for, we’ll reach the ultimate in employee engagement. Every company has to start somewhere, and it starts with putting the employee first.

Remember, people like to be heard and know that what they said matters. Are you listening?

Author

Jeni leads companies to discover their wellbeing potential with Peerfit's enterprise health programs. She's a peerfitter, cat-mom, self-proclaimed sommelier, and die hard Gator fan. Meet her at the bar for her favorite class, Mixed Level, at The Bar Method in Tampa, FL.

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