Employee engagement is one of the hottest topics in the business world right now and something nearly all companies are trying to increase. And for good reason.
“Organizations with higher than average levels of employee engagement realized 27% higher profits, 50% higher sales, 50% higher customer loyalty levels, and 38% above-average productivity.”
It’s hard to argue with those numbers. But how can you increase sales rep motivation in a practical, concrete manner?
It’s simple. Create an employee engagement strategy.
Before we dive in too far, let’s discuss just how big of an impact this can have. To put things into perspective, we must first understand how prevalent employee disengagement currently is.
According to research, 45% of the workforce is not engaged, and 26% of employees are actively disengaged. That’s a huge problem and means that less than a third (29%) of employees are actively engaged.
Further, “disengaged workers cost the economy $300 billion or more per year,” mainly because they’re only there for the paycheck and do the bare minimum to not get fired. This scene featuring Peter Gibbons in the movie Office Space summarizes this trend perfectly.
But having an official employee engagement strategy in place is arguably the best way to slash through disengagement. Not only does it help boost productivity and profits, it tends to make the workplace a more pleasant place and naturally enhances the collective culture.
Besides that, companies with high employee engagement have a 41% lower absenteeism rate. And having a positive company culture results in 4x the revenue. One study even found that 90% of business leaders believe an employee engagement strategy could yield positive results for their company.
Now let’s get down to brass tacks. Here’s how to develop a winning employee engagement strategy for your business.
Of course you’ll want to increase productivity and boost profitability. Those are givens.
But the first step to shaping your strategy is to look deeper and pinpoint a handful of specific goals you want to accomplish with your employee engagement strategy.
Some examples can include:
Once you’ve got these nailed down, it’s time for step two.
When you break it all down, there are 10 main factors that contribute most heavily to employee engagement and overall satisfaction. Here they are.
Therefore, these are the primary areas to focus on and will help shape your approach. The trick is to analyze each of these factors and prioritize them in the order of the most importance.
For example, your top three engagement drivers may be:
Those would be the top three you would want to focus on, and have everything else come after that.
Once you’ve identified your top engagement drivers, you need to devise actionable strategies to improve them.
If, for instance, recognition and rewards was your number one priority, you might encourage managers and higher ups to continually praise employees and thank them for a job well done. “70% of employees say that motivation and morale would improve ‘massively’ with managers saying thank you more,” according to a Reward Gateway study.
You might create a rewards program, where employees receive things like bonuses, paid time off, gift cards, and so on, for exceeding expectations. Here are some more ideas on this.
Or, you might even go so far as to hold an annual event where you pass out awards to your team and acknowledge areas where they’ve excelled. Think Dunder Mifflin’s “Dundies” awards from The Office.
Quantifying your results is absolutely essential. Without having an effective means of analyzing the impact, it’s hard to gain any real progress. So, you’ll want to figure out which KPIs to look at and be diligent about keeping tabs on the numbers.
One of the most straightforward KPIs is your turnover rate before implementing an employee engagement strategy and after.
Say your turnover rate hovered around the average of 17.8% before developing an employee engagement strategy. But after a year of having it in place, you were able to drop it to just 10% — a good number experts say to aim for.
That would mean you were able to lower your turnover rate by roughly 8%, which would indicate that your efforts were definitely paying off.
While some aspects of an employee engagement strategy are basically free (e.g. having managers thank employees for doing quality work), others like bonuses and gift cards require an investment.
So, you need to come up with a realistic budget that allows you to get the results you’re looking for without killing your profits margins. At the end of the day, it’s about getting the best return on your investment.
This begs the question. Just how much should you spend on an employee engagement strategy?
A 2016 study found that around 1% of payroll is a good number to shoot for. “When companies make this level of investment, they are nearly three times as likely to rate their program as excellent, compared to companies that invest less.”
Although employee engagement has risen slightly over the past decade, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
Hands down, one of the best ways to attack this problem is by developing an employee engagement strategy. And with only a quarter of businesses having one in place, this should put you ahead of much of the competition.
A big part of having a highly engaged workforce is choosing the right employees from the get-go. See how HireDNA can help refine your recruiting through powerful technology and science-based sales assessments.
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