Employee engagement isn't some mythical term—it's a tangible process each company should have in place. However, in 2015, just 32 percent of employees felt they were engaged at work, according to a Gallup poll.
The majority of HR professionals focus on building these types of programs for the workers already within the business, but in reality, the process should begin at the very beginning—when the job listing is posted.
Hire the right way
Part of building engagement with employees stems from total inclusion on internal communication. Companies can often create poor brand awareness in the hiring and interview process without even realizing—which translates to the office once those candidates are brought on board.
Employee engagement is often a fleeting subject, as 90 percent of executives know they need protocols in place, yet 50 percent don't know how to approach it, according to a Deloitte survey. Simply put—treat them with respect during the hiring process and that will show up in the workplace.
Sorting résumés by hand can be time-consuming, and HR professionals can miss out on top quality candidates due to another company quickly giving him or her an offer. By using an applicant tracking system (ATS), recruiters can quickly identify elite talent and send out follow-up requests for interviews, as well as let others now they didn't make the cut. Responding quickly and professionally is key to opening up a line of communication between employees and upper-level staff.
"Managers can create an immediate impact on engagement initiatives."
Give managers the resources they need
Gallup research found middle managers are most accountable for employee engagement. It makes sense, considering they often spend the most time with workers. When initiatives are disseminated from mid-level managers, rather than C-level executives, they tend to have an immediate impact.
Ensure these directors can get the results the company is looking for by giving them classes on engagement. This will give them the tools they need to lead employees in the right direction, and also keep channels of communication wide open. Gallup recommended tracking progress once the office-wide campaign begins to make sure they're held accountable, and perhaps create a reward system based on results. A State of the American Manager survey conducted by the polling firm reported managers who aren't actively engaged with employees cost the economy between $320 and $400 billion annually.
Insert engagement routinely
Employee engagement can't be a one-off investment—it should be a sustainable practice. In this sense, companies need to create initiatives that will last years, rather than just one or two occasions.
Gallup recommended making it a point to discuss this topic at weekly and monthly meetings, as well as creating one-to-one sessions to talk with staff and see what's working and what isn't. It should feel less like a campaign and more so a daily office activity.
By starting from the ground up, companies can completely transform their engagement initiatives for the better and create an all-inclusive workplace.