Corporate Culture & Productivity

What is employee engagement?

Brina Martens
June 3rd, 2021

What is employee engagement? Employee engagement refers to the connection that employees feel towards their employer or workplace. More engaged employees are typically more involved and enthusiastic about their company and workplace.

There are various benefits that come with high levels of employee engagement, including:

  • Increased employee safety
  • Happier employees
  • Boosted productivity
  • Better employee retention 

In addition, improved employee engagement typically leads to better company culture, and vice versa. For example, the better your company culture, the more engaged your employees will be. If your employees are engaged, the richer your company environment will be. It’s a win-win. 

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Creating better employee engagement

Creating a strong sense of employee engagement is a critical part of any organization, no matter the size or industry. Without solid employee engagement, it will be challenging to grow your business, attract top talent, and put your company’s best foot forward. 

The reality is, most companies could use some help in this department. According to the State of Global Workplace report from Gallup, a whopping 85% of employees are not engaged at work. What’s more, not only is low employee engagement terrible for morale and company culture, but it’s costly. A report from The Conference Board found that low employee engagement costs businesses roughly $450-500 billion each year

And these days, having a pulse on your organization’s employee engagement has arguably never been more important. 

The pandemic presented myriad challenges for employees—both at home and at work. From stressing about job security to worrying about the health and safety of loved ones, these factors play a role in employee performance. As such, companies must take time to make sure their people are taken care of from all angles—not just at work. 

Also, with the world slowly reopening due to the introduction of vaccines, the modern workplace has shifted to a hybrid office structure. In other words, many companies are adopting a more flexible approach to office operations by letting employees enjoy a combination of working remotely and from the office. 

With this new hybrid approach comes a need to understand how employees are performing and adjusting to this new structure. 

employee experience

How can facility managers create a work environment that fosters strong employee engagement?

There are several components to consider when implementing employee engagement strategies:

Provide employees with the equipment they need to succeed

Without the proper hardware—like computers, monitors, and practical seating—and software—like Slack, Dropbox, and other office programs employees need to do their jobs—improving employee engagement will be difficult. 

Ask employees what they need to succeed both in and out of the office. Listen to their feedback and suggestions. By keeping their needs at the forefront, you’ll set your company up for long-term success. 

Keep the lines of communication open

A core principle of improving employee engagement in the wake of this new hybrid workplace is communication. Without communication that is strong and clear, things are bound to fall through the cracks. 

But wrangling communication across teams and departments can get tricky if some work remotely and some work in the office. Workplace software can help simplify communication within your organization and ensure no desk is ever double-booked or meeting missed. 

planning employee engagement

Live the values you preach

It’s one thing to tell employees about the virtues you value as a company. But it’s another thing entirely to live them out every day. It is important to make your company values a core part of your day-to-day operations. This could be in the form of the tools you use to bring employees together, office hangouts (virtually and in-person once your back-to-work plan is in place), among other initiatives. 

Employees want to work at companies where the values preached by leadership are also lived each day. These companies make employees feel excited to get up every day and do their jobs to the best of their ability. 

Make flexibility a core part of your work environment

Lastly, integrating flexible practices and methods into your organization’s work environment will foster a culture with employee engagement at the top of the priority list. If your employees can work where and when they are most productive and comfortable, they will be more empowered they’ll feel to do their best work. 

As the world continues to move toward a hybrid workplace, configuring your office to be flexible will allow employees to find a better work/life balance. 

While facility managers are primarily concerned with space optimization and daily office operations, it’s just as important to make the people you’re planning for happy in the spaces you create. Happy, engaged employees are a vital component of the health of any successful company. 

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Photos: Amy Hirschi , John Schnobrich, Bonneval Sebastien