The Crucial Role of Employee Engagement
Engaged employees are a significant resource and widely considered to be one of the most important factors of competitive advantage. Over the past several years, greater consideration has been focused on the subject of employee engagement. This increased attention has resulted in many organizations actively developing strategies to help them get the most from their employees. It is a worthwhile pursuit and an ideal business plan, but what exactly is employee engagement and why is it so important?
Understanding Employee Engagement and Why it Matters
At its core, employee engagement represents the levels of enthusiasm and connection employees have with their organization. It is a measure of how passionate employees feel about their jobs, and how motivated they are to put in more effort or go the extra mile. It’s also a sign of commitment to the organization and eagerness for the jobs and tasks employees perform.
Its effect upon the organization can be enormous. The dedication and passion of engaged employees can help drive organizational growth because they’re more committed to taking effective action on what’s important. People who are highly engaged at work not only provide greater value to the organization, but also experience a better quality of life at work. Conversely, disengaged employees could cause damage to the company by having a negative impact on the level of service, or even driving away customers. That’s a prime reason why many organizations seek out higher levels of engagement to improve things like performance, retention, and innovation.
Luckily, employee engagement depends primarily on the organization, especially the activities for employee engagement driven by leadership and managers. That means the outcome of employee engagement is fully under your control as a manager.
So, what steps should you take and what actions should you consider? Let’s take a look at the top 5 employee engagement strategies.
These are the top 5 Employee Engagement strategies
Define Your Organization’s Goals and Values
Arming your employees with a sense of purpose is critical to creating the emotional bond between your employees and their work, and in turn boosting their engagement. How well you communicate your company’s purpose is directly correlated with how engaged your employees are, giving them a clear sense of their importance to the organization and fueling ambition.
In today’s world, the culture you foster at your company is a top priority for attracting and retaining both employees and clients. As demographics are shifting, this is becoming even more imperative. Millennials already form the largest section of the workforce, soon to be followed by Gen Z, who will be even harder to impress and retain.
By outlining the framework of your company’s goals and explaining the methods behind its values, employees have a clear context to help them in planning, decision making, and execution of both daily and big picture tasks.
It is very difficult to overstate the importance of good and efficient communication. What often appear to be chronic or systemic morale problems can be solved with better communication. What’s more, many of the other strategies on this list – goals and values, measuring engagement, developing a strategy – require proper communication in order to be effective.
NICE Employee Engagement Manager (EEM) makes it easier to communicate with employees and keep them engaged, by empowering them to change their schedules (within the confines of operational rules) and notifying them of any deviations in their performance. This also provides a nice ancillary benefit, as it saves time and effort for supervisors while also creating a positive and efficient workplace.
Treat Employees as Individuals
Providing each employee with individualized attention is a sure-fire way to improve your retention and job performance metrics (making a bigger impact on your business’s most important KPIs). Plus, your customers will feel the difference when they call, translating into increased satisfaction scores and loyalty.
Treating each employee like an individual is a great idea that’s easy to wrap your head around when you’re a mom-and-pop business. But what if you’re running a contact center with dozens — or hundreds or thousands — of employees? When you’re managing a large team, you may feel like you barely have time to take a lunch break, let alone devote time to developing individualized coaching plans or managing all employees’ schedules.
What if you had a software solution at your fingertips that let you provide individualized attention and flexibility at scale? NICE EEM has unique adaptive capabilities that empower organizations to personalize employee engagement initiatives at the individual level.
It is the only solution of workforce managementthat empowers employees to independently make scheduling changes and receive immediate confirmation through intelligent automation. Agents can view, change, swap, add or give up shifts, all via the EEM app. Additionally, all of the notifications and potential changes are distributed to the individual agents based upon their skills, alert preferences, and availability preferences, ultimately contributing to a better work/life balance and ongoing engagement.
Measure Employee Engagement
Engaged employees invest themselves in the broader success of their organization, rather than only being present for the paycheck and benefits. They are also more likely to see their role as an important part of the organization’s mission, and will often support the organization in a manner of different ways outside of their everyday responsibilities.
But how does a company measure that? What tools and metrics should be used?
The performance metric of schedule adherence, for example, is a key measure of engagement, as it reflects an employee’s motivation towards their work and their commitment to the operational success of the company. It should be measured and tracked daily, so that specific issues or trends can be more effectively isolated. Similarly, “after contact work time” (ACW), which can be highly variable between employees, may be directly influenced by employee motivation. The trick is to identify unacceptable variances, which have been statistically correlated to disengaged employees and to take some positive steps to energize the employees.
Adherence and its key determinant, employee engagement, also significantly influence service effectiveness and overall efficiency measurements, such as Average Handle Time (AHT), occupancy, and Average Speed of Answer (ASA), which in turn results in either negative or positive financial value.
Develop an Employee Engagement Strategy
Every organization is a community comprised of employees, teams, and managers. And communities thrive best when everyone in them feels they are included, valued, and trusted. By developing an employee engagement strategy with this in mind, the more productive and engaged your employees will become.
Scheduling flexibility is a prime example, because it takes into account and places value upon the employee’s work/life balance. Accommodating everyone’s personal needs and maintaining optimal staffing is no easy task, but providing the option for agents to self-manage their schedules as much as operationally possible can significantly increase employee engagement.
Along with scheduling, employees can be further engaged by access to detailed data on their performance. This is even more effective when the data – like average handle time (AHT), for example – is presented in real-time along with recommended actions that can move the needle in a positive direction.
The NICE Employee Engagement Solution
NICE Employee Engagement Manager (EEM) is a state-of-the-art solution for engagement and operational improvement that can motivate your contact center teams and bring new life to your organization.
EEM’s intelligent automation resolves over- and under-staffing gaps, greatly minimizing administration time and effort to achieve an efficient operation. The solution’s intelligent engine leverages user-definable business rules to automatically control, manage, and regulate staffing variances as they instantaneously occur, allowing supervisors to focus on leadership, coaching, analysis and the overall development of their staff.
EEM makes it possible to respond quickly to changing conditions that impact customers, employees, and the bottom line. It can automate up to 80% of your contact center’s manual intraday management processes, thus ensuring up-to-date intraday coverage to provide optimal customer service levels, while also contributing to employee engagement and motivation, timely KPI monitoring and measurable performance improvement.