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How to strike the right employee engagement balance (Guest Post)

Employee engagement is certainly a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot in the HR industry – but can anyone really pin down what it is?

Many definitions of an engaged employee have done the rounds over the years, such as “an employee having clarity in their role in achieving the company’s goals” or “an employee who is prepared to go the extra mile”.

BalanceHowever, while these phrases could certainly be considered useful in the wider context of a company, they don’t really hammer down what employee engagement actually is. Instead, they are just promoting ideas about employee engagement from the perspective of a company boss. Mix the two definitions together, however, and you have something along the lines of “someone knowing what they have to do and doing what is needed of them to help the organization”.

While this is closer to a measure of internal engagement, if it is considered to be the accurate measure, companies could simply look at their most productive employees and assume they are naturally the most engaged. Indeed, many companies do have processes in place for measuring productivity. However, companies which rely on productivity levels to learn about employee engagement should consider that the issue goes deeper than this and look outside these ‘internal’ measures of engagement.

With this in mind, it is key to consider how you can get your employees to do more for the company by ensuring they are truly engaged. The first thing to rule out is pay incentives, because paying more for productivity does not add any real value to employee engagement. What’s more, while it has often been argued that using pay creates short-term motivation to perform, once your employees have spent the money, they are likely to be left deflated and in need of another fix.

Fostering a great office culture, good communication, strong management, clear roles and career progression are all often touted as the best ways to promote employee engagement. But let’s get a little bit more specific.

It’s all about the relationship between the employee and the brand

Rather than thinking about employee engagement in terms of productivity, consider that it is about the relationship between the individual and the brand.

So how can you gauge this? Well, think about what the response would be should an impartial individual ask one of your employees what your company is like to work for? Would they rank you as great, good, or less than satisfactory?

How can you reward your employees in a way that improves engagement?

This is a vital question for bosses looking to drive employee engagement, so they can use this (rewards) to create a happier, more productive workforce. It is important to leave behind the ‘internal’ aspect of engagement and look to the ‘external’ aspect, which is about the emotional connection an employee has to the company.

While a cash reward is something of a taboo subject – and therefore is not particularly emotive – employee benefits surrounding financial security, individual and family health, and how workers like to spend their free time, are all issues close to the heart.

This means that employers can shout from the rooftops about their benefits, with the aim of driving up employee engagement. By sending messages to employees about these benefits, you can promote the values of your organization while also treating employees as individuals. Consider your employees as consumers – thereby tapping into their desires.

Today’s guest post is from Thomsons Online Benefits

About the Author
Thomsons Online Benefits are experienced in flexible benefits scheme design, pensions and employee communication, our team of highly experienced consultants develop innovative programmes with clients that maximise the value of their reward spend.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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