What Is Employee Engagement Sustainability?
Employee engagement is the degree to which an employee invests their time, energy and passion into their work performance and this strongly depends on whether or not employees have the materials, resources, and social, cognitive and emotional support they need to perform their job well. Emotionally and mentally invested employees are typically passionate about the work they are doing and committed to the company’s mission and values. On the other hand, disengaged employees are those who are indifferent to the company’s success, often meeting just the bare minimum and not putting forth any extra effort.
According to Gallup, “engagement comes before performance because it is foundational to consistent excellence”. Building strong employee engagement leads to long-term employee engagement sustainability which refers to the health and longevity of employee engagement as the company grows. Sustainable employee engagement in turn builds a thriving, positive work culture into the company core and paves the way for future success.
Why Is Employee Engagement Important for Your Sustainability Program?
Employee engagement is essential to the success of your sustainability program because it brings the motivation and commitment needed to take on new challenges. Adopting green business practices is new territory for many companies unfamiliar with sustainability which is another reason why employee engagement is so vital.
Engaged employees who feel supported and have a sense of purpose are often more productive and motivated to problem solve and contribute quality work. Implementing a corporate sustainability program can be an ambitious feat and therefore requires a team dedicated to the cause.
Benefits of Employee Engagement Sustainability
Building employee engagement sustainability means long-term benefits for your company operations such as:
- Organized Workflow and Team Collaboration – Engagement allows for employees to put their brains together and create a dynamic workflow like a well-oiled machine. Given everyone is contributing equally, team collaboration can propel any company initiative such as your sustainability program forward with a wealth and diversity of skills and insight.
- Effective Communication – Employee engagement sustainability also builds effective communication as a standard company habit. Engagement encourages open communication in which all employees feel supported and heard.
- Identifying and Addressing Concerns Quickly – Also linked to effective communication, engaged employees are more likely to be proactive and apt to identify and address issues as they arise. Engagement helps fuel employee passion while discouraging idleness.
- Consistent Progress and Goal Attainment – Strong employee engagement paves the way for steady progress towards reaching company goals. Employees passionate about their work and the success of their peers strive to see the company excel and their hard work pay off.
- Willingness to Participate – Employees who feel valued and supported are more likely to participate in new company initiatives because they know their contribution matters and makes a difference.
- Increased Creativity and Innovation – Engagement values employee input and encourages creative thinking and innovation. This can offset the “staleness” of day-to-day work tasks and satisfy forward-thinking employees.
- Increased Productivity and Performance – Engaged employees who feel valued and find purpose in their work feel are often more satisfied and willing to give their best effort.
- Greater Mindfulness – Engaged employees are more likely to think about the long term effects of their decisions on the company and their peers, the community and the environment.
- Higher Job Satisfaction and Lower Churn – All of the support and opportunities that employee engagement brings translates into happier employees that are proud to be a part of the company and more likely to stick around.
Challenges of Employee Engagement Sustainability
It’s important to remember that employee engagement is not an event, an incentive program or a simple team building exercise. Employee engagement is an ongoing approach to employee wellbeing and purpose, and creating a nourishing workplace environment. There are some challenges to developing employee engagement sustainability including:
- Lack of Resources – Whether it’s material supplies and software or mental health resources, a company must be able to provide the resources employees need in order to perform their job well. It’s important to keep in mind that different employees perform differently and therefore may need different means of support.
- Burnout – Employee engagement sustainability is greatly threatened by job burnout whether it’s due to high workload stress, repetitive and monotonous tasks, or feelings of being undervalued.
- No Opportunities to Be Creative or Collaborate – The risk of burnout and disengagement is higher especially if there are no opportunities for employees to give input or collaborate with their peers.
- Unaware of Company Mission and Goals – Sometimes poor engagement is a matter of unawareness of what the company values and the larger purpose it is striving after. Employees may not see how their work connects to the company mission and goals.
- Resistance to Change – Employees may resist engagement if they feel that any new initiatives or changes will result in additional work for them.
How To Build Lasting Employee Engagement
Strong employee engagement evolves and shows steady improvement in the same way your other company operations doj. It takes consistent effort and time to build employee engagement that is sustainable and lasting. Here are some strategies for building employee engagement sustainability:
- Communication is Key – Keep employees in the loop on company goals, objectives and plans. Make sure they understand how their work fits into the big picture.
- Maintain Active Leadership – Ensure there is active leadership (especially from senior management) to guide and motivate your team. Active leadership sets the tone for progress, upholds company values and priorities, empowers employees and models the quality of performance that is expected from all staff. It ensures that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal.
- Encourage Feedback – Make it easy for employees to ask questions and provide input on decisions and plans affecting them. This will help them feel like they are part of the process and invested in the outcome.
- Offer Opportunities for Growth – Provide employees with opportunities to develop their skills, knowledge and sense of purpose. This can help keep them engaged and interested in their work. Some growth opportunities may be employee training and certifications, attending a conference or outreach event, or participating in team discussions.
- Communicate Company Mission and Values – Make sure employees understand the vision for the company and how they fit into it. Make it clear that you are invested in their success and that you value them as individuals.
- Set Goals and Expectations – Set goals and clearly define expectations. Employees need to know what they have to do and what the company expects of them. This can help them stay focused on their job and give them a strong sense of direction.
- Schedule Routine Checkpoints – Schedule weekly one-on-one checkpoints with your employees to evaluate their performance and goals, as well as invite them to bring forth any questions, concerns or new ideas. This helps evaluate the wellbeing of your team and the health of your employee engagement.