December 3, 2021

Employee engagement, the secret of productivity



5 min reading

Motivating and keeping employees engaged is crucial in the age of hybrid work.

Motivating and keeping employees engaged is crucial in the age of hybrid work that combines face-to-face and teleworking. In 2022, employee engagement will remain the number one challenge for internal communication departments.

With only 7% of employees feeling truly engaged at work, France is the worst performer in Western Europe according to the Gallup study "State of the Global Workplace 2021 ". This result, well below the European average of 11%, has been falling for several years. This rate of engagement was 11% 10 years ago.

More than a quarter of employees now feel 'disengaged': they just do their hours without motivation and they no longer truly share the company's values.

We can learn from the practices of our German and American neighbours, who reach 15% and 34% of engagement respectively.

But what is employee engagement, why is it important and how can you rekindle this flame in your teams?

Commitment as a driver of employee productivity

The Covid-19 pandemic and its episodes of imposed teleworking have strongly affected the motivation of employees. Reviving employees' interest in their company and their missions has become a key issue for communication departments. Not only does maintaining a high level of engagement mean employee loyalty, but it is also a driver of operational efficiency and innovation for the company. In a previous edition, the Gallup survey estimated the impact of engagement on productivity:

  • 17% higher productivity for highly engaged employees,
  • a 40% decrease in quality problems,  
  • 21% higher profitability for companies that succeed in engaging their staff.

In conclusion, an engaged employee is more efficient in his or her work and stays longer in the company in order to develop within the organization. In addition, they will act as ambassadors for their company among their peers and may recommend it to future candidates for employment.

💡 To go further, find out how to turn your employees into ambassadors

These highly engaged employees are valuable in terms of facilitating collaborative arrangements. If they are given the means, they can prove to be real drivers of ideas for their company, ideas that can be transformed into innovations.

What is employee engagement really?

It is not easy to define employee engagement precisely. Commitment is often associated with an employee's personal investment in the company. It is primarily a question of his or her involvement on a daily basis to achieve objectives, but not only. Indeed, commitment can take more indirect forms. It is also the motivation that an employee will instil in his or her team and the quality of his or her exchanges with colleagues during meetings or on collaborative tools. In addition to his or her work, an employee's commitment reflects his or her involvement in the company's culture.

💡 To go further, find out how to create a strong corporate culture

According to Gallup experts, for an employee to be able to assert himself in his work and be fully committed, his company must create a suitable work environment. This makes it possible to satisfy 4 needs, based on Maslow's pyramid of needs. :

  • At the bottom of this pyramid are the basic needs: the company must provide him with the material means adapted to the accomplishment of his mission. He must have clear objectives and the means to achieve them.
  • Once these basic needs have been met, the employee must have the support of his or her management and real recognition in his or her work. Once this need for personal affirmation has been satisfied, the employee must interact with his or her colleagues as part of a team.
  • This group work highlights the need to interact within the organisation, but also to be able to build camaraderie with team members.
  • Finally, at the top of this pyramid, the feeling of being able to progress personally as well as within the company.

Measuring employee engagement

Employee engagement comes in many forms and this is why companies conduct surveys to measure it. Questionnaires are distributed annually or monthly to identify the level of commitment of each department and to distinguish the ambassador populations from the detractors. Some companies have implemented the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) indicator to monitor employee engagement with their employer.

New metrics have been added to the HRD tools. They differ from engagement and quality of work life barometers in their immediacy. These are the statistics from corporate social networks and collaborative tools such as Teams. These include the number of impressions of a piece of content, the number of mentions, the rate of engagement of a piece of content, etc. You can then set up a Dashboard to group these metrics together. It will allow management to follow the evolution of the indicators and possibly take measures.

💡 To go further, discover 11 tools to urgently integrate with Microsoft Teams

Re-engaging with a teleworking company

The recipes for increasing employee involvement are well known. Communication and HR departments are used to organising team building operations around evenings, sports events, cultural workshops or team games such as Paint Ball or Escape Game. Some companies organise associative missions in order to reinforce the feeling of belonging to a company culture.

Health constraints have somewhat challenged these traditional approaches. HR managers have to rely much more on internal communication tools to rekindle the flame of employees for their company. Indeed, Beezy's recent 2021 Digital Workplace trends & insights report points to the difficulty of recreating a simple sense of camaraderie on digital tools. 51% of respondents say they find it difficult to stay focused on their remote work and 41% no longer feel a sense of camaraderie with their colleagues. This detachment clearly raises the question of sharing the corporate culture via digital channels: 39% say they have lost a sense of the corporate culture that is far too distant.

The report also highlights that more video calls are not the answer to disengagement. 54% of respondents say they attend far more meetings by video than they did in person before the pandemic.

💡 To go further on this issue of video conferencing, discover how to create interactive meetings with Microsoft Whiteboard

In such a context, the role of internal communication and community leaders is to inject the human element into these digital tools. Employees must have the feeling that when faced with a professional or more personal problem, they will find support and assistance on the intranet. The role of these community leaders is in a way to re-establish this social link between employees by using digital tools. Only a strategy of inclusion will enable the company to re-establish these links with its employees, which have become somewhat weakened since the health crisis.

The intranet platform must be sufficiently simple to implement and have tools to help with contributions so that business users can easily take advantage of it and produce content.

The key role of the intranet in employee engagement

In this context, the role of the intranet is key. Traditionally, it should inform employees about company news, but also encourage employees to react and publish relevant content. The communication department must encourage the creation of professional communities on its intranet. It can initiate the process by appointing community leaders. These are employees who are particularly motivated by a theme and whose role is to share relevant content on the intranet. They can also act as ambassadors for their team's work by highlighting achievements.

💡 To go further, find out how to create an internal social networking platform without getting it wrong

The intranet platform must be simple enough to implement and have tools to assist contribution so that business users can take ownership of it and produce content simply. Tools such as polls, comments, quizzes and the use of " Gamification " of applications will increase user engagement on an intranet. Community managers can launch competitions with their colleagues, share news or start debates.

Another way of creating commitment is to introduce office rituals, even if some team members are teleworking. You can imagine online coffee breaks, to meet at a fixed time and discuss non-work related issues.

Be careful, however, not to multiply the number of digital devices ad infinitum. The Beezy study shows that 41% of the employees questioned already feel overwhelmed by the number of digital tools imposed on them by their company. And worse, 12% of them feel extremely overwhelmed. To avoid this feeling, it is necessary to accompany the change but above all to choose an intranet which is both ergonomic and integrated, like the Mozzaik365 solution which brings more uniformity to the collaborative bricks of Microsoft 365. All the functions linked to the improvement of the user experience and its engagement must be part of a coherent whole and not the juxtaposition of a multitude of heterogeneous tools.

Things to remember

📌 High levels of engagement mean employee loyalty and can be a driver of operational efficiency and innovation;

📌 It is possible to generate 21% higher profitability when companies manage to hire their staff ;

📌 Employee commitment is the involvement of an employee in his or her company;

📌 The eNPS, Employee Net Promoter Score, is the indicator that tracks employees' engagement with their employer;

📌 Intranet is one of the tools to improve the engagement of remote and physical employees.

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