Unveiling the Power of Employee Engagement: A Guide for HR Leaders

Start by fostering an environment that promotes growth, values contributions, and encourages open communication.

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape, measuring employee engagement is a must for companies wishing to remain adaptable and resilient. In fact, employee engagement is a key predictor of a company’s ability to withstand economic turbulence.

At Leapsome, we define employee engagement as the physical, cognitive, and emotional ways an employee contributes to and connects with their organization, echoing the sentiments of Dr. William A. Khan. Let’s explore the importance of employee engagement, along with its benefits, assessment methods, and best practice strategies from my experience scaling a successful employee-centric company.

Understanding the Benefits of Employee Engagement

Embracing employee engagement can unlock many benefits, positively impacting both employees and their organization.

First, engaged employees consistently demonstrate improved productivity and performance. When employees are actively engaged, they are more committed, exhibit enhanced creativity, and drive innovation, propelling organizations toward their goals faster.

Second, organizations with high employee engagement experience reduced turnover and absenteeism. Employees who feel connected and valued are less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere, resulting in a significant decrease in recruitment and onboarding costs.

Finally, an engaged workforce shows higher morale and satisfaction levels. High morale is contagious; it spreads throughout the organization, creating a positive work environment that attracts and retains talent.

Strategies for Improving Employee Engagement

Successful employee engagement initiatives require a proactive approach. To get you started, here are three foundational elements HR leaders should consider when implementing a new employee engagement strategy:

  1. Involve senior leadership. Leaders play a crucial role in shaping the engagement landscape. By promoting open communication, demonstrating empathy, and providing support, they can significantly impact employee engagement.
  2. Set clear expectations and goals. Employees thrive when they understand their role and the broader organizational objectives. Clear, concise, and achievable goals can drive motivation and engagement.
  3. Recognize and reward employee achievements. Recognition for a job well done makes employees feel appreciated and motivated to continue doing their best. As a result, a culture that frequently celebrates achievements not only supports engagement, but also drives performance and retention.

With these efforts, organizations can significantly improve their engagement levels.

Tips to Measure Effectiveness

Measuring engagement is crucial to understanding the overall health of your organization. The metrics can show you which initiatives are working well and what needs improvement.

To accurately gauge engagement, you need a reliable tool with science-backed analytics. Modern software offers a comprehensive view of engagement levels alongside actionable data to inform your decision-making and strategy. Surveys and interviews also can be helpful. Regular pulse surveys provide real-time feedback, while one-on-one conversations offer a deeper understanding of individual experiences and expectations.

Here are 10 methods we recommend for measuring effectiveness:

  1. Implement pulse surveys: These short questionnaires gauge employee sentiments on specific topics, helping companies gather timely, specific insights.
  2. Calculate your eNPS: The Employee Net Promoter Score measures how likely employees are to recommend the company as a great place to work.
  3. Ensure managers are holding regular one-on-one meetings: These meetings are essential for fostering engagement by providing regular feedback and support.
  4. Run employee exit surveys and interviews: These can help unearth issues that may be tricky to share in engagement surveys.
  5. Examine your feedback channels: Gain insights into your feedback culture and identify new methods to recognize and reward your people.
  6. Run diversity, equity, & inclusion (DEI) surveys: These surveys measure how inclusive and safe employees feel their workplace is.
  7. Create a focus group: Supplement numerical data with people-centric insights about specific company policies or initiatives.
  8. Conduct “stay” interviews: These interviews can help managers understand what keeps employees at the company.
  9. Organize teambuilding discussions: Drive engagement while providing a safe space for people to share their opinions.
  10. Start an employee ambassador program: Measure engagement by observing how employee advocates speak for your company.

Remember, experimentation is a key part of this process. Not all strategies will work for every company, and that’s OK. The goal is to discover what works best for your organization and team. While boosting employee engagement is a long-term commitment, it’s definitely achievable—with the right strategies in place.

More Than a Buzzword

Employee engagement is more than just a buzzword; it’s an essential factor for organizational success. By understanding its benefits, accurately measuring engagement, and implementing effective strategies, organizations can cultivate a highly engaged workforce.

The journey to high engagement demands effort, dedication, and patience. Start by fostering an environment that promotes growth, values contributions, and encourages open communication. Your reward will be a highly engaged workforce that is more productive and resilient, especially during times of change.

Jenny von Podewils is the co-founder and co-CEO of Leapsome, a people enablement platform backed by Insight Partners, Creandum, and Visionaries Club. Leapsome helps more than 1,500 companies (including Spotify, Unity, and monday.com) build high-performing teams by driving employee development, productivity, and engagement. von Podewils is an alumna of the Universities of St. Gallen and Oxford, and a fellow of Singularity University. Prior to Leapsome, she led teams in business development, corporate development, and digital transformation roles in media and tech companies. In recognition of her work, von Podewils was awarded Female Founder of the Year 2023 in the German Startup Awards and has been listed as one of the top 50 female entrepreneurs in Germany by Handelsblatt.