This guest blog post was written by Dr. David Marshall, a technical writer and a training developer since 2007. He is also the owner of Neithdos Consulting Services LLC. Dr. Marshall received his DM in Executive Leadership from Colorado Technical University in 2021. Currently, Dr. Marshall lives in Summerville, South Carolina and is planning on following up his dissertation on Changes Executives Need to Implement to Promote Women to Executive Positions with additional articles to business journals.

Being the owner of a small business, there are many things that are needed to operate, such as capital, supplies, a place to work, and a talented team. Recently I have taken great interest in this time we are currently in. Not only with Covid-19 but also with the Great Resignation. What is this Great Resignation? How did it get started? Who does it benefit? Who does it hurt? Should I worry about it with a team of only three? These are questions that I may write about later. However, I believe that one of the contributing factors to the great resignation and why people are walking off the job and looking for new places to work is employee engagement.

In this blog, we are going to look at employee engagement. What is employee engagement? Why is employee engagement important in the workplace? How can we as business owners, leaders, managers, and supervisors boost employee engagement? And most importantly in our world, how can creating content improve employee engagement in the workplace? Read on as we dive into how creating a learning journey improves employee performance.

What is Employee Engagement?

There are several definitions of what employee engagement is, but the common is, “An engaged employee is a team member who is fully engaged or absorbed and is enthusiastic about what they are doing at the workplace. Employee engagement is the level of enthusiasm a team member feels towards the job. A fully engaged team member will take positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interest. The characteristics of an engaged member of the team could include:

  • Knowing the position how important it is to the organization and want to perform their best
  • Being very loyal to the company
  • Motivated to produce an excellent product or provide a great service not just only for the paycheck

Why is Employee Engagement Important in the Workplace?

So why do leaders, managers, supervisors, and even small business owners care about employee engagement? The goal of the organization is to make a profit and keep the company going. Right? Well, the way things are these days, especially with the Great Resignation, many people across the organization are taking a different view, especially with employee engagement.

There are a number of business leaders including Fortune 500 CEOS that believe employee engagement is one of the most important indicators in gauging employee productivity and satisfaction. Executives from around the world say that enhancing employee engagement is one of their top five global business strategies. Approximately 90% of the employees say that improving retention is a critical priority to the organization.

Employee engagement is vital because team members want to be involved in their work and want to be excited about the organization that they work for. Employee engagement is critical to a company’s success because it links to job satisfaction and morale.

Team members want a sense of belonging. In a survey, approximately 80% of the workers say that belonging is most important in a company’s success. In another survey, 95% of the individuals believe that a sense of belonging drives performance at the workplace.

However, leaders need to be careful with a low engagement level. In 2019, 39% of the workers were disengaged employees. About half of the employees are just showing up and punching a time clock and approximately 17% of the individuals were totally disengaged. That percentage of disengaged employees has been decreasing but this is still a high percentage. The factors for low engagement include:

  • Lack of recognition either by the supervisor, manager, or with the organization as a whole
  • Poor communications between team members or management
  • Not being familiar with the organization's goals or mission

Therefore, employee engagement is crucial. Having high morale and team members that want to produce will bring great benefits including:

  • Long term employee retention
  • Elevated levels of productivity
  • High quality of work
  • Reduce turnover which reduces hiring costs
  • Better chance of achieving the organization's goals
  • Higher revenue
  • Affects an organization's financial health and profitability
  • More profits

There are a few notable examples of employee engagement. The first one is a Tesla. Between 2015 and 2017 there were a high number of safety incidents at the Fremont Car Assembly Plant in Fremont, California. To cut down the number, and try to find the causes of these safety issues, Elon Musk encouraged more transparent communications between the employees and the management specifically to improve safety at the plant. This boosted employee engagement and reduced the number of incidents by 50%, in 2019 compared to 2018. Elon Musk himself went to talk to the injured workers on the production line to find out what happened and to see where safety improvements can be made.

Caterpillar increased employee engagement across one of its factories in Europe which saved the organization approximately nine million dollars annually from decreased attrition, absenteeism, and overtime. This increased profits by more than two million dollars and there was an increase of 34% in highly satisfied customers at the plant.

Molson Coors saved approximately 1.7 million dollars in safety costs in a year due to strengthening employee engagement in a year. With the increase of happy team members, there were sick time and safety incidents.

How Can We Boost Employee Engagement?

There are several steps that we can take as leaders to boost employee engagement. Giving the team flexibility on work schedules and locations. For example, in my startup business, the team is in Arizona and in South Carolina and we support clients in Asia, Europe, and the United States. Allowing a flexible schedule and allowing them to work from anywhere not only boosts employee morale but also helps with engaging customers from all over the world.

Communication is essential in building a strong relationship and achieving higher employee productivity. Communications build trust, improves relationships between the team members, supervisors, and management, helps employees align with the organization's goals and mission, and increases pride throughout the organization.

It is important that communications include teams that are working remotely or are always in the field. These are the two groups most likely to feel disengaged.

It is important to develop clear lines of communication, and promote transparency throughout the company.

Employee engagement can be fostered through effective communications. Best practices of effective communications include providing regular feedback, ensuring the team’s ideas are being heard and respected, making and discussing career advancement opportunities.

Ways to improve employee engagement:

  • Live the vision, mission, and values
  • Focus on onboarding
  • Train and encourage employees to succeed in their role and beyond
  • Recognize and reward your employee
  • Communicate feedback right away
  • Promote healthy work habits
  • Promote team activities
  • Conduct employee engagement surveys

How Can Writing Content Boost Employee Engagement?

Since most of the readers of this blog are in the writing business, we can use our talents to help boost employee engagement. I know that there are some of you wondering, how can we do that? How can writing documents, creating user guides, making technical manuals, or even leading a team of writers help boost morale? There are many ways to involve the team in the company’s social media strategy by including all members in the content creation process. This will increase brand awareness by humanizing the product or service. Involving the team in content creation is a wonderful way to connect to the audience and our eLearning software is the perfect tool to get started collaborating and disseminating personalized learnings to your team across platforms.

Involving the team in a brainstorming session is especially important, especially in bringing innovative ideas. The team knows the customer, their interests and interacts with them daily. Invite team members to posts. They are the experts, and the readers will trust them more. Sharing posts will encourage more members to share and promote the created content with others. Communicating the importance of having everyone participate in the content creation process. Motivate the team and tell them why the content is important.

When producing the team’s content, promoting their ideas boost morale in many ways. It is important to create links to social media in their articles. Promote the work from the team, people have more trust in the employees and more with the technical experts. Reach the market with voices that the customers will trust. This allows the team to showcase their pride and expertise.

  • Other ways to create employee engagement include:
  • Send out an employee survey
  • How can the program work best for the team
  • Provide personalized content to right team members
  • Make sure the team has access to the content and they are most likely to share the content on social media
  • Have a contest
  • Share the company’s products such as shirts, jackets, stickers, and other promotional items
  • Employee focused newsletters

Conclusion

As we can see, employee engagement is important not only to leaders, managers, or even small business owners like myself, it is vital to every one of the team. Anyone that does not feel engaged will not put in their best effort to contribute to the success of the team or the company. This will not only hurt the goal and mission of the organization but may also put a damper on one’s career.

There are a number of ideas to help improve an individual and the team’s morale. Communications, flexibility, awards, listening to ideas and suggestions, and involving the team in the content creation process.

Employee engagement is not a Human Resources responsibility. Leaders, supervisors, and managers need to drive engagement. Leaders account for approximately 70% of team engagement. Supervisors are with the team daily. Even business owners like myself with a small team need to get involved and implement employee engagement ideas. If not, there may not be a business to own soon.