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Employee engagement: 6 keys to improve it

6 min.

employee engagement

The most engaged teams would be 17% more productive and 21% more profitable than those suffering from disengagement at work. But… A new study conducted by Gallup reveals a massive drop in employee engagement in France: only 6% of them will be engaged in their work in 2022. Hence the desire of companies to focus their efforts on strengthening professional commitment in the coming period.

What is employee engagement for Professional Services?

Emplyee engagement is the degree of attachment and involvement of an employee with respect to his or her assigned tasks and role in the group. This commitment to work translates into a strong feeling of belonging to the team, loyalty to the company, sharing common values and the ability to go beyond one’s limits and put in more effort.

For this feeling to be real, the main lever seems to be based on management: simple and common sense principles, but which require a certain operating mode based on six key factors detailed below. Advantage for the company: more committed to their missions, the employee would be more efficient and would be less seduced by other professional opportunities. In 2019, a Hays study demonstrates the link between employee engagement and performance. The advantage for the company is twofold: if the employee feels good about his or her job, he or she is more likely to remain loyal to the company and even to recommend it. In short, it is a good tool for retaining talent, with turnover down by an average of 14%. But also, companies in which employees feel engaged record more than 40% operational efficiency.

Why this disengagement at work?

So what are the causes of this disengagement at work, for which French employees would occupy the top of the podium in Europe? Indeed, only 6% of French employees will be engaged in the workplace in 2022. According to the latest Gallup report “State of the Global Workplace”, the main source of employee disengagement is a feeling of unfair treatment at work. This is followed by an unmanageable workload, unclear communication from leaders, lack of support from managers and unreasonable time constraints. This situation is undoubtedly indicative of the difficulty of managing today, in a context of accelerated business transformation and widespread teleworking for employees.

Employee engagement: the 6 keys

According to Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman, two experts in leadership and behavioral science, the cards are essentially in the hands of managers. Of course, the working environment and conditions, as well as compensation, remain key factors in employee satisfaction. But a good relationship with one’s N+1 would be much more decisive to give the best of oneself in the company. Here is their secret, in 6 key points: 

  1. Communicate and show the way: be able, as a manager, to communicate clearly, while knowing where you are going
  2. Inspire and motivate: know how to generate loyalty, passion and enthusiasm in your team
  3. Have ambitious objectives: define them as a team, so that employees feel valued and more competent
  4. Have integrity and trust: keep your promises and never ask your team to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself
  5. Develop” others: focusing on the deployment of your team members will attract talent to you
  6. Asking for feedback: accepting criticism and improving your work takes courage and respect

Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman point out that managers who are able to deploy all these capabilities are “true unicorns”! Only 13% of the 60,000 executives surveyed in this study are among them.

How to measure and value employee engagement?

Are you satisfied with your work? Does it meet your expectations? Is your organization close to the ideal company? The principle of the Employee Satisfaction Index (ESI) is simple: employees answer these 3 questions, with a rating scale from 1 to 10. This index gives the overall temperature of your employees’ satisfaction. It can then be compared from year to year to analyze its evolution. Other indicators allow you to measure the commitment of your teams to their work; the turnover rate, absenteeism or the famous “Employee Net Promoter Score”. The latter measures the rate of recommendation and commitment of the company’s employees. It is based on the following question and scored on a scale of 0 to 10: “Would you recommend someone you know to come and work for our company?

On the more intuitive side, you can identify the key moments of engagement at work; onboarding, friendly rituals, transformations, reorganizations, moves, etc. The idea is to value the most committed talents by giving them, for example, a special status such as a role as leader of a community of interest or expertise. It may be possible to offer them a “job crafting” system, i.e. to create or develop their mission, and by extension their compensation.

Things to remember about employee engagement

As we have seen, the notion of commitment at work is plural and the drivers of commitment in companies are numerous. But what remains unique and unchanging is the psychological drivers that make the difference. Recognition, valuing talents, attentive listening and co-construction of meaning and missions remain the main ingredients to create a strong and authentic feeling of belonging to this collective entity that is the company. To do this, think about interviewing your talents to identify their sources of motivation or, on the contrary, what causes their disengagement.

And to finish on a light note, but one that is important: in parallel to this record-breaking professional demobilization, French employees declare themselves much more fulfilled in their personal lives (43%). However, they are far behind their Finnish and Danish counterparts. The world of work is changing and becoming more collaborative. Everyone has a part to play and a contribution to make. It’s up to all of us to converge and contribute together to building a professional world that is fulfilling and respectful of the greatest number.

Key figures

59% of French employees consider QWL to be the most important issue on which to act.

84% of millennials make well-being at work the number one criterion for choosing a company.

Compensation is of interest to only 46% of them.

An organization with highly engaged employees grows 2.5 times more revenue than a similar company (Journal of Corporate Finance)