We live in a knowledge-based economy, where intellect is capital. The need for knowledge, information and high skill levels is greater than ever. With information being freely available, the speed of change taking place is quick.
An engaged workforce is the pillar of any successful business. Disengaged employees are a major cost for companies, while engaged employees give their best at work every day, committed to success.
What is employee engagement, really?
One can quickly define engaged employees as being happy and satisfied with their work, and while this is true, it’s more than that. It’s an emotional connection between the employee and employer, trust between the employer and employee, and the employee’s complete dedication to their work and the company’s success. A lack of employee engagement results in miscommunication, unproductivity and poor business performance. $11 billion is lost annually due to employee turnover.
Let’s look at the flipside. Companies with engaged employees outperform those by up to 202% (Gallup). Engaged employees are often top performers and bring innovation to their work. On an individual level, engaged employees are happier, healthier and also more engaged outside of work.
Related: Engaging Employees Through Trust and Ownership
What is needed for employees to feel engaged?
Employee engagement today looks very different than 50 years ago, with information moving at such great speed. Claiming that employees are the products of the knowledge-based economy may sound strange, but the fact is that brands are not just associated with their products, but their people.
The right information & knowledge
People are hired for the knowledge they have, and the things they can still learn. Professionals need access to the information that is needed to manage and succeed in what they do. In practice, this can mean providing relevant company-related or third-party content for employees to engage with, and surveying any information needs the employees may have. Engaging employees through their knowledge and skills, and encouraging them to share this knowledge and their experiences externally is one of the most powerful ways to integrate employees into the company mission and collaborate with each other.
The right technology
Digital tools and social networks have changed the world, and the workplace. For employees to become knowledgeable as quickly as possible, they need the right technology. The right technology allows knowledge to find employees, instead of employees having to look for it. With the right employee communication tools, employers can curate the content they wish their employees to see, and target it accordingly. Tools that involve social media and a focus on mobile features are particularly effective for engagement, for they blur the line between external and internal communication.
Alignment with the company
When employees are aware of the company’s mission and receive updates firsthand from the company, which they can share with others, they get a sense of being part of the company’s communication strategy, not simply those being communicated to. Engaging through being well informed means that there are few communication gaps and little hierarchy.
Personal growth is the biggest retention tool companies can provide. Information and knowledge should never be just about the employer, there should be something in it for the employee. With intellectual capital, there is plenty. The opportunity to become a thought leader in their own space and grow professionally is a major perk of being provided with the latest, relevant content to engage with and share with others.
Employee engagement has never been more important. With information spreading like wildfire on social media, the good and bad experiences shine through on social. Engaging employees through knowledge has long-lasting effects on the business, and employees alike.