Employee Engagement: The Key to Effective Business Culture

by Steven Dashiell

Employees taking selfie

Building a strong culture for your business is an important part of creating a profitable company full of top talent. As you grow that culture, you want to make sure you also tend to the crucial element that makes your culture possible: your employees.

Without engaged employees, your company culture cannot have the positive impact on your bottom line that you’re looking for says Dwight Cooper, CEO of Hueman, 13-time Best Workplace and a Most Engaged company.

Related: Hueman's Culture-Based Recruiting Model Powers Strategic RPO

What Does Employee Engagement Mean?

There is no single definition of an “engaged employee,” but such an employee can be assumed to have a few particular qualities, including:

  • Buy-in with the company’s vision. The engaged employee fully supports the mission and purpose of the company, including the individual values that make up that purpose.
  • Willingness to take initiative. With knowledge of the company’s goals and values in mind, the engaged employee can take advantage of opportunities (or create them) without needing instruction.
  • Fluidity. The engaged employee can easily adapt to changes in company policy or direction, as well as take on new roles or skills as needed.

When considered in full, an engaged employee is willing to go above and beyond for the company, not just because they are paid well, but because they truly believe in the goals and values of the organization.

Tips for Employee Engagement From Hueman

You can’t have a Best Place to Work for 13 years in a row without having a group of truly engaged workers, and Hueman’s dedication to engagement is exactly what led them to such accolades, explained Cooper.

According to a Gallup, there are 12 important measurements that help identify the engagement of your employees:

  1. Know what’s expected. Employees are able to identify what is expected of them at work.
  2. Materials and equipment. Employees have all of the necessary materials needed to perform their job effectively.
  3. Opportunity to do best. Employees are given the opportunity to perform at their best.
  4. Recognition. Employees are recognized for their great work on a regular basis.
  5. Cares about me. Supervisors and other leaders show interest and concern for the lives of employees.
  6. Development. Employees are encouraged to develop their skills at work.
  7. Opinions count. An employee’s opinions and thoughts are acknowledged and make a difference.
  8. Mission/Purpose. Your company’s mission makes employees feel the job is important.
  9. Committed to Quality. Employees are committed to doing quality work.
  10. Best Friend. Employees make great friends at work.
  11. Progress. Individual progress is discussed with employees.
  12. Learn and Grow. Employees are given opportunities to learn and grow.

All are important engagement drivers, but there is a common thread among them, explained Cooper. “Among all of the top companies in the list of Best Places to Work, if you asked any of them what the most difficult aspect of creating engaged employees is, they would say communication.”

There are two staples of communication at Hueman that drove them to the top of the pack when it comes to employee engagement: bottom up communication and top down communication.

Hueman starts every work week with a communication exercise involving leaders and employees. During the exercise, leaders across the organization review data and slides with employees to give everyone an idea of what has been happening within the company. “We talk globally about what has been happening over the last week. It’s not urgent, but great for building that engaged workforce.”

Not all employees will get wrapped up in this top-down communication – some will be more engaged than others at first, notes Cooper. “However, we ask leaders speak to the person who is hanging on every word.”

Hueman’s counterpart to their top-down communication features a quarterly survey and data collection process from employees. “If you want to be great at everything, you need to be more than open door. We use this quarterly planning process.” Cooper advises companies collect info through surveys and use those surveys to transition into review periods. “Ten questions per employee is a lot of data.” After a series of 15-minute communications with employees, between 7 and 10 direct reports are created, followed by meetings between team members to discuss the answers.

“By doing this, we know we’re going to have better information about our business… It allows us to engage employees on a different level,” said Cooper.

Looking at engagement allows you to identify not just overall company effectiveness, but individual effectiveness of various teams, based on engagement, he adds. For more on fostering employee engagement and creating a culture of success, check out Cooper’s webinar: “Culture Fit Disrupted”.   

Suggested readings:

Success Story: Being the Best in the World at Building Business Culture

Why Your Talent Acquisition Plans Should Include Passive Candidates

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