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New Research Reveals the Biggest Driver of Employee Engagement. 3 Simple Strategies Can Help You Take Advantage

The most important factor in driving employee engagement isn’t pay or benefits.

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BY Adam Robinson - 07 Jun 2018

New Research Reveals the Biggest Driver of Employee Engagement. 3 Simple Strategies Can Help You Take Advantage

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Employee engagement is at an all-time high.

According to the 2018 Trends In Global Employee Engagement report, research issued by Aon, a global human resources consultancy, companies in 2018 are reporting the highest level of employee engagement since the firm began tracking this metric.

The report defines an engaged employee as someone exhibiting the following characteristics or behaviors:

  1. They say positive things about their organization, or act as advocates;
  2. They intend to stay at their organization for a long time;
  3. They are motivated to give their best efforts to help the organization succeed

Across more than eight million responses at more than 1,000 companies, Aon highlighted that, for the second straight year, one factor more than any other was a positive driver of employee engagement:

Recognition.

The report's results show that "recognition for contributions beyond pay and benefits" has the single-largest positive impact on a employee's level of engagement. Compensation is important, the report asserts, but it's the non-monetary rewards that shine the brightest.

For small, high-growth firms, three simple strategies can help you improve execution in this area:

Integrate senior leadership into new employee on-boarding.

Giving your new hires access to senior leaders during the on-boarding process builds trust and reduces anxiety. At Hireology, we've started organizing "Ask Adam Anything" sessions with new hires to give them direct access to the CEO, and to provide an open forum for them to ask questions. Typically, these sessions include an average of five new hires and take place monthly.

These sessions ensure that I get an opportunity to meet everyone as individuals, and to get to know them on a personal level. My goal during these meetings is to learn one thing about each person in the room that I didn't know before. That way, as they progress in their on-boarding process, I can check in individually and weigh in with feedback.

Give public recognition.

The report's data is clear: public recognition is a sure-fire way to drive engagement. If you're not already doing so, organize regular all-company events that incorporate a public recognition component to highlight member of your team who are doing great things. The big deal that closed, the important new product feature that just shipped, the customer account that was saved--these are all examples of things that can be showcased with everyone in attendance.

At Hireology, we organize a weekly all-company huddle, and yes, all 170 employees are expected to attend. We've invested the time and resources in video conferencing technology to ensure that everyone attending has a great experience; nothing kills the fun faster than choppy internet or a bad mic. We have both peer-nominated weekly "core values shout-outs" where team members are recognized for exhibiting one or more of our core values, and we highlight individual performance in our metrics section. It's fun, it's inspiring, and it's important that we do it.

Write personal notes.

When was the last time you received a hand-written note from a board member, investor, mentor or manager about a job well done? It felt pretty good, right?

When was the last time you took the time to hand-write a note to someone in your company on a job well done, or at an important milestone? Early in my career, I was fortunate to be taught the power of handwritten notes as a way to differentiate yourself with prospects and customers. I've since taken that approach and incorporated it into how I manage the build and manage culture here at Hireology. One small example: I hand write a "congratulations" note for every employee on their anniversary with the company. I want our team members to know that I know they have choices, and to thank them for choosing to invest their professional time with us.

The Aon report also highlighted an important, but intangible, aspect of employee engagement: the future. The researchers state that, "Employees want more exposure to senior leadership and strategy," and they want to hear from them about the future direction of the business. They want to be invested in the outcome.

What are you doing to drive employee engagement through recognition?

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