Amid so many workplace challenges right now, I do help that organizations are choosing to prioritize the wellbeing and engagement of their employees. After all, we know how costly it is to have disengaged employees. We also know that engagement contributes to better customer service, greater profitability and organizational success, which are contributing factors to the lasting health of any business.
And, a study by Aon Hewitt found that, during the last financial crisis, companies with higher employee engagement relative to their peers during the economic downturn saw better short- and long-term returns. As businesses navigate another period of economic difficulty, employee engagement cannot be undervalued as a means of helping companies survive a tumultuous time and find a way to succeed.
Organize Your Employee Engagement Initiatives
Whether or not you have a Structural preference in Emergenetics, it can be helpful to use a framework to shape your priorities. In our recent eBook, Thriving in Uncertain Times: Engaging Employees During and Beyond the Pandemic, we utilized Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to consider employee engagement initiatives.
Even though the theory is more than 50 years old, its building blocks still offer a practical way to organize initiatives that support employee satisfaction and motivation.
Apply Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in the Workplace
At the base of the Hierarchy are the essential needs that your employees require in order to feel stable. In the workplace, these interests may include a living wage, benefits that support a person’s basic necessities and simply a space to get work done. Particularly in difficult times, employees can feel that even these base level needs may not be met, which can negatively impact motivation and engagement, so building a solid base is essential.
The next level considers safety. As we reflect on the year we’ve had, security may feel even more important – and difficult to achieve – as the pandemic has threatened our health, personal safety and in many cases our financial stability. For leaders seeking to engage their employees, be mindful of the safety practices your company has implemented in the workplace as well as identify initiatives that will help you build an environment that provides a physically and emotionally safe space for staff.
Ascending another level are social needs. A sense of belonging goes beyond simply making your staff feel that they are in a non-threatening work environment. To ensure employees’ social needs are met, I invite you to focus on programs and initiatives that encourage positive working relationships between staff members, enhance team dynamics, support work-life integration and build a positive, connected workplace culture.
When leaders prioritize their employees’ self-esteem needs, we often see an investment in programs and initiatives that help team members feel respected and appreciated for their work. You may consider incorporating new methods for employee recognition, creating coaching or mentoring programs as well as seeking out new opportunities for staff that will allow them to discover and utilize their talents.
At the top of the hierarchy is self-actualization where employees feel capable of and encouraged to achieve their full potential. Companies that prioritize self-actualization to drive engagement often focus on career pathing, stretch assignments and upskilling and reskilling to drive employee growth. In addition to motivating staff, these priorities often directly impact long-term business outcomes by helping employees develop skillsets that will push the organization forward.
Identify Your Priorities for Employee Engagement
When businesses can meet each of these employee needs, their staff will be in a much better position to engage with work, build high-performing teams and drive organizational success. And, in times of challenge, we know that it can be difficult for companies to support every single layer effectively.
As you establish your priorities for the coming year, I invite you to consider where you are currently focusing your energies as well as which elements of the hierarchy you feel could be most meaningful for your staff and organization. I also encourage you to download our eBook, so that you can take our quiz to identify specific strategies and program ideas to support enriched employee engagement!
If you’d like to learn more about how Emergenetics® can help enhance engagement in your organization, fill out the form below to speak with a team member today.