In the Global Employee Engagement Report released in 2018 by global outsourcing company Aon Hewitt, Filipinos were found to be one of the most engaged employees in Asia. According to the report, 7 out of 10 Filipino employees are highly engaged in their jobs. This makes the Philippines the second-highest among key economies in Asia-Pacific.
Employee engagement is the emotional commitment employees have for their job role as well as the company and its goals. With this definition comes the challenge for any organization to build a culture of engagement in the workplace to ensure optimal productivity in the workforce.
6 best employee engagement practices done by some of the world’s biggest brands:
1. Virgin Group: Ask for feedback and listen
As a natural way of things, employers are often the one to give feedback to employees about their job and performance. Meanwhile, the most successful companies know how the value of asking feedback and input from their people. Letting employees have a voice and actually listening to what they say are ways to ensure that they feel like they are making an impact in your organization.
“I am a firm believer in listening to your staff at all times. The moment you stop doing this, you are in danger of losing your best people.” - Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group
This is what giant conglomerate Virgin practices in their business. Their top management allows time to have a meaningful chat with their staff to hear insights and opinions. This culture of empathy allows them to intelligently shape their business strategy based on the experiences of those who work in the frontlines.
2. Southwest Airlines: Align business goals and individual purpose
Another best practice in employee engagement is transparency and alignment. Business organizations need to be clear about their mission. By doing this, employees get the chance to evaluate whether their personal values and beliefs are in line with the company they are in. It is important for employees to see themselves serving a purpose that creates a difference in their personal and professional lives.
“Southwest is a great place to work and brings the greatest joy because we have such a meaningful purpose.” – Gary Kelly, CEO, Southwest Airlines
For almost 50 years, Southwest Airlines managed to keep a team of committed, enthusiastic people dedicated and passionate to contribute to the company’s success. They inspire people by giving them a purpose greater than receiving a paycheck.
3. American Express: Reward achievements and behavior
Quantitative performance results are objective metrics during employee evaluation. However, it’s still good to look closer and see how the work is done.
“If you improve team members’ employability, it makes them more loyal and more engaged.” - Aaron McEwan, HR Advisory Leader, Gartner
Successful companies like American Express know this. When evaluating their employees, they look at intangible things—quality, consistency, collaboration, hard work. They reward their employees fairly based on this and the results of their work. Organizations that give recognition to high performers regardless of their behavior creates a culture of unhealthy competition and sends the message that goodwill is not important.
Read Related Article: 4 Ingredients for Successful Loyalty Program
4. DreamWorks Animation: Create a safe collaborative space
In any business organization, employees must know and feel that their ideas are welcome no matter how seemingly insignificant. This is particularly important in the creative industry, like DreamWorks Animation. It is a standard practice for them to create a safe haven for storytellers and artists in order to boost their creativity and do their best work. By doing so, they cultivate a foundation of respect and trust among their creatives.
“Everyone is allowed to contribute creatively. If people don’t have the right to fail, there is no way for them to succeed.” – Dan Satterthwaite, Head of HR, Dreamworks
5. Hyatt Hotels Corporation: Invest in employees
Employee investment is a classic strategy in employee engagement. Continuous learning motivates many employees. Feeling like they are undervalued or under-challenged makes them seek development opportunities outside the organization.
“We invest in potential. Hyatt is proud to partner with organizations around the world like Youth Career Initiative, Hands on Education, and Khan Academy to provide skill training, expanded career choices, and world-class education opportunities.” – Top 10 Reasons to Love Working at Hyatt
In an industry known for high employee turnover, the Hyatt Group manages to have high employee retention. This is because they actively promote employee development among their people. They commit themselves to make their employees grow as professionals. Not only this makes a satisfied team, but also more efficient and productive members of their workforce.
6. Google: Encourage flexibility
The biggest threat in employee engagement is employee burnout. Allowing employees to have more flexibility in their work schedules can prevent this, like how Google did.
“If you give people freedom, they will amaze you.” - Prasad Setty, Vice President of People Operations, Google
Google is one of the few technology companies that is very specific about its corporate culture. All their benefits encourage work freedom and flexibility. This is not to say to adapt and implement Google’s culture. There are still plenty of ways to encourage flexibility in the workplace such as having work-from-home days, flexible schedules, and allowing recreational time during work hours.
Employee engagement is a never-ending process. If you want an engaged workplace, you have to include every member of the organization on board. Of course, employee engagement strategies may vary per organization and you might find better practices that will work best for your company.
But what we can get from these best practices done by some of the world's biggest organizations is the fact that employee engagement goes a long way for the success of the company. The cost of unhappy people can be expensive for business. Keep in mind that an organization can only stand strong with dedicated and passionate employees who are willing to go the extra mile for the company's success.