The importance of employee engagement can’t be overstated. Engaged employees are happier, more productive, and more likely to stay for the long haul. By contrast, disengaged employees are unsatisfied, under-productive, and likely to be using their lunch breaks—or even work time—to search for greener employment pastures.
Focusing on employee engagement of your Accounting and Finance personnel can save you a lot of money with increased productivity, decreased employee turnover, and reduced hiring expenses. It also comes with intangible benefits, such as a better work environment, a heightened sense of camaraderie and improved company performance through seasoned employees.
Despite the obvious benefits, engagement is not common among American employees. According to a study from MSW Research and Dale Carnegie Training, only 29 percent are fully engaged in their workplace roles—while 26 percent are fully disengaged.
How can you improve employee engagement in your company? Here are three ideas to get your employees excited about coming in to work every day.
Give them something to work toward and provide feedback
How would you feel if you were given a list of accounts and told to track the activity, compile reports repetitively, and send the results to an email address at the end of each day? Then, you aren’t sure if anyone cares about the results of all of your hard work because you don’t receive any feedback on your efforts? Or, you ask your boss why your department prepares certain reports and your question is met with either “I’m not sure” or, “because we’ve always prepared them.” Accounting and finance professionals usually communicate to us that they are frustrated, unhappy, or disengage because goals and feedback are not communicated effectively.
The more your employees understand about the value and importance placed upon their roles within your company, the more likely they are to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. In a workplace environment, everyone wants to feel like they’re part of an effective team. If your employees have no idea why the work they do matters, it won’t matter to them whether they do it.
So, keep everyone in the loop about the goals of the company, and how everyone contributes to those goals. You might put out a company or departmental newsletter, or create a bulletin board to chart the progress of your projects. When your employees feel valued, they’ll look forward to contributing to the overall growth of the organization.
Mind your management
The relationship between employees and superiors is an essential one. Managers can and do set the tone for their department, group, or team—and a bad boss can disengage employees to the point of no return.
Good supervisors create engagement with both established staff and new hires. Millennials, who are poised to make up 75 percent of the workforce within the next few years, are actually looking for a solid relationship with senior staff and managers as one of the most important reasons for taking a job. Current dissatisfaction with management is one of the common reasons that job seekers tell us they are ready to change employers.
If your workplace struggles with employee engagement or high turnover, it’s a good time to sit down with your management team and discuss what’s working—and what’s not. Investing in leadership training or management methodology courses can help improve the employee-superior relationship, and therefore increase engagement.
Cultivate your values
Many of today’s most successful and productive companies stand for more than profits and paychecks. An increasing number of people prefer to work for a socially responsible company. In fact, a recent survey from Bain & Co. found that 30 percent of employees would be willing to work for less money if their companies were more sustainable and globally conscious.
Your company culture is essential in bolstering employee engagement. When you have real-world values in place, your business becomes a desirable place to work—and you’ll not only engage your existing workforce, but also attract more top talent.
The road to employee engagement may not be short, but it’s straightforward and highly rewarding. What have you done to engage your employees today?