Is there a difference between happy employees and engaged employees? Now this is a question few HR specialists and consultants know the right answer to, and the right answer (a lot of managers had to learn since 2012) is that not only that there is a difference, but it is a huge one.
Traditionally, companies, no matter how big or small, if are concerned with employee retention and turnover (the former having to have statistically greater rates than the latter), they employ custom – designed strategies to ensure their employees are happy with their job and workplace environment. Some of them practice “the satisfaction questionnaire”, while others implemented individually built professional plans for each of their staff, only to keep them retained and happy.
But happiness at the workplace is not enough and the concept of “employee engagement” took over the recruitment and the human resources management world, receiving a spotlight back in 2012. Since then, there are few experts who still don’t know or haven’t applied the rules of engagement in their companies.
Let’s talk about happiness
Experts from Yast proceeded to making an extended analysis on what makes employees happy and not wanting to leave the companies they work for, and, just as the guys over HR Morning say, the reasons for happiness don’t refer to paychecks and bonuses. The infographic available is quite self – explanatory, but we will focus on some key aspects that should be taken into consideration by those managers who want to play even a better game and turn their employees from happy to engaged.
65% of the happy employees who want to stay in their company also stated that they would work even harder if their work would be better recognized and appreciated
1/3rd of U.S. workers said they listen to music at work, in comparison to 77% of U.K. workers who listen to music at work and declare higher levels of employee morale, overall satisfaction and improved productivity.
Free time to use the Internet for personal reasons was reported as actually increasing employee productivity with 9%, while equally high levels of work performance and staff happiness were reported in those working environments where the policies of the 10 minutes outdoor or stretching breaks were implemented.
Other things that keep employees happy are, of course, bonuses, balanced professional – personal lives, their direct bosses, the colleagues and other non – financial benefits, such as extra insurance, days off, paid overtime and so on.
How happy are engaged employees?
Specialists will never tire to repeat that having engaged employees doesn’t mean just being happy. You can be happy and then leave for another company that just bided 10% over your actual pay or inserted a few more days off. You can still be perfectly happy with your company and still leave. And managers should not sleep on this one, as it’s not enough to keep them happy, no matter how sophisticated your retaining strategies are. They need to be engaged. How does that work?
Gallup provides maybe the simplest and the fairest definition of engagement, although things are not simple at all: “Engaged employees are passionate about their work. They’ve got a genuine connection with their employers and their co-workers. They’re the engine that pulls the company train.” Everything sounds good so far, but let’s take a realistic look at things: Are employees actually truly engaged? The statistics are concerning: 63% of U.S. employees said they weren’t engaged in their jobs when assessed in the Towers Watson Global Workforce Study in 2012. Let’s not forget that they may be happy, but not yet engaged.
So what is there to be done?
Somebody said that Employee Engagement is like the Moby Dick of HR: everybody is talking about it, nobody actually ever saw it, and few people dared capturing it. The profile of an engaged employee is quite easy to figure out: respect between the company (the boss) and the employee should be mutual, freedom should be valued and should promote self discipline and self responsibility, the benefits should go beyond money, the employees should feel they belong to something important and their work matters for something, the working environment should allow personal and professional growth, there should be room for each employee to grow, learn, improve and put his or her talents in the company’s interest. Sounds easy, but it’s not.
Where to start?
In the article “Defining the two most important challenges HR faces today”, specialists present a top ten list of common reasons that make employees to feel engaged and not want to leave a company, together with a set of general guidelines for managers on how to build engagement and retaining strategies. There are plenty of resources out there and just like the employees should benefit of self – development with the support of their managers, so should managers openly discuss, debate and work together with their staff on reaching common goals of engagement.