You already know how important employee engagement is to the continued success of your organisation. High levels of engagement mean greater profitability, higher levels of quality and productivity, and better retention levels. Engaged employees tend to be happier, healthier, and more loyal to your organisation.
But how important is your company purpose, strategy, and vision in driving this engagement? And what tools can you employ to make this easier?
Over the last three years UK businesses have seen employee engagement fall to a record low.
Already in a near-decade long decline, universal engagement took a beating when COVID19 struck, leaving many employees working in isolation, furloughed, or out of work altogether.
Although just 14 per cent of people in Europe feel actively engaged in their work, the UK lags behind other European countries with just nine per cent of workers feeling enthused by their work compared to Germany’s 16 per cent and 33 per cent in the most engaged nation, Romania.
of UK employees are actively engaged
Leaders are looking to find the solutions to drive engagement, and much of our work at Silicon Reef is focused on finding the route to Work Happy for our clients and their employees.
The working environment, regular communication, the right tools to do their jobs, and the ability to find a work life balance are all key factors in engaging your workforce, but right at the centre of this is the very human need employees have to understand the role they play in the company’s success.
Much like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you could look at employee engagement as a hierarchy of employee needs.
This work-based hierarchy works upwards ensuring – at its most fundamental level – an employee’s physiological needs (I have the tools, I feel safe), through security (I am supported and my employer cares about me) to belonging (I feel connected to my team), esteem (I am confident in my ability, and I am contributing to the company), and, finally, self-actualisation (I feel inspired to do my best).
The esteem stage of this hierarchy is where businesses need to engage employees with the company purpose, strategy, and values, and make sure they understand the role they play in achieving these. Employees too need to have the opportunity to input into this purpose and feel listened to and included in the company’s vision.
The Impact of Purpose
It could be argued that the main driver behind companies articulating their purpose is to satisfy external stakeholders, including customers, shareholders, and investors. However, research from PWC found that,
“employees see purpose as a way to bring meaning to their work and understand the contributions they are making to the company…employees need to find this meaning in their daily work in order to be fully engaged.”
This has become even more relevant now with Gartner finding that the pandemic “has been a catalyst to elevate personal purpose and values.” They surveyed over 3,500 international employees in October 2021, and 65% said the pandemic made them rethink the place that work should have in their life.
“The era of the employment contract, when a worker provided services purely in exchange for monetary compensation, is over,”
says Gartner. Employees want their employers to both recognise their value and provide value back to them on a human level, bolstering their esteem and making them feel secure and assured in their value.
Monetary compensation remains vital for surviving, but deeper relationships, a strong sense of community and purpose-driven work are essential for employees to thrive, and this is where engagement happens.
How to Engage Employees with Your Company Purpose, Strategy, and Vision
Let’s start with the fundamentals. Specifically aligning your employees’ focus with business outcomes can directly drive performance as well as improving engagement.
Clear, data-driven goals that can be directly traced back to business goals bring together business outcomes with the individuals’ objectives and creates a productive environment for success at every level. Ensuring these goals are tangible and can be measured is imperative.
Launched in the 1980s, and popularised by Google’s adoption of the methodology in 1999, the objectives and key results (OKR) goal-setting framework has escalated in popularity due to its ability to help organisations define goals or objectives at every level and then track the outcome.
An OKR works in the same way whether you are setting a short-term micro goal, or an ambitious, long-term objective. In a 2022 Microsoft report, 80% of employees said that an OKR framework helps create a higher-performing team. Giving your employees the ability to stay close to these goals, and track their progress against them, is essential to maximising their impact and ensuring sustained engagement with company purpose at an individual level.
Indeed 96% of individuals who actively use OKRs say that they clearly understand how their work connects to their company’s broader goals, playing directly to their need to feel esteem in the workplace.
say an OKR framework creates a higher performing team
who use OKRs understand how their work connects to company goals
How? Use Viva Goals to ensure that your organisation and team OKRs are always visible and accessible to your employees.
This Microsoft Viva module has been conceived to facilitate clear, consistent goal-setting to link essential employee experiences and business outcomes. Viva Goals enables you to give every member of every team visibility into the business’s overall goals and see how their day-to-day work drives results toward those goals.
Your company purpose and vision go beyond your objectives. Instilling purpose in your organisation doesn’t start and end with objective setting, and communication about the evolution and progress of your strategic goals will be fluid and ongoing.
Maintaining clear and engaging lines of communication with your employees will both provide the security they need – that their knowledge is up to date, and that the leadership cares about them to keep them informed – and the sense of belonging they want – from a shared awareness and a shared goal.
This requires a well-organised and consistent internal communication strategy, and the right platform and tools to share information in a seamless and inspirational way.
Equally, employees will be more engaged with your strategic goals if they are invited to be a part of the discussion, and more likely to draw value from your purpose if they can see the part they played in shaping it.
You therefore need to provide the opportunity for employees to provide genuine input, that they can see is being listened to and potentially woven into the way you articulate your vision.
Whether this is through a regular forum, a wiki of FAQs, or even ask-and-answer sessions with the leadership you need to provide a route for employees to be part of the conversation to guarantee genuine engagement with your purpose.
How? Viva Connections helps communicate and shape your company culture by providing the platform to communicate your purpose, strategy, and vision, and allowing employees a forum to contribute and share views.
Connections helps to make strategic communication seamless as it offers information and conversation in one place, in the flow of work. Supporting the hybrid workforce, Connections keeps employees connected with each other and provides the relevant content to the right audiences to ensure no one misses out.
How? Beacon from Silicon Reef provides all the tools you need to help you create engaging intranet pages in SharePoint. With no need for designers or developers, you can quickly build out branded pages that convey your company messages and align with your vision, keeping your communications fresh and up to date with no need for IT or external support.
With rich media components, an accessibility checker to ensure inclusivity, and a branding customiser you can ensure your brand is protected as you manage your strategic comms.
Silicon Reef services, including support with Microsoft Viva, and our products, such as Beacon, have been shaped to help you engage, inspire, and communicate with your employees.