If you are a part of the startup space, you are undoubtedly familiar with the ‘war for talent’ concept. As a result of the unprecedented growth seen in the tech industry, skills shortages and high employee turnover are hitting their record highs. Consequently, retaining the top talent occurs among the top challenges the startup landscape currently faces.
Simply put, how do you keep your people on board when every single day another company is ready to offer much more? The answer is – by keeping your employees engaged.
And yet, against all the odds, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace, only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged with their work. The situation is even worse in Western Europe where only 10% of employees are engaged in the workplace. Not to mention the UK, where the stats show a number as low as 8%.
So, given the fact that the talent war is one of today’s toughest startup challenges and employee engagement often comes as the best solution to the problem, the question is, why do companies fail to keep their talent committed?
The answer: It seems that driving employee engagement doesn’t come easy. People often confuse employee engagement with employee happiness, satisfaction and wellbeing. Employee engagement is more than just employee happiness or satisfaction (usually stemming from aspects such as employee autonomy, competitive salary and a multitude of bonuses and benefits schemes). An employee can be entirely content with their day-to-day life at work, but still be disengaged from their job.
Employee engagement relates to the level of an employee’s commitment and connection to an organisation. Engaged employees are emotionally committed to the business, its goals and its values, and are motivated to drive the organisation to long-term success.
Now, let’s look on the bright side! As a startup founder, by investing in employee engagement enhancement, you won’t only retain your talent but the chances are that such a strategy will help you position your brand well ahead of the pack.
To start with, assess the current state of your startup. Are your employees building a deep connection to your organisation? To help you find the answers and take the necessary steps moving forward, we have created a list of indicators that show if your employees are engaged and committed to your company’s success.
They align their career goals with the company’s objectives
Employees whose career goals are in line with the mission and vision of your company are much more likely to play a vital role in helping your business towards success. Getting everyone on the same page requires a lot of effort and patience and, hence, it is of great significance that you establish ongoing communication with your people on that matter and thoroughly understand their motives and career objectives.
They are emotionally committed to the company
Emotional commitment to work has four times the power to affect performance compared to the rational commitment, which results from employees’ financial-, developmental- and self-interests. Emotionally committed employees value, enjoy, and believe in what they do. They care about their company and truthfully want the best for it. If you ask your employees why they do what they do and the answer is “It’s what I do to get paid,” the emotional element is surely missing.
They are enthusiastic and possess a can-do attitude
Engaged employees are characterised by a positive, can-do attitude and great enthusiasm in everything they do. They are eager to rise to each challenge and see opportunities in both positive and negative situations. They approach each project with interest and are open to learning new skills. These employees are happy to provide assistance when and where possible without complaining that a task is not in their core area of specialisation.
They go above and beyond
Not-engaged workers usually do just not enough, or just enough, to meet the requirements of their jobs. Engaged employees, on the other hand, are willing to go the extra mile and make a special effort to achieve the desired results – whether that’s by suggesting new ideas or adding something extra to their task which was not asked of them. Overall, they can sometimes act in a way that exceeds expectations.
They communicate effectively with others
One of the characteristics that differentiates engaged from disengaged employees is the effort they put in establishing and maintaining effective communication with the rest of the team and the collaborators. Engaged employees are excellent team players and get along well with others. These people will go the extra mile to please the customers and empower their colleagues.
They take charge
Employees who are committed to their job accept responsibility for their tasks. When they say they will do something, there is no need to remind them three times. These team members take charge of their work and demonstrate accountability for all actions they take. Highly engaged employees have great predispositions for leadership roles too.
They act as leaders of culture
A highly engaged employee has a strong connection with the company’s values and has positive and encouraging things to say about the company in general. These employees immerse themselves in the culture and eagerly motivate others to follow their steps. They also serve as brand evangelists and help promote the brand.
If you see signs that your employees are not engaged enough, it is of paramount importance to connect with them and find out what are the reasons and how to make things change. Note: you’ll have to be prepared to actually make some of the changes they suggest, or the employee will likely become even further disengaged. Overall, there are numerous ways of measuring employee engagement, so make sure that you choose the right steps and implement effective employee engagement strategies accordingly.