Although employee engagement is on the rise, it still isn't at the level employers would like it to be, new research shows.
A study from the staffing firm Robert Half revealed that 60 percent of executives say their employees are more engaged in the work than they were three years ago. However, 52 percent of those surveyed said they are still concerned that their workers aren't as invested in their jobs as they could be.
Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half, said employee engagement is important for organizations because workers who are more devoted to their jobs are also more productive.
"They typically are also more dedicated team members and less likely to jump ship," McDonald said in a statement. "This is an especially important consideration for businesses in the current environment of low unemployment and a shortage of skilled workers."
The research found that the most engaged employees are those in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Phoenix and St. Louis. [See Related Story: For an Engaged Team, Encourage Employees to Recognize Others]
"Employees are more likely to be engaged when they are given new challenges and regular performance feedback," McDonald said. "They will also find more meaning and motivation in their work when they understand how their contributions fit with the overall goals of the business."
To improve employee engagement, Robert Half offers employers several tips:
- Discuss their future. Explain to employees their possible career paths within the organization. Talk about opportunities for advancement and what they need to achieve to move up the corporate ladder. It is important that employees know where they're headed and that their employer can help them get there.
- Support innovation. Letting them do interesting and meaningful work is a key to keeping employees happy. Encourage your staff to take on new projects they find rewarding.
- Communicate regularly. Employees are likely to feel more connected to their jobs when they have positive working relationships with their bosses. Those in charge need to make sure their workers know that they are always available to discuss their questions and concerns.
- Show interest in your employees. Don't look at each employee as just another name. Make an effort to learn about each one, including their goals and aspirations, as well as their interests outside of work.
- Keep your team fully staffed. Employees who feel overworked are less likely to be engaged. Be sure to have an eye on your teams' workloads and consider moving projects around or hiring new staff members if they start to get overwhelmed with what's on their plate.
The study was based on surveys of 2,200 chief financial officers from companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.