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Developing a Passionate and Engaged Workforce

With the recent upsurge of “quiet quitting” and other forms of employee disengagement, businesses must reevaluate their strategies for retaining, motivating, and re-engaging their workforce. Read on to learn how –– and why –– developing a passionate and engaged workforce is central to your success.

The Consequences of Plummeting Employee Engagement

According to a 2022 Gallup study, employee engagement rates in the U.S. are the lowest in nearly a decade — with only 32% of employees engaged, and 18% actively disengaged.

Employee disengagement can affect quarterly profits by decreasing output levels and productivity. However, the costs can be even more damaging and wide-ranging. For example, lower employee engagement tends toward higher employee attrition rates, leading to employee burnout, additional costs for hiring and training replacements, and gaps in consumer relations that jeopardize a business’s credibility and consumer loyalty.

How to Boost Employee Engagement

How can your business reverse these trends and develop a corporate culture that boosts employee engagement? Here are three strategies from the United Consumer Financial Services team that can help you develop a passionate and engaged workforce.

Instill a Sense of Purpose by Demonstrating Your Goals and Values

Although equitable wages and benefits indicate how a business values its workforce, boosting employee engagement entails more than providing a competitive compensation. Engaged employees derive a sense of purpose from their work. And that purpose is often rooted in business goals and values.

In a 2022 McKinsey study, 70% of employees said their work defines their sense of purpose, while only 18% felt it gave them as much purpose as they wanted it to provide. Employees want to know that what they do matters. They want to see how their daily tasks advance corporate goals, and they want to buy into their employer’s vision and values.

To address these needs, highlight your business’s values and vision for making a difference throughout hiring and onboarding. Being up-front about your values helps you attract talented employees who are motivated to engage and who naturally promote your corporate culture.

Making corporate goals and values part of onboarding enables new employees to see why their work matters. Strategic businesses will then work to regularly reinforce their employees’ sense of purpose by sharing outcomes and relevant quarterly data that shows how their efforts are making a difference.

Both internal corporate goals and public initiatives play a role in keeping your employees engaged. Whether it’s closing the gender wage gap and advocating for equal pay, becoming an industry standard for responsibly sourced materials, or supporting various humanitarian efforts, the causes your business supports can contribute to your employees’ sense of purpose. Employees want employers who share their values. Demonstrate that your business is championing essential causes to your employees because you share your employees’ fundamental values. They will be more passionate and engaged in their work if they know they are making a positive impact.

Empower Your Employees Through Career Development

By themselves, your business’s values may not be enough to keep your employees engaged when they feel like they are stagnating at work. Engaged employees thrive in workplaces that cultivate a culture of learning. LinkedIn’s 2024 Workplace Learning Report states that career development and internal mobility are crucial to retaining and re-engaging employees. Employees are more eager to stay engaged when doing so serves their career goals.

Help your employees gain meaningful on-the-job experience and expertise that adds variety to their work and new skills to their resumes while adding value to their department. Efforts to help employees upskill or reskill improve employee satisfaction and serve your business. Employees motivated to learn new skills and achieve their career goals are more likely to engage beyond the minimums of their job description.

Creating a workplace that promotes learning may begin with corporate-funded career development options like conferences, training courses, and skill certifications. However, businesses that successfully engage their workforce do not merely redirect employees to external learning opportunities. Instead, they create internal pathways for career development. For instance, corporate mentorship opportunities encourage managers to shape new associates for long careers in a business while satisfying employees’ desires for personal attention and internal mobility.

Care Holistically for Your Employees

Even when employees receive opportunities for career development and derive a strong sense of fulfillment from their work, they may still disengage because of factors outside the workplace. For example, your workforce comprises students, parents, caregivers, and community members who operate within a broader network of relationships and responsibilities that transcend the workplace. As a result, external stresses often become causes of disengagement in the workplace. That is why businesses that want to increase employee engagement must learn to care holistically for the well-being of their employees.

Competitive health care options, 401k matching, paid time off, and parental leave are fixtures of holistic care that strengthen the all-important employer-employee relationship and alleviate everyday stresses that lead many employees to disengage. In addition, these strategic benefits communicate care and demonstrate how your business values its employees.

While these benefits address several essential areas of well-being, businesses often neglect other significant factors that affect employee engagement. For example, as one of the top four reasons employees left their jobs in 2021, issues related to childcare often add stress, financial pressures, and unsustainable scheduling constraints to an employee’s life, causing many parents and caregivers to disengage at work or leave their jobs. Businesses that provide daycare services or other childcare options relieve these logistical concerns, enabling employed parents to maintain high levels of engagement at work.

Mental health is another area of well-being that businesses often undervalue, despite reports that increased mental health care has been traced to improved employee engagement and return-to-work rates. Companies must work to remove stigma regarding mental health, increase access to relevant resources, and create communities of care with support networks for employees. Promoting your employees’ well-being helps your business attract and recruit new talent and motivate current employees to remain engaged, demonstrate loyalty, and feel a sense of belonging.

Excellent Customer Care Begins with Excellent Employee Care

The performance of your business depends on the engagement of your workforce. No matter what service you provide or the product you sell, your customers rely on your employees to engage and excel in what they do.

Creating a culture where employees want to be engaged positively affects your performance. Your business success relies on a passionate, engaged workforce. Follow the tips above from United Consumer Financial Services to cultivate a team who cares about your company and works hard to see it succeed.