Using Employee Engagement as a Growth Hacking Tool for Startups

Today more than ever, companies consider employees to be their most important asset.

Or do they?

It’s not enough to just declare this; you need to make sure a large portion of your employees is actually engaged in their work.

It’s very simple: your growth strategy depends on your employees’ commitment and contribution. Without these things, you’ll never reach your goals.

Is it safe to say that employee engagement is a powerful growth hacking tool?

You bet!

Employee Engagement vs. Employee Satisfaction

These two terms often get mixed up. But are they synonymous?

The answer is: no.

Satisfied employees aren’t necessarily engaged employees. For instance, an employee can be very satisfied with a fat paycheck and invest his bare minimum at work while waiting for a salary day. But this surely isn’t enough for your company to grow.

Engaged employees, on the other hand, are passionate about their work and proud to be a part of the company. They are motivated to achieve the company’s and personal goals, always coming up with new ideas and ways to help the company grow. Engaged employees are committed and always ready to give their best.

Benefits of Using Employee Engagement as a Growth Hack Tool

Employee engagement can bring a number of advantages that are beneficial to both the company and the employees. Have are some of them:

Higher Retention

According to Ajilon, over 80% of workers are either actively looking for a new job or are open to one.

Actively engaged employees love their job and workplace, which contributes to higher retention rates. By showing your employees that you care and coming up with ways to engage them better, you’re shaping the outlook they have towards the company. Similar to loyal customers, engaged employees are your best promoters.

Lower Turnover

Did you know that disengaged employees are twice as likely to quit their job? People tend to leave companies due to a number of factors, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to a single root cause – dissatisfaction and poor engagement. Ergo, employee engagement is the tool that will lower your turnover rates.

Higher Productivity

According to Gallup, employee engagement increases productivity by more than 15%.

By working to engage your employees, you give them an opportunity to grow and advance. Engaged employees are more passionate and strive to do the work quickly and efficiently. They have a feeling of responsibility to perform better and reach their goals.

Engaged employees are motivated to learn new things and evolve. As a result, your company gets a highly-skilled workforce.

Engaged employees feel comfortable enough to share their ideas or bring up issues that the management might not be aware of, thus directly contributing to the company’s growth.

Positive Company Culture

Work can often be stressful, and many companies create a toxic environment by using pressure to get results. Making employees afraid they’ll lose their jobs or turning them against each is a shortcut to skyrocketing work stress levels. This may result in more sick days, increased health care expenses, decreased productivity, and increased turnover rates.

Many factors contribute to positive organizational culture, but one of the most important ones is definitely the way employees are treated. When employees are engaged and the key leaders are committed to the culture and demonstrate it in their work, you can build a culture that reflects in team spirit, passion, and transparency.

By maintaining a positive company culture, you’ll also get more applicants when there’s a job opening. If your workers are happy, top talent will be excited to work for you.

How to Improve Employee Engagement

As an employer, you need to make sure that your employees are passionate about their jobs, and that they come to the office enthusiastic and eager to start working.

Here are 6 techniques that will help you increase employee engagement.

Communicate Openly

One of the most important aspects of employee engagement is open communication. Make sure to give regular feedback on their work, both positive and negative. Employees appreciate constructive criticisms because it helps them learn from their mistakes and grow.

However, don’t forget to ask your employees for feedback as well. This is a great way to make them feel that their opinions matter and that they’re an important part of the company.

Praise and Show Gratitude

A little ‘thank you’ can go a long way when it comes to motivating your employees.

Acknowledgment and praise by the management and among fellow coworkers is the best way to build trust, restore strained relationships, inspire the employees to perform better, and maximize results.

Perks and Benefits

There is no doubt that perks and benefits make employees happy. Let’s take a look at some stats that confirm this:

80% of employees would keep a job that offers benefits rather than take one that offered a higher salary with no benefits.

More than 80% of workers who have access to benefits feel loyal to their employer and 79% of them said they were proud to work for their company.

Benefits are a great way to let your employees know that you appreciate their contribution and efforts, but they also make work more enjoyable. Offer flexible working hours, free snacks or lunches, vacations, gifts & discounts, exercise options, etc.

Growth Opportunities

According to Udemy, over 40% of employees say growth and learning is the most important benefit when deciding where to work. In addition, more than 50% of them said they would quit their job if the training was not offered.

It seems obvious that employees will be more engaged in a company that offers career development opportunities. Besides the possibility of increased income, offer your employees a possibility to move up in the ranks of the company, as well as opportunities for professional growth. Provide your employees with a means to sharpen their knowledge and skills through training sessions, online courses, mentoring programs, education. Encourage them to attend conferences and workshops, or invite guest speakers from your industry.

Set Clear Goals

Setting clear goals and clarifying responsibilities is crucial if you intend to boost employee engagement.

Very often, employees get confused with their role in the company or feel mentally exhausted while trying to achieve a goal assigned to them. This might be a result of poor leadership, lack of support, or simply because they don’t feel confident in their skills.

A good leader helps the employees by setting clear goals and assisting them with any problems. While it is true that management can’t be there all the time to guide employees, it is very important to let them know that you’re there to help regardless of how busy you might be.

Hold Social Gatherings

Organizing gatherings with your peers and colleagues on a regular basis is a great way to get to know each other and have fun. This helps break up the routine, but also encourages collaboration and boosts creativity. You don’t have to organize something special every week; lunch at the nearby lounge bar or after work drinks should be enough for everyone to relax after a hard day at work.

Final Thoughts

Startup founders often see employee engagement as an activity necessary to attract and retain talent. But building a company culture that is focused on happy employees is actually a great way for your startup to grow. Companies thrive thanks to their people’s commitment, contribution, and quality.

Engaged employees lead to better service and quality, higher customer satisfaction, increased conversions, and higher profits. In other words, by investing in employee engagement, you are also investing in your company’s growth.

 

About the Author:

Duran Inci is an Internet technology executive and e-commerce keynote and workshop speaker with 15+ years of experience in e-business, e-commerce systems, integrations, custom programming, SaaS and digital marketing including content marketing, paid search and client acquisition/lead generation.