A topic we often encounter here at Smart HR is engagement. From how to create an effective employee engagement survey to why a high turnover rate might actually be good for engagement, our consultants have seen it all. (And we see it a lot – according to Gallup, only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs.) But the connecting thread throughout all of those conversations is the fact that engaged employees are the ones who feel that they’re making an impact.
Only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs
In fact, according to a 2014 Intelligence Group survey, 64% of Millennials said they would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they find unfulfilling. While this generation may get a lot of flak for jumping from job to job, feeling entitled, and so much more, they seem to have this figured out: “Give us a job that makes us feel empowered and impactful, and we’ll stick around, work hard, and remain engaged.”
64% of Millennials said they would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they find unfulfilling
Here’s where many employers get it wrong: Engagement is not about beer taps, rewards programs, or team lunches. While all of those things probably make coming to work a little more fun, what employees really want is to feel impactful – and too many companies get bogged down in the amenities and “perks” rather than focusing on helping their employees feel like they’re making a difference.
“The main difference between employee experiences driven by benefits (parties and other perks) and employee experience driven by impact is very clear,” a recent Chief Executive article states. “The former focuses on doing things TO employees. The latter focuses on ENABLING employees to do things FOR others.”
By treating employees like the powerful, impactful people that they are (rather than employees that need to have things done for or to them), companies flip the switch between employee entitlement and employee empowerment. This important distinction sets the tone of the workplace and encourages employees to take charge, which, in the long run, benefits both the employee and employer.
“This is why impact is so critical,” the Chief Executive article continues. “Because it is more than treating employees as passive recipients of perks. It invites them to make an impact and assume they are mature adults with the desire and determination to be part of something greater than themselves.”
Empowering employees to want to make a difference in the lives of others – that’s how you make your people happy and, ultimately, encourage them to stick around for the long haul.
For other information and tips on employee engagement and more, check out the Smart HR blog.