What is Employee-Driven Engagement?
Not only has the rise in popularity of corporate social responsibility (CSR) made an impact on local communities, it has also been widely recorded as boosting employee engagement. While employee engagement is certainly something ambitious businesses should strive for, there’s a distinction between top-down employee engagement and employee-driven engagement. Here are some data-backed facts proving employee-driven engagement reaps tons of benefits.
Background Information: Facts About Employee Engagement
Before we discuss employee-driven engagement, here are some quick facts you need to know about why employees need to be engaged at all.
First, the bad news:
- Employee engagement in the US is abysmally low, stagnating at around 32%.
- When employees are disengaged, it can lead to frustration, tension, deteriorating physical health, and high turnover rates.
- A high turnover can be expensive for businesses. According to the Center for American Progress, the cost of employee turnover is 20% of the employee’s salary.
- In 2017, 33% of employees missed work due to stress.
- When employees are stressed and miss work, this leads to a decrease in workplace productivity.
- A Gallup study has observed that companies with the highest employee engagement have seen a 22% increase in profitability, 21% increase in productivity, a 28% decrease in shrinkage, and a 37% decrease in absenteeism compared to ones with the lowest.
- A Cone Communications study has found that 83% of millennials would be more engaged with and loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues.
These statistics show that without employee engagement initiatives, businesses’ profitability, productivity, and workforce may suffer dire consequences. On the other hand, businesses that invest in employee engagement tend to see positive results in the same areas.
What Is Employee-Driven Engagement & How is it Better?
Despite employee engagement being a positive pursuit for companies, there is a difference between a top-down approach to employee engagement, and employee-driven engagement.
- The traditional top-down approach puts very little of the decision-making power on the employee. In short, it happens when leaders of Human Resources or CSR programs decide what activities and causes the company’s employees should invest in, instead of listening to employees about what they care about. This prioritizes the leadership’s decisions over the employee enthusiasm, which in the long-term, will affect engagement.
- Meanwhile, a employee-driven approach begins with HR and CSR professionals listening to what workers want to engage with. When employees choose to be involved in the causes they care about most — such as women’s rights, LGBT+ issues, refugees, the environment etc. — they gain a sense of ownership of the activity, feel pride about their company’s role in supporting the cause, and are empowered to bring their full selves to the office.
When engagement is employee-driven, that is, from the bottom up, it encourages present and future participation while establishing a strong team bonds and sense of purpose within the company.
How HR & CSR Professional Can Implement an Employee-Driven Model
Although employees should drive their own engagement, especially when it comes to team building and social impact activities, HR and CSR leaders do not have to be subjected to a barrage of demands. Instead, they can rely on analytics and data insights to help them match activities with their employees’ individual interests. This is what Visit.org offers.
On the Visit.org platform:
- Employees can vote on what kind of activities and causes they want to participate in and support, providing HR and CSR leaders with a data-based understanding of what will encourage employees to be more engaged.
- Companies can book activities that benefit, and are hosted by, local nonprofits. Each experience in Visit.org‘s huge inventory supports the mission of these host organizations, allowing employees to give back to the community in a fun, engaging way. Visit.org‘s experiences range from volunteering, to team-building, to guest speakers, and more. So, each employee will be able to find an activity and cause that fits their interests.
- HR and CSR leaders will be able to build a giving-back program that expresses the company’s values while helping it reach its employee-engagement goals.
Whereas in the past, companies who wanted to be more socially-conscious would rely on grand philanthropic gestures, such as donating buildings or giving large endowments to charities, now, companies big and small can give back in a way that fits their and their employees’ values and needs. Through Visit.org’s data-based engagement-first platform, employee-driven corporate citizenship is more accessible than ever.