Workplaces have very different dynamics in the present era. The way employees are treated and the way they are rewarded and engaged is not driven only by their performance. Emotions, empathy, sensitivity, motivation, etc. play a role in employee engagement.
Across organizations, a lot of importance is being given to the seven universal human needs that motivate people to thrive at work. These include respect, recognition, meaning, belonging, autonomy, personal growth, and progress. These needs comprise emotional compensation. Meeting these needs results in connections that instill positive emotions and makes the employees feel connected to their work and colleagues.
Companies that have engaged workers report 21% higher profitability and scored 17% higher on productivity. An engaged employee can be trusted to perform their job competently and consistently, beyond the job description.
Connections developed through emotional compensation have dramatically increased the chance of retaining employees.
Why it is Important to Focus on Emotional Compensation
With hybrid workplaces becoming a norm today, most times, employees are away from the direct supervision of their managers.
If the question of “how to engage employees” is in your mind, a recent study on employee engagement will help to answer this. As per the study, emotions are the driving factors behind engagement. Enthusiasm, inspiration, empowerment, and confidence are some emotions that can engage employees. Therefore, as a part of their employee engagement strategy, organizations should encourage and empower their managers and leaders to foster these emotions among their teams. Out of all the emotions, being valued is the basic emotion that enhances engagement.
Let us look at why is it important to focus on such emotional needs:
- Better customer satisfaction: Engage your employees and they will be ready to go out of their way to give exceptional customer service. You can watch them perform their jobs to the best of their capacities.
- Improved productivity and efficiency: When employees are engaged, they want their efforts to make a difference in the organization. They produce high-quality work in less time.
- Reduction of staff turnover: Engaged employees are unlikely to be lured by higher salaries offered by other companies. They value the work, the emotional support they get, and the learning, and are likely to stay with the company longer.
- Lowered absenteeism: A belief that what you are doing is good and creating an impact, is what makes you come to work and continue delivering value. This comes from the emotional applaud that organizational leaders and managers should do time and again to keep their teams happy.
- Better business outcomes: Emotionally engaged employees work harder, giving better results, driving higher customer satisfaction and loyalty, and increasing the whole organizational value.
Read: When Mental Health is a Business Imperative, What Role can Managers Play?
Creating a Culture of Emotional Engagement
Employees, when engaged on an emotional level, can do wonders for an organization in terms of bringing more business, and customer satisfaction, and defining the whole culture of the organization. Employers, especially managers, need to be actively involved in creating an emotional connection with their teams, understand their challenges, help them leverage their strengths, and thrive at work.
Here are certain ways in which you, as a manager, can improve employee engagement:
- Take interest in knowing your team: By knowing each team member on a personal level, knowing their strengths and weaknesses, what they offer to the company, and what are the challenges that they face, you can connect with them on an emotional front, help them resolve those, and motivate them to work more effectively.
- Make them feel recognized for their hard work: A simple word of appreciation or a pat on the back by the manager can go a long way. Recognizing the work of the team, acknowledging their hard work, commitment, and willingness to step up, and demonstrating that their efforts have not gone unnoticed are big motivation boosters. Managers should make it a habit to fulfill the unsaid emotional need of appreciation of their teams.
- Trust your employees: Being in a position to judge and evaluate your teams, you might forget the fact that employees are humans too and can make mistakes. Trust them enough, be their guiding light, and give them the space to work more efficiently, with faith. This also shows that you respect them for what they know and what they are contributing to the company.
- Focus on creating work-life balance: Employees are the most valuable assets who give life to your company, and it is essential to remember that they have their own life too. Create a culture where work-life balance is given importance and fostered. Connect with them to understand their personal challenges, create space for them to help them deal with those, and offer help and emotional support to deal with difficult circumstances. Situations will pass, but people will remember the support you offered to them during the rough times.
- Encourage them to push boundaries: Who doesn’t like appreciation? Your employees love it the most. A word of appreciation can make them create heights, create new goals, work more efficiently, and whatnot. Appreciate your employees frequently, this can be the best emotional compensation.
Are Managers Supported to Provide Emotional Compensation?
Managers play a critical role in ensuring emotional safety and providing the required emotional compensation to their teams. However, traditionally, managers have always been expected to “get the work done” or “manage deliverables”. Today, with the proliferation of hybrid workplaces, the role of the manager has evolved. Organizations have realized that they are the critical pillars for ensuring employee engagement and satisfaction. Managers need to inculcate specific leadership habits to boost their teams’ performance. But they need to be empowered and supported to offer emotional compensation to their teams. They need to be coached on improving dialogue, team, and developing skills such as active listening and giving powerful feedback.
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