The most “engaged” employees do the most in their work. Engagement is what motivates an employee to personally invest in their work, think creatively, and contribute enthusiastically. When this only describes 13% of the global workforce, the lack of engagement is worthy of attention and action.
Unengaged employees have lower productivity, which translates to lower employee satisfaction and lower revenue for your business. So how can you improve employee engagement and cultivate a passionate workforce? By focusing on health, teamwork, and impact of course!
AtlasGO is a tool that companies like Salesforce have used to increase employee engagement through sweaty challenges. Each wellness and fitness challenge completed contributes to nonprofits around the globe and creates a sense of camaraderie among employees. Integrating doing good into work brings purpose and meaning to each day.
The AtlasGO platform successfully lowers barriers to corporate philanthropy and welcomes employee engagement in creating impact. Co-founder Thomas Querton explained on the Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Podcast that sports bring people together from every background—making room for everyone to take part in making a difference.
What Is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is a measurement of an employee’s involvement and enthusiasm for their work. Engaged employees have a high level of dedication and loyalty to their work, which explains why engagement is often accompanied by higher employee satisfaction. Social impact jobs, for example, are known for their heightened employee satisfaction and because workers are connected to the purpose-driven nature of their day to day work.
Why Does Employee Engagement Matter?
Employees are the heart of any organization or business, which makes their engagement crucial for success. A disengaged workforce creates a disconnected work environment. Unhappy or disengaged employees are predictably less productive than their engaged counterparts, which costs organizations time and profitability, not to mention the lack of creativity and innovation those employees are capable of.
Engaged employees are excited to fuel the company’s mission, grow with the company, and be an active representative of the company’s goals and morals. These employees are generally very in tune with how their job description relates to the greater purpose of the company. This awareness and connection allows those employees to strengthen their position and in turn, the entire system they work within.
What Are The Benefits of Employee Engagement?
Here are a few benefits of employee engagement that you’ll see soon after implementing programs that encourage connection and community.
Higher Retention Rates
Employee turnover costs companies a trillion dollars each year. It can cost between half to double of an employee’s salary to replace them with a new hire. Interestingly, this is a self-inflicted and preventable issue for companies. By better engaging employees and working to improve company culture, companies spare the costs of lost employees, and instead invest it into the work environment.
Low retention is also a bad omen for prospective employees. If a candidate senses a high level of turnover, they’ll expect that’s the normal pattern of behavior, which doesn’t bode well for recruiting top talent. Naturally, engaged employees are more likely to stay at the company longer. The resulting high retention rates will be a check in the plus column for high-value recruits.
When employees are engaged and passionate about their work, they’re more likely to show up and perform well. It makes sense. When we are dreading a task, we tend to drag our feet and keep our eyes on the finish line, no matter how we get there. When we are excited to dive into a project, on the other hand, we are more likely to think critically, creatively, and effectively to best achieve our objectives. When the day-to-day, week-to-week is something an employee is excited about, companies see lower rates of absenteeism and a more reliable, efficient team.
Leading By Example
Corporate culture is determined in part by its own employees, so by cultivating a team that is dedicated and aligned with the company’s mission, morale can only skyrocket among the whole workforce. Arguably one of the most important benefits of having a highly engaged workforce, team members who are satisfied lead by example for new employees and direct reports.
The founder of Millie, a workplace giving program, told us on an episode of the podcast that, “We need to double down on giving and aligning with our employees around what they care about”. When employers show an interest in their employee’s interests, it increases retention and morale that extends far beyond the workplace. This is especially true for the millennial population, who is more interested in working for socially responsible companies.
Successful Employee Engagement Strategies
To cultivate a community of engaged workers, use these tactics.
Invest In Professional Development
94% of employees would stay at a company longer if the company invested in furthering their career. Not only does investing in educational opportunities for your employees further their growth as an employee, it also cultivates loyalty and appreciation for the company. We all want to expand our understanding and capacity to operate in the systems we work within. This is why “being stuck” is a negative experience people often try to move out of. When a company recognizes the importance of professional development for their employees, employees are working in collaboration with their employers—teamwork and collaboration fosters mutual appreciation.
Professional development opportunities range from online training programs to conference attendance and even higher-education degree support. Consider implementing a program that budgets growth programs per employee annually or that allows for educational proposals. From attending social entrepreneur conferences to hosting networking events, the opportunities are truly endless for professional development that will benefit employees and their companies they work for.
Health and wellness initiatives in the workplace are on the rise. Not only do employees notice these perks as competitive offers in prospective jobs, research shows that healthy employees are more alert and productive in the workplace. This is where atlasGO fits in. As pioneers in the space of corporate wellness, fitness, and nonprofit fundraising, atlasGO is a platform that’s perfect for any workspace.
Companies can choose from well-being, giving, and environmental challenges for employees. Through virtual team building, employees can make an impact on their own health and the planet while increasing engagement levels at work. This also promotes purpose in work and a healthy work-life balance, which are both critical for satisfaction at work.
Reward Hard Work
AtlasGo provides some healthy levels of competition as part of fun challenges, which create a rewarding experience in itself. But it’s important that workers also receive external recognition for their dedication and efforts. Employee recognition is a key driver for employee satisfaction and engagement. The motivation may be intrinsic, but external validation and appreciation contributes to sustainability of those extra efforts. External recognition ties individual efforts to the collective objectives that connect individuals to their workplace.
This is one of the reasons employers choose an employee of the month or use anonymous comment boxes to congratulate coworkers. It’s basic psychology: positively reinforcing a well-performed task ensures the likelihood of that task occurring successfully in the future.
atlasGO: A Community of Sweaty Changemakers
Fitness meets purpose on the atlasGO app, where sweaty changemakers around the globe connect to fund nonprofits. This Certified B Corp and Benefit Corporation has developed more than an app. They’ve created a community that bridges the gap between corporations and nonprofits, where fitness enthusiasts and novices alike can participate in furthering social missions.
Across 20 countries, atlasGo has raised more than $4 million for its nonprofit partners, connecting 65,000 people around the world who are inspired to make change. AtlasGO originally started as a running app, but transitioned to include an array of physical activities, meditation, journaling, and even trash pick-up!
Thomas Querton, Co-Founder & CEO of atlasGO
Originally from Belgium, Thomas moved to San Francisco to co-found atlasGO in 2016. A social entrepreneur and builder by nature, Thomas has helped found four ventures, the latest being a kombucha company based in Brussels.
Thomas’s inspiration for atlasGo came from the running community, which has the unique ability to bring everyone to the same level and rally around a cause. “I think sport is a specific place where you’re taking care of yourself, and you’re coming together and you’re all sweating and it kind of like breaks a lot of barriers and filters. Whatever background or however rich you can be or whatever, nobody cares.”
As an employer himself, Thomas focuses on keeping his own team engaged and excited about the work atlasGO is doing to change the world. Of course, the atlasGO team uses the app to have fun and connect with one another outside of the office too!
“If you want to keep people also, if you want to keep people excited, they need to feel like they’re doing something that’s useful. They need to feel like they’re doing something that has a purpose. They need to feel like they have autonomy, they need to feel like they’re growing and they need to feel like they’re having a good time.”
How to Engage Employees Today
If you’re on a mission to help employees increase engagement, get started here.
- Employee Engagement Survey: Leading with data is the most effective way to ensure long-term success for your employee engagement ideas. HR professionals can head-up survey development and execution. Use these metrics as a baseline to determine how many disengaged employees are in your company.
- Schedule Regular Check-Ins: If you aren’t already, ensure that your employees are having regular check-ins with supervisors and senior leadership. This is important because it forges connections across the company while taking a pulse on employee engagement.
- Give Back: Not only is philanthropy in business a wonderful way to give back, it shows your employees that you’re invested in all stakeholders in your business, meaning the community and the people living there.
- Fill It Forward: A hydrated employee is a happy employee. Encourage friendly workplace competition while promoting wellness and donating to clean water organizations through the Fill it Forward Cupanion bottle.
Closing: The Bottom Line on Employee Engagement
We spend a majority of our lives in the workforce, which means the quality of our working environments matters greatly.
By taking the time to reposition your company as a flexible work environment that values employee feedback and creates opportunities for engagement and success, you’ll increase retention, profit, and satisfaction among your workforce.
Disengagement in any field is troublesome and even if you’re self-employed or unemployed, you can still get active through the atlasGo app. Connect with a like-minded community of sweaty changemakers and check it out here!
Additional Resources & Links Mentioned from the Episode:
- altasGO on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube
- Thomas on LinkedIn
- Richard Branson
- Movember Foundation
- Thomas’s Email
Sustainable Workplaces Manager & Writer
Jackie is the Sustainable Workplaces Manager at Urban Green Lab, a sustainability education nonprofit in Nashville, Tennessee. She’s passionate about connecting people with actionable ways to make a positive impact on the environment. She graduated from Dickinson College with a degree in Environmental Studies and a certificate in Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Jackie worked in the nonprofit world in Washington D.C. for Ashoka and the National Building Museum.
Jackie enjoys hiking with her rescue dog, finding craft breweries, and traveling the globe in search of plant-based eats.