Let’s get engaged! 5 Top Tips for Employee Engagement
As part of our Why Series, we revisit* IDG's Alex Elmywood and her thoughts on employee engagement and how it can help you to create a happy, healthy and sustainable work culture.
Employee engagement is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot but is something that many organisations struggle to get right.
Why? Because it’s all about employees wanting to and giving their best every day – being fully committed and motivated to helping your organisation achieve success. But ensuring this sense of purpose isn’t a quick fix or something that the odd briefing or sporadic recognition scheme can achieve.
Employee engagement requires a commitment from the top and an investment of time and energy to get right.
For me, the link between employee engagement and business performance cannot be underestimated. It is no secret that the UK’s productivity performance is getting worse, with Britain’s performance significantly lower than the G7 group. In other words, UK workers are producing significantly less per hour than other leading western countries.
And whilst there are many causes for low productivity, one key element that can help is a highly enthused and engaged workforce.
In fact, recent research found that if all UK businesses adopted an improved approach to people management including employee engagement, the UK economy could benefit from an efficiency gain of up to £77bn (Impact of Investing in People Report 2015).
So when some companies may be tempted to scale back on employee engagement strategies due to our increasingly uncertain and competitive environment, I would argue that now is just the time to ramp it up.
- 94% of the world’s most admired companies believe their efforts to engage employees creates competitive advantage (Hay)
- 70% of engaged employees indicate they have a good understanding of how to meet customer needs while only 17% of non-engaged employees say the same (Engage for Success)
- Organisations with higher engagement levels posted total shareholder returns 22% higher than average (AON)
But where to start? At the nub of employee engagement is setting the right conditions for all members of your organisation, helping them to give their best each day.
From developing a clear vision and leadership to building a work culture of supportive management, there is a whole range of activity you can explore to set these conditions - all with the ultimate aim of increasing engagement and in turn, business success.
Workplace wellbeing, effective communication, having clear values and purpose as well as relevant recognition and reward are just some of the other areas that can be explored.
In simple terms, get your employee engagement right and there are a myriad of benefits that can come your way – reaching from better staff retention and sickness levels to an improved bottom line and customer satisfaction.
But bear in mind that to keep on benefiting you must also keep evaluating your activities and make sure that your blend is always evolving in the right direction. For example, as your environment changes so can the needs of your organisation and employees, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on whether your strategies are still having the intended impact.
So if creating a positive workplace culture is something you want to achieve to support the sustainability of your organisation, take a look at your people practices and how they support your employees to do their best.
Let’s get engaged.
5 Top Tips for Employee Engagement
- Understanding great engagement that’s right for your business: a key starting point is to understand what great engagement looks like. How do your people want and need to be engaged? How do you know your activities are a success and having an impact? Your practices need to reflect your environment too so they become embedded in your culture. This means they are less likely to be forgotten about after the novelty has worn off.
- Give employee engagement the time it deserves: maintaining interest, understanding and commitment takes time and dedication. Your people are a key asset and if you want your business to be at its best, they need care and attention. Those leading on engagement need to understand and ‘buy in’ to its importance – otherwise behaviours will tell a very different story.
- Leaders engage: the guiding principle for good employee engagement is that every employee is of equal value and without their commitment and dedication, your organisation will not achieve its potential. Managers and employees alike often emulate or justify their own behaviours in response to that of the leadership team. Make sure your leaders are ambassadors and role models for your people if you want employee engagement to work.
- Remember your people:By definition, employee engagement is all about your people and building a strong relationship. So inspire, challenge and support your employees at all levels – and importantly don’t forget those that work remotely. Your managers play a really important part here too. Ensure they have the skills, behaviours and resources to deliver supportive management.
- External impact:See your work to engage employees in the widest sense as its impact can be much more than an internal interest. High engagement levels can also lead to wider benefits such as improved customer satisfaction and in turn loyalty. In a nutshell, if your employees are not engaged with your business or do not understand their role, they are far less likely to exceed the expectations of your customers.
If you would like to talk to us about your ambitions for employee engagement and how to improve workplace culture, please get in touch.
From bespoke employee engagement surveys to leadership consultancy, we can help with your employee engagement needs. Want to canvas morale across your organisation? You can also talk to us as employee engagement survey providers too.
You can also learn more about employee engagement and further top tips for your organisation with our infographic and look out for new resources and events coming soon!
* Article originally developed for Gap Insight newsletter for Gap Personnel