From reward and recognition to flexible working, discover tactics for improving employee engagement in your business.
Employee engagement is one of the pillars of business success. Engaged employees work harder and produce better quality work than disengaged colleagues, because they care about the work that they do and understand the positive impact their contribution can make on the business. Engagement can also be a powerful factor in retention; employees that are engaged with the company’s mission, values and objectives tend to want to stay longer – they feel part of something bigger than their individual role and are invested in what the business is trying to achieve.
On the other hand, the impact of disengaged employees on the team and the business overall can be significant. Disengaged employees are less invested in what they do, which can lead to lower productivity levels, in addition to issues with punctuality and standards of work. Even a small number of disengaged employees can have a significant impact on a business, where negative thinking and behaviour can quickly spread bad feeling and weaken morale among colleagues.
Although employee engagement brings improved productivity, work quality and customer satisfaction, it is not about trying to extract extra effort from employees and expecting longer working hours by manipulating employees’ commitment to the business. Employee engagement is about positive attitudes and behaviours on both sides, which in turn can lead to innovation, improved business outcomes, and strong, successful teams.
Here are five tactics to improve employee engagement:
Today, more employees than ever favour a flexible workplace – in fact, a recent study by Aviva found that over 70% of UK workers want greater flexibility at work, and almost a quarter (22%) have left roles to find more flexibility elsewhere. Introducing flexibility in your workplace – which includes remote working, part-time work and compressed working weeks – can improve engagement, as empowering employees to manage their own time increases job satisfaction and shows that you trust them. Flexible working practices can ultimately improve retention; the promise of greater ‘work-life harmony’ in place of rigid working hours is highly appealing, and the easier it is for employees to make their jobs work for them, the more likely they are to want to stay.
We can’t expect employees to perform at their best if they are unsure about what's required of them. Surprisingly, only half of employees know what their Manager expects of them, and this lack of clarity can pave the way for disengagement. Communication and clear goal-setting sets employees up for success, and being able to chart their achievements will help keep them motivated and engaged in their role. Project management software, which breaks down tasks into smaller, more achievable actions, typically allows you to set up goals and KPIs so that your team are clear on what they need to do, and tracks their progress against the established goals.
Done well, workspace transparency breeds trust between employees and management, boosts morale and helps to reduce job-related stress. Companies can ensure employees feel involved and trusted by sharing updates about company progress and achievements, as well as being honest about setbacks, challenges and change. Updates on the company, especially financial updates, need to be in a language everyone can understand. This could be in a video format rather than an email, which can also be a more dynamic way of engaging your teams.
When employees feel appreciated for the job they do, they're more motivated to keep up the good work. From a simple thank you to more formal award schemes, there are many ways to make employees feel appreciated and valued for their work. Recognition should be immediate, specific, authentic and memorable – and while it doesn’t have to cost a thing, it can be one of the most valuable ways to engage and retain your people.
We spend a large part of our lives at work, and it’s not always easy to leave our personal lives at the door. Introducing drop-in sessions for employees to talk to their managers about issues they’re having outside of work can be effective – although the problem may not specifically relate to their role, it could be affecting it. Work lives and personal lives are more blended than ever, and employees can’t be expected to keep their personal lives entirely separate from work. As well as work-related stress, life stresses such as financial worries, moving home or relationship problems can all affect an employee’s engagement at work as well as their mental wellbeing - providing them with the opportunity to discuss their problems in a supportive environment shows that you care about them, and not just about their output.
Employees will give back as much as they are given. From building a culture of recognition, to ensuring they have the support and encouragement to give their best, there are many ways to engage your employees for success.
To keep up to date with industry news and our other areas of expertise, follow us on
LinkedIn. Ready for your next role? Find your local branch to discover our latest job opportunities.