How to improve employee engagement
Engagement in any activity is integral to its success. This is certainly the case in the context of a workplace. Improving employee engagement in the workplace is key to the development of your staff and in turn, your profits.
In the modern workplace, our people want and need to feel more connected to what they are doing in order to devote a greater sense of themselves to it. Money alone is no longer enough to keep your top talent motivated – they are constantly searching for meaning, fulfillment, engagement and empowerment.
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Creating an environment like this is easier said than done, but there are ways to improve engagement in the workplace that can get everyone motivated and involved. This is certainly not something to start on a whim, but rather a long-term commitment by a motivated organisation that wants to see a return on investment.
Why create an engaged workplace?
The Institute for Employment Studies in the UK (IES) concluded in its report on employee engagement, that it is no longer a temporary trend; focusing on employee satisfaction has solid, tangible benefits for business. When employees feel engaged in their work, 6 tangible improvements in their demeanour and work productivity can be observed:
- Having a strong affiliation with the business.
- Showing an interest in working hard to rectify problems or issues.
- Taking the time to understand the context of their work or the business as a whole.
- Exhibiting greater mutual respect between staff and managers.
- Being happy to work extended hours to meet deadlines.
- Showing a willingness to retrain or learn specific tasks.
Some ways to improve engagement are simple; others take more time and investment. Here is a list of some of the most popular ways of improving employee engagement in the workplace.
Focus on developing your employees?
Your employees have ambitions and plans of their own. It’s important that you provide a growth environment for your employees to avoid losing good staff due to lack of opportunities to grow and progress. With that said, it’s time to build a stronger relationship with your staff by:
- Organising regular performance dialogues and feedback
- Organising career development discussions and follow-through
- Establishing what motivates them and how they can do more of what they are great at, making great use of their strengths
- Helping them to develop creative problem solving and solutions-based thinking
- Helping to build flexibility and resilience of employees during rapid change
Meeting on a regular basis with the colleagues you work most closely with makes perfect sense. It gives people an opportunity (and designated time) to open up and share, discuss, plan and decide on a whole host of issues. However, keep in mind that productive businesses work best in collaboration, so don’t dismiss the idea of joining unaligned groups together. Who knows, the boss’s personal assistant might have all the answers needed by the marketing department for their new ad campaign.
Nicer break rooms
Modern, inventively-lit, well-stocked break rooms could be a key way of not only bringing the workforce together, but keeping them happy and hydrated too. What you spend on sparkling water and Scandinavian furniture could be doubled in staff engagement and productivity.
Online chat forum
Everything has moved to the digital age. Why not bring the workplace communications system there too? Set up an online forum for colleagues to chat, share ideas, create ideas boards, post birthday messages – whatever they feel is important to their work life. It is important to give your employees a creative outlet.
Check out Google, and other digital start-up companies and invest in the workforce.
Start a company Spotify account that plays through the PA system. Maybe try comfortable lounge areas to encourage collaboration and team-work. Incorporate a standing area of tall tables and whiteboards on walls to create fast-paced work stations. The sky’s the limit, not just for what can be made available to staff, but also what they can achieve in such engaging environments.
Many businesses offer bonus structures and commissions for salespeople, or those at the top of their department. What about everyone else? Rewarding hard work and commitment is a sure-fire way to not only increase productivity, but of improving employee engagement too. A common workplace complaint is staff feeling underappreciated or undervalued by their employers. Low-morale can be detrimental to a business. Avoid this by rewarding staff for their efforts through gift cards, vouchers or gym memberships and other benefits that your staff will really value.
Allow staff to give feedback on situations from the everyday to the most integral to the business. When every part is functioning optimally it ensures a business is doing the greatest work it can. Giving staff an opportunity to provide feedback, advice, suggestions and concerns will mean that an accurate picture of the work life of staff is being received by those at the top. It is pivotal for staff engagement to make sure that everyone feels as though they can do their job freely and fully without interruption or fear of reprisal.
These ideas are just some of the ways employers can choose to build engagement in the workplace. There are hundreds of ways to do this, and some businesses, both big and small, are finding great success in going the ‘extra mile’ for their employees. They don’t always have to be extravagant; many things can be small steps towards appreciating staff worth. And, as they say, from little things, big things grow.
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