Employee engagement is crucial in any business but is often not a primary focus for many. This is terribly short sighted of the companies and management teams because it is an essential part of any employee retention plan. Keeping employees engaged, enthusiastic and happy at work should be key part of the overall HR strategy.
The connection between engaged employees and performance has been long established so it makes sense to put in place a plan to increase this engagement. To do this you have to understand the different groups that employees fall in to and then plan accordingly.
These are employees who are excited about going to work and are actively engaged, take on responsibility and are loyal. These are the group that will talk positively about their work and organisation to friends and family. You will also find your leaders and long-time employees here, those that will stay with you and help make your business more successful.
Not Engaged Employees
This group is the largest in any organisation and is made up of those that come to work and do what is required within their job description. They are relatively happy at work but work for themselves and not for the mission and values of the company. Coverting this group to engaged employees is possible with the right type of nurturing and a plan in place. Any amount that can be converted is a boost for the company.
Disengaged employees have no desire to perform. They are negative about their role, the culture and the company. They do the bare minimum at work and are more than likely treading water whilst looking for another role. Employees in this group would be very hard to convert into the not engaged group above, but there may be an opportunity with a few.
Disengaged workers are obviously not good for a company because they can spread negativity amongst other employees and productivity can be adversely affects which in turn can cost the organisation money.
Employee engagement should start they moment a new employee works through the door and must continue all through their career with the organisation. The company culture plays an important role in setting the tone and it is an important part of the HR teams' role. Here are some ideas around how you can improve employee engagement.
- Engage from the Start
Start as you mean to continue. Make the new employee feel part of the team from the word go. You can create an onboarding programme that includes attaching a mentor or close work buddy, so that they have an immediate contact to ask questions and talk to. Getting them to mundane and boring jobs in isolation would destroy any new job excitement they may have had.
The Right Role
Hire the right people, with the right skills to do the job from the go. Expecting new employees to pivot quickly to doing something that they are not comfortable with or not trained in will lower their confidence. Talent acquisition and retention strategies need to be aligned with the overall organisation goals.
The Right Tools and Information
Organisations must ensure that the have robust processes in place and tools that enhance the productivity. Every organisation will have slightly different structure but with advancement sin digital technology they should all have access to a range of these tools. Access to information that allows them to confidently make informed decisions is also very important and will boost productivity.
Set your team up for success with the proper training and career/skills development, whilst also removing any obstacles. By doing this an organisation can build trust and accountability. Employees want to work in an organisation where they can see themselves develop and grow into a valued member of the team. If all teams are advancing at the same sort of pace then you foster a sense of inclusiveness and further build the strength of the team.
If your organisation strategy is to hire incredibly talented employees, then you will have to be prepared to offer opportunities for promotion or career progression. Involving these employees and planning and strategic decision at the right time will appeal to their highly ambitious nature. Even if the roles are fairly junior, it is important for employees to see advancement along a career path.
We all like to be told that we have done a good job and it is easy to set up a programme that rewards employees for excelling. At VerseOne we have a monthly VerseOners Club that recognises the excellent work the team has done and is voted for by piers. Organisations can decide what the reward is – gift-cards and bonuses work but It is important to note that employees respond to the recognition more than the reward itself.
- Clear Expectations
Telling employees what is expected of them, within their roles from the very beginning will dispel any confusion or apprehension they may have. This starts with a well written job description and is backed up with regular employee appraisals. During these appraisals it is important to highlight and discuss and changes to the role; perhaps the employee has been on a training course and has anew skill!
Work life balance
If COVID-19 restrictions have taught us one thing in business, it is that with the right technology, we can do a lot of jobs very successfully from home. Employees should be offered the option of work-from-home of flexible work hours if the organisation structure allows it. Performance then because task based and not time based. This shift will have a very real impact of positive employee engagement.
Talk about disengagement
It should be part of the managers regular responsibility to talk about engagement in the workplace and get direct feedback from employees, which can be built into solutions. Just talking about it and doing nothing benefits no one, but taking action and introducing change will have a positive effect on overall engagement.
- Promote Company Culture
Having a clear message about the company culture, including mission, goals and values allows employees to evaluate them and identify the benefits and their place within the organisation.
Most of these ideas are not new or complex but they are important, and some (if not all) have to be introduced if organisations want to retain top talent, drive greater efficiencies, be more product and profitable.
Making the workplace more meaningful for employees will create a happier work culture and which organisation doesn’t want to be “best place to work 2021” and beat its competition!
Find out more about launching a new Intranet that promotes Employee Engagement