Employee engagement best practices - 6 tips to boost engagement
— March 6th, 2021
It’s a common phrase: people are an organization’s greatest asset, however, not all organizations take this on board.
As we march ever onwards into a tech-led environment, digitally innovating as we go, organizations can often make the costly mistake of neglecting their employees and not focusing on retaining key staff. So how can organizations reduce employee churn? Here are our top examples of employee engagement best practices that will help to keep employees engaged and productive, and importantly, in-house.
Did you know that losing an employee can have a dramatic impact on an organization’s bottom line? A report by the Huffington Post outlines the cost of replacing employees, and the figures are startling: from 1.5-2x an employee’s salary (according to Deloitte) to 213% the cost of one year’s salary (according to the Center for American Progress).
Simply put, it pays to engage your employees to develop a workplace that inspires loyalty and ambition. Here are our 6 tips for boosting employee engagement.
How employee communication drives business outcomes
Foster open communication
Open communication is the bedrock of an engaged workforce. Make every effort to encourage open communication at all levels: between employees, between employees and their managers, all the way up to board level.
Consider an open-door policy or no doors at all! By prioritizing a culture of honest communication organizations can keep on top of any issues, no matter how small. This open communication will lead to employees feeling more comfortable in voicing their opinions and will ultimately lead to a more content workforce.
Operate a transparent workplace
Internal newsletters can be a useful way to keep staff up to date on what’s happening in an organization. Staff will feel more involved in an organization if they aren’t kept in the dark about important developments or decisions. Use the newsletter to deliver messages from the CEO or top management about any pertinent news.
Often organizations can focus too much on hiding information and details from employees and this can lead to rumors and a feeling of distrust in the workplace. By being transparent about what’s going on, organizations can develop a “we’re in this together” environment, which in turn can foster a greater sense of engagement and encourage employees to invest their future in a company.
Invest in your employees
Organizations should see investing in their staff as akin to investing in their business. It’s a vital part of any staff engagement strategy. Undervalued or under-challenged employees will eventually look further afield, so it’s important to commit to a program of staff development. Give your employees the opportunity to upskill or hone existing skills.
They will thank you for it and are likely to feel more connected to the business, and more likely to engage in their daily work if they feel they’re learning or being challenged.
Promote collaborative working
Feeling part of a team can also be a great way to encourage engagement at work. Where possible, promote and facilitate collaborative working practices. Organizations today have an increasing remote or home working workforce who may feel isolated and not part of the wider business.
Introduce tools that allow for collaborative working such as a company intranet unified communications, or simple cloud solutions such as Google Docs and Hangouts. This will give your remote workers, and even staff who are based at different premises, the opportunity to foster closer relationships with workmates, which in turn could lead to higher engagement levels.
Focus on employee wellbeing
There are countless employee engagement strategies that work. One of the more recently successful ones is focusing on employee wellbeing and creating a healthier work environment. Today’s organizations are all vying for top talent, often luring them and retaining them with competitive salaries and eye-watering perks, however, in such a competitive workplace, the organizations that stand out are the ones who focus on employee wellbeing.
Interestingly, a 2017 survey to coincide with National Workplace Wellbeing Day revealed that nearly half of the 1,000 Irish employees surveyed would leave a job where an employer doesn’t care about their wellbeing. So consider healthy options in the canteen, organizing health clinics or health experts to come on-site, develop wellness programs and health screenings. These simple changes could make a huge difference to how your staff feels about your organization.
Don’t forget the fun element
A Gallup survey revealed that close friendships at work boost employee satisfaction by 50% and people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work. We’re not saying that organizations should play matchmaker with their employees, but there are simple ways you can encourage friendships to begin.
Create a schedule of fun events and team-building days, start a sports team or teams, get people involved in charity work, or working together on organizing team days out. The goal is to create an environment where friendships develop naturally.
Benefits of employee engagement
Higher Employee Satisfaction- When employees are engaged in their work, they feel more enthusiastic about both the company and their role within it, ultimately leading to increased levels of job satisfaction and a significantly higher quality of work.
Higher Retention and Lower Turnover- Engaged employees are less likely to leave their jobs for another position, and therefore possessing such workers allows organizations to hang on to their most talented employees.
Higher Productivity- Employees who have a strong interest and connection to their work are more productive, successful, and hard-working.
Increased Profitability – Workers who are content in their roles give their full effort to every task they undertake. This high standard of work will attract loyal customers, produce higher turnover, and open doors to new opportunities.
Less Absenteeism – Employees who are engaged in their roles possess significantly lower absence rates than those who are not. Engaged workers are aware of the value and importance of their duties and do not want to let their organization down by not turning up to work.
Increased Employee Loyalty – How workers feel about their company will often reflect on how customers feel about it too. Loyal employees tend to act as company ambassadors, and their genuine passion for their organization will be apparent to those on the outside.
What are some examples of employee engagement?
• Compensation and rewards
• Working conditions
• Work-life balance
• Career planning
• Training and development
• Social status
• Job security
• Change management
• Giving employees a voice
• Performance management
• Organizational culture
How employee communication drives business outcomes
How do you motivate your employees?
Give workers a purpose
It’s imperative that employees believe the work they are undertaking has some type of purpose, and that they don’t view themselves as being just another cog in the machine towards someone else's gain.
When leaders make them feel like a valuable asset to the company, and that the work they do matters, it gives employees a purpose that naturally increases their levels of energy and engagement. Employers should take the time to ensure the work being assigned to each employee is actually suited to their skillset.
Implement a comfortable working environment
The influence an employee’s office surroundings have on the standard of their work is often overlooked by employers. Even the most motivated and engaged workers will feel their energy and work ethic drained by a dull and under cared for environment.
Employers can make a workplace more appealing by ensuring it is clean, aesthetically pleasing, and well-lit. In addition, organizations should ensure that the equipment employees are operating with is well maintained and up to date with technology trends. Workers will feel more respected once they see their need for a comfortable workspace is being met.
Offer guidance and support
If an employer is aiming to be the type of leader that is approachable, supportive, and helpful to their employees, then they must take the necessary steps to make this happen. Becoming a great leader is not something that happens overnight.
Leaders must work to obtain the necessary knowledge and skills, and find the best way to put them into practice. Having strong and capable leaders in place will increase employee loyalty to the company and encourage them to give their full efforts towards its continued success.
Allow room for growth
When employees feel there are opportunities for growth and the development of new skills within their company, they will be encouraged to provide their highest efforts to their work.
On the other hand, if they feel trapped in the same role without any chance of receiving a promotion, it will give them the impression their contributions are not appreciated and that they are not of true value to their employers.
Being provided with opportunities for growth will greatly increase an employee’s work ethic, and often results in them viewing what they once thought was a short-term job transform into an opportunity for a long-term career.
Give employees their own voice
When employers provide their workers with the opportunity to put forward their opinions, concerns, and suggestions on company matters, it lets them know that what they have to say is important.
Many workers don’t know whether or not they should give their input and this is why it’s vital that the company lets them know it is safe to do so. Organizations must also realize that listening to employee opinions is not enough and that any feedback or suggestions put forward should be acted upon.
Provide flexible scheduling
With the constantly increasing presence of technology in the workplace, employees need to be provided with a more flexible work schedule. Providing flexi-time and work-from-home opportunities is the best way for businesses to approach this.
It will allow workers to read work emails on the go, or to work on projects on their laptops at home, without missing out on payment for their work simply because they are not in the office.
Finding methods to keep employees engaged with their work is vital to the success of an organization. Employers who do not accept that their employees are the biggest asset to their business will face a number of roadblocks down the line including high levels of employee churn, low turnover, and the loss of key staff members.
To avoid this, and keep employees satisfied and passionate in their roles, businesses should dedicate time to putting practices in place that motivate their workers and lead to increased levels of engagement. By making this effort, they will be rewarded with an energized, enthusiastic and inspired workforce, who are loyal to the business and eager to work hard to ensure its continued success and growth.