Creating and maintaining an engaged and energetic workforce is one of the most important things any employer can do. Why? Because a happy workforce affects the business on so many levels.
An engaged workforce results in better employee health and satisfaction, lower absenteeism, higher retention and greater productivity and profitability. So, regardless of your industry, putting employees first is the way to go.
Recent research highlights what happens if you don’t.
The 2020 employee experience trends study by Qualtrics revealed that NZ and Australia experience the highest level of employee attrition globally, with 23% of workers intending to leave their current employer within the first year.
The number of employees looking to change jobs jumps to 40% when the period’s extended to two years.
While Australia and NZ fare better globally for employee engagement, with 53% of employees reportedly engaged in the workplace, there’s still a lot of room for improvement.
According to the study, the top drivers of employee engagement are confidence in senior leadership to make the right decisions, recognition for good work, opportunities for learning and development, managers who help employees with career development and managers who are effective in helping resolve work related issues.
So, what tips should we take on board to keep our staff engaged?
1. Regular, meaningful recognition
Most employees like to receive praise and acknowledgement when they’ve done a good job, and the link between this and engagement is strong. In fact, according to research, over half of an individual's engagement is driven by the amount of recognition received.
Statistics show that recognition raises employee engagement by 10-25% which positively impacts on performance commitment, productivity and company loyalty. It also decreases employee turnover by 23-31%.
Provide employees with immediate recognition or praise as that can effectively boost confidence and morale. Other forms of recognition could be a company email acknowledging the employee, a raise or other type of monetary bonus, a title promotion, an extra day’s leave or a lunch out.
2. Focus on staff wellbeing
Sadly, stress is common in the workplace and can manifest in both physical and mental illness. This can subsequently impact on an employee’s engagement, so maintaining their wellbeing should be number one.
Regular workshops on stress management and resilience can provide practical tips and strategies for employees, as can company counselling and support services.
Organise weekly meditation, yoga or fitness sessions. Offer classes in mindfulness and enhanced wellbeing. Encourage employees to take regular breaks throughout the day and regularly check in on their wellbeing yourself.
3. Practice open communication
Adopting an open door communication policy is a great way to make connections with employees. Similarly, regular one on one meetings give you the chance to get to know what makes an employee tick. What keeps them motivated? What do they dislike?
Gaining this regular insight can help you and them iron out any creases of frustration or address any concerns. It results in building trust and helps ensure that you’re both on the same page. In simple terms, the more regularly you do it, the better.
Research indicates that teaching managers and employees to have more frequent, meaningful conversations about work expectations and progress leads to higher engagement and performance.
4. Empower employees
Teamwork makes the dream work. And when it comes to employee engagement, that much is true.
Being given the opportunity to contribute ideas and suggestions to a team helps employees feel like they have buy-in and that their voice matters. Studies show this to be true.
A global study of engagement from the ADP Research Institute found that if employees consider themselves part of a team (or even better, part of more than one team), they are twice as likely to feel engaged in their work.
5. Offer flexible working options
Flexible working arrangements are rated as one of the most desirable benefits a company can offer. Employees love having input into their work location and hours. Flexibility means they can collect the kids from school, run an errand or just simply achieve a better work-life balance.
Studies have shown that implementing a flexibility policy in the workplace results in increased employee engagement and performance. So, what are you waiting for?
Flexible working options may include flexible hours of work, compressed working week, job sharing, part-time work, purchased leave, telecommuting, time-in-lieu and unpaid leave.
6. Foster pathways for career progression
Employees want to be able to upskill and grow in an organisation, so career progression and development paths are an important part of the business. Without this, disengagement can happen, as one study suggests.
The findings from the LinkedIn study, revealed that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their staff development.
To avoid this, talk to each employee about their talents, the areas in which they want to improve and their goals. This information can form the basis of an action plan that, at the very least, identifies necessary or desired areas of career development and how to achieve this.
Other initiatives for career progression include promoting internally, upskilling employees and offering on the job training and workplace mentorships.
Keeping staff engaged should be at the top of every organisation’s agenda. Without enthusiastic and committed employees, organisations will fail to thrive. What you invest in employee’s today, you’ll get back tomorrow in increased productivity, commitment and loyalty. Now, who doesn’t want to engage with that?
Author - Frontline Human Resources
Tagsemployer, engagement, tips