Your workforce is the most important resource that your business has; ensuring your team is engaged in their work is key to the success of your business.
Engaged employees bring greater productivity to their work and feel more personally and professionally fulfilled. If the values of the team are being met in terms of their needs and motivators, they will be more ‘engaged’, and productivity will increase.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) describes employee engagement as ‘being positively present during the performance of work by willingly contributing intellectual effort, experiencing positive emotions and meaningful connection to others’.
Up until 2017, the CIPD regularly measured employee engagement in its employee outlook survey. This explored employee attitudes in the fast-changing world of work in the UK. It indicated that engagement levels in the UK were typically 30-35% (up to 50% in the voluntary sector). This means that only a third of UK staff were actively engaged at work, and 20 million workers were not delivering their full capability or realising their full potential at work. This provides huge scope for an increase in productivity and satisfaction if engagement is enhanced.
Current measures of staff engagement are still developing and are not consistent. Meaningful employee engagement needs to reflect the needs of the team and what is most important to them, not just the needs of the business. Leaders and managers need to be seen to take this seriously and, as happens with customer satisfaction surveys, to measure and follow up on the findings.
By listening to what is most important to your team – in other words, their values, and the extent to which these are met – action can then be focused on the areas that will make the biggest difference to individual and business engagement, productivity and effectiveness.
Employee engagement – the evidence
Businesses in the bottom quartile for engagement scores average 42% more accidents than those in the top quartile. In addition, businesses with engagement scores in the top quartile
- Have twice the annual net profit of those in bottom quartile
- Have revenue growth 2.5 times of those in the bottom quartile
- Have 18% higher productivity than those in the bottom quartile
- Average 12% higher customer advocacy
- Employee turnover is 40% lower than those with low engagement.
It’s also worth noting that 59% of engaged employees say their job brings out their most creative ideas (3% for least engaged).
Wanting to engage and motivate your team?
Remember the 3 things that motivate others are:
- Purpose – ensure you have a business vision and communicate it to your team, live and run your business by your values and ensure your team’s values are aligned.
- Autonomy – A sense of control within their work, will engage and motivate your team. Find out what they want from their job and how you can help them achieve this.
- Development and Mastery – What training and development do they want and need, we all want to get better at what we do, in doing so we feel a sense of achievement and fulfillment in our work.
Here are some ways to do it:
- The physical work environment can have a profound effect on employee morale. Light and bright work environments are the key.
- Ensure employees have a staff room or an area where they can get away from their main place of work, this will enable them to take time out, refocus and return re-engaged.
- Aim to create a productive, yet enjoyable atmosphere. Your employees spend more time of their waking hours at work each day than they do elsewhere, make sure it’s a place they enjoy coming to.
- Make sure your employees have what they need to excel. If they have the tools required to achieve their goals, it’ll go a long way in keeping them engaged and motivated.
- Whether it’s a birthday, an engagement, a work anniversary, celebrate the things that mean something to them.
- Use newsletters and noticeboards to highlight employees who have performed well each month, allow their success to be celebrated by all in the company.
- Keep individuals motivated by coming together and setting their own goals and linking them to how they will make a difference to the whole business.
- Incentives such as bonuses and dress down days, can help motivate employees and show they are appreciated. Remember not to focus purely on monetary benefits, these will motivate some but not others. Offering employee benefits such as health insurance, helps show them you care about their wellbeing.
- Away days and a chance to work as a team outside the normal environment can be effective to break up the monotony of daily work and help colleagues bond.
- Champion physical exercise, a healthier and fitter team will be a more productive team, if possible, arrange discounted gym membership, encourage walking meetings, encourage team events. Remember not everyone is a competitive athlete, ensure what you offer covers the majority of needs.
- Surprises automatically make our brains pay closer attention and lends these events greater emotional weight. Therefore, frequent positive surprises, like team lunches, have the potential to override occasional unavoidable bad news.
- Encourage employees to take the holiday allowance given to them- everyone needs and works better with a break.
- Show your team the value in their work, communicate how what they do impacts the overall picture.
- Be seen to truly listen to the concerns of your team, implement what you can and give reasons why their ideas don’t work, whilst thanking them for giving them.
- Encourage open, honest conversations, don’t skip around the “elephants in the room”, you will gain more respect from your team if you deal with the issues as they arise.
- Ensure all managers have appropriate training. A breakdown in the relationship with a manager is the cause of 90% of the reasons why people leave their job. If you have a high turn over of people, you need to look at who is managing them and begin your questioning there.
- Ensure you risk assess for work-related stressors, once you know where the greatest pressures for your team are you can then implement changes that will make a real difference, both in terms of wellbeing and improving productivity.
- Training your team in the art of positive thinking can help reduce stressors and create a clearer happier outlook.
- Give your team the tools to build their best team, understand their strengths, the differences within their team and how to get the best out of others.
- Make sure they know what’s expected of them and they fully understand their job role, be there to answer questions and give further details if needed.
- Encourage employees to work to their strengths and offer them workshops and further training to hone skills they and or you want to develop in them.
- Ensure you show you value your team, a well-timed “thank you” goes a very long way.
- To find out what motivates your team, ask them! Have conversations about what they want to see happen in the business and what they need to make their jobs easier. Once you know, you can work out how to implement it.