According to research by Gallup, ‘highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity’.
The study also found that engaged workers are less likely to move on from their roles, in fact, it found that high-turnover organizations saw a 24% reduction in turnover within departments that were engaged. This is great news for businesses concerned about the ‘Great Resignation’ predicted to take place as economies recover from the global pandemic. In the UK, 38% of the workforce are looking to switch roles within the next 12 months.
This blog examines how you can improve engagement within your business.
Measuring Employee Engagement
In order to judge whether or not changes you are making are improving employee engagement, it’s important to have a goal in mind:
- Why do you want to improve engagement?
- What does success look like?
For example, maybe your goal is to have employees recommend your company as a good place to work in order to improve your hiring process. Or perhaps it’s the number of individuals who get involved in company-wide initiatives, such as fundraising events or ideas gathering.
Once you have your goal in place, you need to work out how you will choose to measure it. Many organizations capture the views of employees through regular surveys, but you can also use data captured in one-to-ones and look at figures such as retention rates and how many new hires were recommended via existing employees.
Establish your baseline results before you start to make changes and set KPIs around the results you would like to see. Then, check back on a regular basis to see the effect of initiatives you have put in place.
Communication is Key
Communication underpins all aspects of engagement. If you would like people to engage with your business and their work, then you need to keep them informed.
This is especially important if you have teams who work remotely, are offline, or are spread around several locations as it’s easy for people to feel disconnected from the main organization. You could do this by communicating through numerous channels and scheduling in face-to-face time – particularly for those working offline.
Give Meaning to Work
Research has found that individuals will be more engaged with their work if it feels meaningful.
One way you can create meaning in their work is to show how it relates to your organization’s wider purpose. Alternatively, you could find out about your employee’s values and make changes to your business to reflect these. So, if your people are all about giving something back, why not introduce support for volunteer work or sponsor a charity as an organization.
Creating an environment where employees feel a connection to their work will naturally result in higher levels of engagement.
Allow for Autonomy
You can improve autonomy at work by supporting a growth mindset – a focus on growth and learning, as opposed to avoiding mistakes. Ensure that employees have the tools they need to do their work effectively (including training), enable them to prioritize their own tasks, and encourage managers to operate on a more ‘hands-off' approach. You could also consider offering flexible hours or the opportunity to choose to work some days at home.
Listen to Your Employees
According to Forbes, employees who feel they are being listened to by their organization are almost five times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.
Take the time to get to know the groups of people who work in your business and ensure that they have channels they can use to make their voices heard. One way of doing this is to use innovation software to enable them to contribute directly to challenges affecting your business and clearly see the impact their contributions have had.
Give Feedback and Recognition
Rewards and recognition make employees feel valued and give them greater confidence in the quality and value of their work.
Consider offering rewards based around time as well as monetary value, such as an extra day off. In an always-on world, people are becoming increasingly aware of the need to have time for themselves.
Boosting employees’ confidence in their work will create a greater sense of engagement in your organization.
You can do this by offering mentoring for those in the early stages of their career or running skills swap sessions, where team members can teach each other aspects of their work.
Similarly, it’s important to ensure that new team members have a good experience when being onboarded into the company so that they can quickly find their feet.
Improving Employee engagement
When looking to improve the engagement levels of people within your business, you first need to decide what a good result would look like and start measuring it.
Once you have a goal in mind, you can:
- Ensure you have effective communication channels in place
- Give meaning to work – show your employees the impact they have
- Enable greater autonomy
- Show your employees that you are listening to them
- Provide feedback and recognition
- Offer mentoring, and ensure you have a good onboarding process