Helping staff feel engaged and connected with their workplace leads to more motivated teams and better company performance.
Staff in the UK have average engagement scores of just 45%, making it one of the least engaged workforces in the world (Qualtrics Employee Pulse survey). Yet organisations with engaged staff enjoy higher productivity, staff loyalty and improved company performance.
Paying attention to employee engagement therefore couldn’t be more important. Here are a few ideas on how managers can make great strides towards improving engagement among staff:
1. Make Quality Time from Day One
Companies often try to ease new employees in gently on their first day, which often means leaving new starters reading through introductory brochures and documents. This can start things off on the wrong foot, making employees feel isolated and that they’re not engaged with the team. Instead, arrange plenty of face-to-face contact and introductory sessions with colleagues.
2. Its all about Communication
If employees feel they can’t speak their minds, they’ll naturally feel less engaged at work. Encourage staff to share their ideas and be enthusiastic about thoughts they bring to the table. As well as having regular dedicated catch-up sessions with your team members, make sure they know you can approach them any time to talk.
3. Encourage Ideas Development
If an employee comes up with a new idea but you’re not sure if it has any merit yet, give them the go-ahead to spend a couple of hours a week developing it. The idea could turn out to be fantastic for the business, while employees will feel valued and connected to the company thanks to being given some freedom to nurture their ideas.
4. Organise 'Team Time’
When employees feel connected with their colleagues, they feel more engaged with the wider company too. Create opportunities for staff to get to know each other by organising team lunches or drinks and occasional team building days. Volunteering as a team in the local community is also a great way to bond teams, while giving something back to local causes at the same time.
5. Provide Mentoring and Development Opportunity
Employees often start to become disengaged when they feel there’s no more room for them to learn and develop at work. Keep a close eye on team members’ development and make a point of knowing what their career aspirations are. Proactively suggesting mentoring or training opportunities will help staff feel important and valued in the workplace.
6. Flexibility and Wellness Should be a Priority
Ensuring employees don’t feel micromanaged and have some autonomy in the workplace naturally makes employees feel more connected to a company. This goes hand-in-hand with staff wellness and wellbeing in the workplace which is a hot topic at the moment. As well as offering flexible working and perks such as discounted gym memberships, actively encouraging your people to make the most of these opportunities will show them you care.
7. Genuinely Support Internal Promotion
Staff think about leaving a company when they feel they can’t progress to the next level in their career. Prioritise internal recruitment whenever vacancies come up and offer employees extra training to prepare for the interview process. Actively encouraging employees to apply for internal vacancies helps them feel engaged, connected and loyal.
8. Bring in New Energy
Your people want to feel inspired at work as well as doing their jobs, and sometimes the most effective people to do this are from outside an organisation. Bring in an external facilitator for your training and why not host occasional lunchtime or after-work talks by compelling speakers. This could be someone from the industry you work in, or an individual who can inspire because they’ve completed an amazing personal challenge. This is a fantastic way to make staff feel connected to each other as well as to the company.
9. Mix it Up
Sometimes it’s the routine of the office environment that can make employees feel disengaged. Give employees the opportunity to work from a different desk or alternative location once in a while. Spruce up the office environment with some new plants or a redecoration to make it more inspiring. Be spontaneous sometimes too – go and play a game in the park during lunchtime, bring in special snacks or hire a massage therapist to give 10-minute desk treatments. It’s often those small things that have a big impact.
10. Celebrate Success
Recognising individuals when they have contributed to or completed a notable piece of work is really important for employee engagement. As well as mentioning people by name who made a project successful, add a personal touch too, such as thanking employees with a hand-written card.
Focus on implementing employee engagement ideas such as these for a happier, healthier and more loyal workforce.