How to approach employee engagement
You’re paying appropriate wages, and meet all compliance requirements. But are your employees truly engaged?
What is employee engagement?
A simple definition of the term would be, how connected staff feel to your business. Are they passionate about work, having forged an emotional connection to their place in the company?
Employees can be competent and content without loyalty being truly engaged. No matter the size of your business, staff engagement has the potential to greatly influence your industry presence.
Effect on business
Research continually shows disengaged employees translate into loss of revenue as a result of lower productivity, increased days off, and decreased staff retention. Overall, a substantial impact.
Employees who feel valued and empowered are generally more engaged. But how do you achieve this? Determining the best way forward can be difficult, especially if feedback is minimal, leaving business owners unsure how to progress.
General ways to increase engagement
Ideally, feedback facilitated through a HR program can be channelled into a targeted strategy for ongoing increases in employee engagement. In the meantime, there are key areas that can be examined for general improvement:
- Define vision and values so staff can emotionally and ethically engage, believe in upper management’s lead, and feel comfortable in the culture of the office.
- Offer ways to improve skillset that span training opportunities, but also involvement in events that allow for networking and industry recognition.
- Listen, and compromise to avoid a resentment-fuelled us vs them dichotomy between staff and management becoming entrenched and normalised.
- Understand money isn’t everything and embrace flexible working hours, reward through time off, or offer recognition with work from home days where viable.
- Prioritise community, within and without by encouraging team-building, including involvement with charities, and environmentally conscious office practices.
- Consider employee health and wellbeing by initiating steps that address stress and anxiety in staff, whether arising from a personal or professional source.
The importance of feedback
Listening to your employees is important, but sometimes easier said than done. While you can ask for honest commentary, reasons employees hold back may include:
- Not wishing to appear critical of the company.
- Unwillingness to complain about management.
- Avoidance of addressing problematic team dynamics.
- Hesitant to bring up personal wants and goals.
- Worried feedback may impact promotional opportunities.
- Workplace culture does not support or implement suggestions.
- Apathy or sense of disconnect from business has set in.
Choice of feedback system matters. Communication is easier if trust is present, and feedback also needs to be part of an ongoing strategy. Questions must enable responses that offer helpful insights.
There are many ways to research employee engagement, often through human resources. Business should facilitate programs that consider both long-term and short-term goals for increased employee engagement.
Acting on feedback
Feedback itself is only one step. Once the collated data offers insight into what could improve your staff’s workplace experience, it’s time to decide on a path, and introduce changes.
If a business ignores feedback, employee engagement will worsen. But changes that only benefit one group may increase resentment. Feedback-based initiatives need to be carefully considered.
When the core of the issue is structural
Employee engagement will always be impacted by ineffectual management. Frustration, mistrust, and overwork equal a toxic work environment. Listen to what staff are telling you about the situation.
If feedback highlights an issue such as ineffective management or understaffed departments, and the need for change is obvious, our team can help with any company restructuring.
How HR and employee engagement entwine
The business should create strategies and programs that address employee engagement, from sourcing regular feedback, to suggested avenues of response. Employee health and wellbeing may also require attention. Providing affordable support services positively effects employee engagement which could include sourcing suitable employee assistance programs.