As we’ve previously discussed, there are a number of benefits to companies of having an engaged workforce, including improved productivity, innovation and staff retention. It’s one thing to want a more engaged workforce, though, and another to know how to go about developing one.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be difficult to improve employee engagement. It’s simply a case of understanding some of the factors that affect levels of engagement among employees and keeping these in mind when shaping the way in which a company is run.
Every employee needs to deliver their role to a high standard, but allowing them to shape how they do that not only means they are more likely to enjoy their role, but also shows trust in their chosen approach. This autonomy makes employees feel valued by an employer. Other ways employees can be given degrees of autonomy include the ability to manage their own flexi-time and their being given time to work on ideas of their own that they think might improve the company.
It’s important to acknowledge when employees have delivered something successfully, have gone above and beyond their call of duty or have solved an issue with ingenuity. Of course, no-one should need a song and dance making about everything they do, but a complete lack of recognition can lead to employees feeling detached and unvalued by their employer. It need not take much to provide recognition for a job well done either – a mention in a staff meeting or a simple word of thanks from a manager can be enough.
While praise for good work can help to improve employee engagement, it’s also important that employees can see the positive impact of good work from a personal perspective. Showing a clear path of professional development based on ongoing achievements shows employee that good work is rewarded fairly and that the company is willing to invest in their future.
Workplaces are not just places where we come to work. By bringing people together, there is naturally a social element to them too and fostering this can help to improve engagement. Having team outings is one obvious way to do this and ensuring a closeness between employees and their seniors is another. This can be done with regular company-wide update meetings or even by simply ensuring that employees have an opportunity to speak to senior staff with ideas or feedback. Ultimately, demonstrating the desire for a more integrated workforce will create a more engaged one.
Finally, employees feel more engaged when they believe in what they are doing. This might be simply in working towards a common goal within a company or because a company is itself working for a moral cause. Either way, if employers can convey the significance of employees’ roles in this and show that they themselves are motivated to work towards it, they will take their workforce along with them.
Our free guide, 'Choosing a cycle to work scheme: an employer's guide', provides impartial advice on how cycle to work schemes operate, things to consider when choosing a scheme and best practices for setting up a scheme.