Employee engagement continues to be a topic of great interest for HR professionals and organisations. In fact, the UK Working Lives survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) at the beginning of 2018 revealed that “just half of workers feel enthusiastic about their jobs or are willing to work harder than necessary to help their employer or clients”.
The survey also described the seven dimensions that make up the Job Quality Index with Health and Wellbeing being the most important dimension. This highlights the importance of employee engagement and its relationship to well-being should be a critical consideration for every Business Leader.
At the management level, how do you get your employees to engage with the business?
The simpler answer is: Just be real! People will generally connect and warm up to you when they trust you, and no employee would ever trust their business if they didn’t view it as a true friend.
So, the question therefore is, how do you turn your business into a true friend?
A trusted friend is one that listens to you when you need a listening ear, empathises with your problems and provides a shoulder to cry on, is loyal to you especially when you’re facing challenges and will sacrifice herself for you.
It goes without saying that your employees will view your business as a trusted friend only when the business;
- Seeks, listens to and considers their perspectives and opinions
- Deals with concerns, complaints or grievances fairly, compassionately and consistently; always aiming to learn from the experience rather than laying blame
- Supports employees’ health and wellbeing, especially when they are facing challenges which are not work-related
- Is prepared (within reason) to defend employees’ rights and benefits
Achieving these will require a number of things;
- It is essentially important to start with a review of the business culture and processes. This review will help to identify your baseline and will inform the approach or strategy to be adopted in making the necessary changes.
- Train up line managers to lead with boldness, transparency and sustenance. Employees will feel empowered to raise issues rather than hiding them or turning a blind eye when they are confident that those issues will be dealt with. You can find out more about how to engage with your teams from our previous blog “Top tips for employee engagement”.
- Establish clear mechanisms through which staff are involved in decision-making, are kept up to date with team and business news and can raise concerns and risks with confidence.
- As in any culture change situation, the leadership team will need to champion and role-model the new engagement strategy in addition to running a dedicated campaign.
- Set up a scheme to reward the employees or teams who have successfully adopted the new behaviours and to celebrate the business gains.
Most businesses currently use various means to motivate their employees for higher or superior performance. Though this is an important tool for driving commitment, it cannot replace a genuine engagement initiative. For most, this would mean looking beyond the traditional intrinsic dimension of engagement which is generally delivered through the provision of employee benefits and rewards, and giving a more considered focus to its extrinsic facet through trusting and enduring relationships.
Besides, companies will also need to consider engaging with employees right at the outset of the employment relationship, from the recruitment process through the whole employment life cycle including intermittent periods of absence be they planned or not (long-term sickness, maternity or paternity leave, during a sabbatical or a career break).
Your engagement strategy will succeed only through your ability to hold everyone to account.
Therefore, such an initiative must be managed as a project with a detailed plan and deliverables. There also needs to be a process for measuring success, for feeding back on progress and to challenge any nonconformity to the agreed behaviours or deliverables.
We’d love to hear what you’ve done to improve your employee engagement. Let us know in the comments, or on our LinkedIn page.