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How To Engage Your Employees

What Is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is vital to the success of your business. But what does the term actually mean?

Employee engagement refers to how you as an employer, provide a work environment that enables each and every member of your team to perform to the very best of their abilities. But employee engagement isn’t just about performance. In order for your staff to be motivated enough to give their all, you’ll need to make sure that they’re happy, fully supported, and committed to achieving your company’s mission, vision and values. 

Trust is a key element. Employee engagement doesn’t just happen – it has to be established and nurtured. It’s important to remember that it can be lost far more easily than it’s gained, so it’s worth committing some time and effort to ensure that your people are happy and fulfilled at work.

When employees are engaged, they consider the success of your business as their own. That’s because they know that they’re working towards a common goal that serves the interests of everyone.

Why Is It Important?

You’ve heard it a million times; a company’s most valuable asset is its people. Those businesses that succeed in engaging their employees tend to experience higher productivity, happier staff, and increased team morale. Importantly, because employee engagement is built on loyalty, it also goes a long way to improving your retention rates when it comes to the most talented members of your staff.

Employee engagement matters because your people matter. As an employer, you’ve got a duty of care towards your staff members. You should be providing an environment that’s supportive, and pro-actively promoting well-being and self-worth. When your staff feel good about the work they do and the reasons why they do it, you’ll get to see their full potential. And that’s where your business, and your bottom line, will reap the benefits.

What’s The Theory Behind It?

The concept of employee engagement isn’t complex, but sustaining it takes time and effort. Keeping your employees engaged is much easier if you have the basics in place and understand the theory behind it. So what is the theory behind it?

It starts with thinking about the aims and goals of your business. Aims and goals are good because they’ll help your employees find meaning in the work that they do on a daily basis. If your company is a place where your employees feel free to be themselves, you’ll get the very best from them. They should be able to voice their ideas and opinions without fear of being mocked, criticised or reprimanded. In addition, employee engagement relies upon employers taking the time to ensure that your employees are OK to perform their roles and obligations free of any physical or mental barriers.

Essentially, the theory of employee engagement depends upon you as an employer treating your employees as individuals and equals in order to get the best from them. In return, those companies who are committed to keeping their employees engaged, see increased customer satisfaction, happier employees and better retention rates.

What Are The Key Drivers Of Employee Engagement?

Once you know what employee engagement is and why it’s important, you need to think about how to achieve it within your business. Here we take a look at the key drivers of employee engagement.

Enjoying work and having fun whilst doing it

First things first, it’s been said that if you’re not having fun, you’re not playing on the right team. People spend far too much time at work to be unhappy, it’s a massive part of life and it should be enjoyed. People who have fun at work have stronger colleague relationships and a higher enthusiasm for the work they do. The likes of Apple and Google are trailblazers when it comes to employee engagement. It’s because they’re fun, high-energy and embrace the creativity of their people.

If you don’t want your employees to become disillusioned and stressed, make your company a fun place to work. And don’t be afraid to shout about it!

Strong relationships

You’ll never keep your employees engaged if you don’t know anything about them. It’s human nature to form connections with others and to help each other where we can. Those employers who have high levels of employee engagement spend time with their teams. They know what matters to them and more importantly, they’re genuine in their care. As an employer, you’ve got to keep it real. Authenticity is key when connecting with your employees. You’ve got to mean it, otherwise, there’s no point doing it.

Development and progress

There’s nothing worse for team morale than stagnation when it comes to work. Employees need to feel consistently challenged if they’re to stay motivated. Your employees should be given the opportunity to learn and develop. They should be given the opportunity to enhance their existing skills and acquire new ones.

This doesn’t only benefit your workforce, it benefits you and your company as well.

Making a difference

For your employees to feel engaged, they need to feel as though they’re making a difference. They need to feel like their efforts are recognised and that they’re contributing something meaningful to the business. Part of this is trusting your employees enough to give them a chance to do this.

Whether you measure the difference they make in terms of individual performance, the whole team’s performance, or both – it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you’re allowing your employees to be part of something bigger and recognising that.

Freedom

If you want your team to get, and stay, engaged, then give them a little room to run. It all comes back to trust. If you’re constantly micro-managing and stifling new ideas and creativity, you won’t get the best from your people.

Freedom is a big driver of employee engagement. It encourages loyalty and helps to increase productivity. If your employees are working on their own initiative within your company, they’ll be far more invested in a successful outcome. You might also find that this is a far more efficient (and therefore cost-effective) way of working.

How To Establish A Culture Of Employee Engagement

Recruitment isn’t just about you choosing a candidate to fill a vacancy, it’s also about them choosing you as an employer. Whilst it’s important to hire the right people in the first instance, it’s even more important to make them happy enough to stay with your company long-term. And thanks to companies like Google and Apple, having a great company culture is the starting point.

When it comes to employee engagement and company culture, the size of your business doesn’t matter, they’re non-negotiable requirements if you want to experience success. Here are our thoughts on how to establish a culture of employee engagement:

  • Don’t be superficial. Financial perks alone won’t result in engaged employees. Be authentic; stay in touch with your team members and hold regular catch-ups and appraisals.
  • Make criticism constructive and give praise where praise is due. Tell your employees how good they are. Today’s candidates know their worth, you should too.
  • Have a company vision that includes your values and principles. Share it with your entire team. Make it something they can work towards achieving every day.
  • Create a great workspace. Your place of work should be a comfortable and safe place to be. Make it bright, uncluttered and supportive. Encourage your people to look after themselves both mentally and physically and promote an open door policy.
  • Take your corporate responsibility seriously. Support a charity and be a part of the greater good.
  • Lead by example. Excellent leadership is behavioural. You should be consistent, approachable and embody everything that you stand for. Employee engagement happens from the top down.
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