Posted by Noreen Curtin on 7th March 2014.

A fully engaged workforce is motivated, driven and passionate in wanting to succeed. A workforce that is disengaged can therefore have a huge negative impact on any business particularly its profitability, so what is the secret to successfully engaging your workforce?

Employee Engagement is crucial in any organisation, particularly in a recession and a recovering economy. A company will surely perform better if their employees feel valued, listened to and rewarded. It has been reported in a recent white paper titled ‘Evaluating Employee Performance through Sponsorship’ that the UK has an employment deficit and that only 1/3 of employees are engaged. That means that essentially 20 million employees are not fully engaged in their work and therefore not contributing 100% to the productivity and therefore profitability of the organisations they work for. The taskforce, ‘Engaging for Success’ set up in 2011 to improve levels of employee engagement in the UK released a report highlighting that the UK ranked 9th out of 12 of the world’s largest economies for engagement. It is also estimated to be losing £20+ billion every year as a result. What is also shocking is that only 13% of employees globally are engaged at work. This is an untapped resource which if organisations identify, motivate, value and reward will have a positive impact on performance and ultimately profitability of any given organisation.

Employee Engagement is high on the agenda for a number of organisations already. Those employees who are disengaged within a business lack the passion, motivation and desire to ‘go the extra mile’. And it is these individuals that we need to tap into that is going to be essential to the on-going success of our businesses.

Being engaged isn’t just about being rewarded financially. The recession has developed a new breed of employee, one who has helped support and grow the organisation through a tough economy. These individuals can look beyond salary and genuinely want to be happy and motivated within their working environments.

But how do we recognise these individuals and drive engagement when every employee has different views? One individual’s passion, motivation and drive can be very different from another.

So which organisations succeed in Employee Engagement and why? Google has created an environment to thrive. Where individuals are given the opportunity to be creative and flourish. DHL demonstrate their appreciation through annual recognition awards and others look at honouring top performers and offering monetary rewards. At SAP, they promote open and honest communication. Smaller organisations without dedicated HR support need to look at what they can do to ensure they keep their employees engaged. For example, one to one meetings or ‘tea with the MD’ as I have experienced in the past, have always been positive where as an employee you have the opportunity of face time with senior leadership to express your thoughts and dare we say it, feelings about your work, managers, environment etc.

Unfortunately there is no real secret to successfully engaging your employees.

Employee Engagement shouldn’t necessarily just fall to HR, everyone has to take some responsibility and understand the impact they can have as a leader in a business. So really there is no real secret to successfully engaging your employees. Employee engagement needs to be something embedded culturally in a business, where managers and leaders are able to identify the behaviours of a disengaged employee and be prepared and able to respond in the best possible way.