We all want our business to be successful – but did you know engaged employees generate 43% more revenue than unengaged ones? (source: Hay Group). This doesn’t mean that staff should have a diamond on their 3rd finger or upcoming nuptials – it means that they should be committed, motivated, enthusiastic and interested in the business.
And it seems we need it – a recent survey found two thirds of employees not fully committed to their current employer! (source: Kelly Services). Not only that, but Australian researchers have just shown that it is actually worse for our mental health and wellbeing to be unhappy in our job than it is to be unemployed.
So it’s great news then that a set of guidelines has been launched to help businesses to build a culture that will lead to improved business performance. The guidelines cover issues such as how to manage, involve and communicate with employees. (For more details, go to www.businesslink.co.uk/employeeengagement )
So here are some practical tips on how to keep your staff engaged…
Get people’s views, ideas and suggestions and input, and involve them in decision-making on things that affect them. You can do this through staff surveys, suggestion schemes, employee representative groups – or just good old-fashioned talking! Ask them what they think and feel, and show that you’re listening to what they say. Even if you can’t do everything that they ask, at least they’ll know they’ve been given a fair hearing – which means you’re far more likely to get their buy-in and commitment to any decisions.
People like to feel trusted to get on with their job – no-one like having a manager breathing down their neck watching their every move! So try to allow people to take control of their work, to decide things for themselves, and to take responsibility for putting their own ideas into practice. But they’ll need the confidence to do this, so make sure they know you’re there to give them any help, advice and support they need.
This doesn’t mean financially – big bonuses may improve someone’s life outside work, but it won’t make a difference to their life on the job! Acknowledge people’s efforts and successes – a bit of praise, recognition and thanks will make a huge difference to morale. Awards, mentions in newsletters or meetings, small gifts and cards, food and drinks can all make people feel appreciated. And don’t forget to have an effective set of HR policies and practices that are implemented fairly and consistently – according to the CIPD, this can have a direct impact on employees’ performance, development, motivation and loyalty.
Even if people are content to bloom where they’re planted, they still want the opportunity to grow. So give people the chance to train, learn and develop, to try new things and to progress their career if they’re able to.
All of which benefits not just the organisation, but also the staff, and in the long-term, our country’s economy – so there’s no reason not to! With great employee engagement, everyone’s a winner!