If you are a business manager, this is the year to be a part of the resurgence in the economy. 2014 has started with a flurry of positivity, despite reported minor blips in some sectors, rising employment and talk of further growth in the economy.

This is driven in no small part by enterprising bosses taking the bull by the horns and simply getting on with things. However, the key to successfully getting on with things is effective employee engagement. For bosses to be able to drive forward their businesses, they have to take their staff with them.

Successful employee engagement brings with it a number of benefits, which ultimately lead to a significantly increased likelihood of business success. Studies have suggested that high commitment organisations with loyal and dedicated employees outperformed those with low commitment up to 200%.

Additionally, research suggests that replacing entry level employees costs up to 50% of their annual salary, with that figure rising to 150% for middle level employees and as much as 400% for specialised, high level employees (Ajihon, 2013).

Benefits include having employees who are proud to work for the business, with a satisfaction which encourages them to stay with the firm and be a long-term part of its success. They are also more likely to be innovative and responsive to change.

The business itself becomes more productive, leading to a more effective team, with a high performance culture and greater profitability. A recent Gallup study found that those organisations with the highest engagement scores (top 25%) average 18% higher productivity than those with the lowest scores. All of this creates a business which operates in a way which generates satisfied and loyal customers.

However, it is important to have a number of things in place to create this feeling of engagement within employees. They may sound like common sense, and they are, because we all recognise them as things we want in our own careers.

Employees need to feel involved in the business and recognised for their skills and the role they play in the team. They want to feel like a part of an effective, motivated team, working with credible leaders who care and inspire.

Opportunities to learn and develop should be in place, as no employee wants to feel like they are in a rut, with nowhere to take their career.

Consistent communication about not only the individual’s performance, but that of the business, is also important. Sadly, it is not always the case that this happens and, especially when so many people have recently experienced uncertainty in the economy and their own careers, such transparency in a business can make a huge difference to one’s state of mind and performance.

However, perhaps the most simple, but important contributing factor in creating an engaged and ultimately successful workforce, is that people want to feel happy and well-treated in their workplace.

Successful and effective employee engagement is not rocket science. However, it is often something which is either ignored by or simply does not come naturally to some people who find themselves in a position of management.

To be a credible and successful manager or leader, those skills which are not innate must be learned and developed. The first step to completing that skills set and maximising an individual’s potential is to identify which are in place and which need work.

Are you ready to unlock that potential?

Sharon Klein is a director of Azure Consulting, a Yorkshire-based specialist in leadership development. www.azure-consulting.co.uk. 01924 385600. www.twitter.com/azureconsult