“The only way to do great work is to love what you do” – Steve Jobs
It is quite often the case, that our focus on employee engagement is the first thing that is dropped when workloads get heavy, budgets are cut or during peak demand. In an industry where employee retention can be difficult, profit margins are tight and customer satisfaction is very important, we must do more to recognise that having an engaged workforce plays a vital role in our organisation’s success.
Who looks after employee engagement within your organisation? Some large businesses have designated people to champion engagement amongst employees, but more often than not it falls into the responsibilities of others as an extra-curricular part of their role.
“Organisations in the top quartile for engagement (where more than 7 in 10 employees are engaged) saw a 4% increase in sales growth compared to an average company. By contrast, bottom quartile engagement companies were down -1%.” (Aon Hewitt)
So here are our top tips that no matter what your budget or whose responsibility it is, can be adopted within your workplace;
- Build trust by keeping your promises. If you say you are going to do something for your colleagues, make sure you do it or explain clearly why you haven’t.
- Be visible. Don’t lock yourself in the office, make sure you go onto the shop floor as often as you can to interact with the team.
- Understand that respect works both ways. Everyone’s role is essential and without them your business would not function, so make sure you show them that.
- Motivate, support and challenge. Give regular constructive feedback to your employees, do not steer away from difficult conversations – it will be beneficial in the long run.
Give your workforce a voice
- Empower your workforce. Involve them in Continuous Improvement processes, you could even create CI Champions. Listen and involve them in decision making.
- Let opinions be heard. Remember employees have the answers, let them help you to grow, innovate and succeed. Create graffiti areas or Stop, Start, Continue boards.
- Make time for your employees. Talk to them, either informally when you are passing through the operation, create engagement surveys or organise ‘Let’s Talk’ sessions.
Give people the right tools to do the job
- Training and development. Value the impact that expanding your employees’ knowledge base has, it will improve their weaknesses, drive a higher performance and of course it shows they are valued and will therefore boost morale.
- Coaching and mentoring. Your employees will feel supported and will build valuable skills to help in their career development – what better way to invest in them?
- Team collaboration. Encouraging collaboration between teams makes for a stronger workforce.
- Reward and recognition for a good job done! Rewarding your employees doesn’t always have to involve pay raises and bonuses. Appreciate them with thank you notes, monthly awards and a decent appraisal process.
Corporate Brand & Responsibility
- Be clear on your company objectives. Make sure your employees know how they can contribute towards them and how they will benefit
- Show that you care about your employees. Have a strong health, safety and wellbeing strategy with goals for accident reductions, clear return to work processes and absence management.
- Show that you care about others. Have great engagement with and give back to the local community, have clear environmental and sustainability strategies, lead on and support charitable work.
Part of the process for employee engagement may be to complete a survey (as mentioned above), where we ask for the employee’s opinion on many different topics such as brand, health, safety and wellbeing, communication, senior leadership etc. However, that is only a small part of the actions that need to be taken to get the most out of a feedback survey. Sitting and staring at those online responses will only get you so far, you need to get into the workplace and speak to people! Make engagement a constant, not just an annual activity that you switch on when the survey monkey lands in their inbox.
If you give your employees a sense of purpose and fulfilment in their job they will approach their work with energy, dedication and focus and we can assure you that your business will reap the benefits. It will improve your customer satisfaction, reduce your workplace accidents, you will see greater retention levels and reduced absence through sickness.
Don’t delay it, create your plan today and start engaging with your workforce. You won’t regret it!