6 Strategies For Better Employee Engagement

Enhancing employee engagement is not an if, it's a when!

A 2019 Clear Review1 survey reports that with 45% of employees displaying signs of engagement with their work the UK was lagging behind other European countries. A Gallup survey2 in 2017 suggests that the facts were worse that this, indicating that only 11% of UK adults report feeling engaged in their work. So, is it time for more organisations to take notice of this and seek to address their own shortcomings? Furthermore, the same survey reveals that 21% of the UK workforce considered themselves to be actively disengaged in their work.

Still not convinced that focusing on increasing workforce engagement is worth your time, effort and money? ... Additionally, consider that employees who are engaged perform better3, are less prone to errors at work1, are less likely to consider leaving their jobs1 and that overall companies with engaged employees likely to be up to 21% more profitable1,4. In addition and by way of summary, it seems that engaged employees are just more likely to put discretionary effort into their work and to do so over a prolonged period of time.

Ultimately, along with higher work performance, lower rates of staff turnover and better psychological well-being, employees who feel engaged in their roles are more likely to put discretionary effort into their work.

To support you in developing the engagement of your employees we provided you with our 6-point ENGAGE strategy that you can use to increase the engagement in your workplace.

Strategies for Increasing Engagement

If organisations want engaged employees, they themselves must engage! ENGAGE in the following 6 ways:

  • Excel in development and onboarding.
  • Notice and address over-engagement.
  • Gather employee opinion.
  • Always demonstrate integrity.
  • Get rid of micromanagement
  • Emotionally intelligent leadership.

Strategies to ENGAGE

ENGAGE - Excel in development and onboarding

  • Showing that you value personal and professional development ticks the box for many UK employees.
  • Providing opportunities for your employees to feel challenged, especially when they understand that you are investing in them, will enable the development of engagement across your teams.
  • Don't forget onboarding!
  • Onboarding is your first opportunity to show that you want to:
    • Offer a development opportunity for a new employee.
    • Help new employees settle quickly into their new job, the organisation and the culture.
    • Of course it assists in setting organisational expectations too!

Questions to consider:

  • To what degree do we support ongoing employee development?
  • To what extent do employees enjoy the ongoing training that is provided to them?
  • Has our onboarding process been carefully considered and recently reviewed?

ENGAGE - Notice and address over-engagement

Where employees overcommit to their work at the expense of their work-life balance.

  • Reflect on the working culture and what this may be 'saying' to employees about what is expected, praised or rewarded.
  • Support these employees through coaching, thus providing them with the opportunity to assess their behaviours and the impact of such behaviours.
  • Review organisational policy. In particular consider policy that relates to the following areas of work:
    • Access to work servers (email, desktop) from remote devises.
    • Policy around maximum working times and annual leave.

Questions to consider:

  • Do our employees often stay late after work?
  • Do our employees often continue communicating on email when they are at home?
  • Do we have a high levels of absenteeism?

ENGAGE - Gather employee opinion

  • Including employees in the goals of the organisation and the way that these goals are embarked upon can be very empowering for your teams.
  • Seeking feedback on plans or requesting input in the more formative stages of your planning can be advantageous for the many reasons:
    • Your employees are more likely to feel involved in the work they are doing.
    • Your employees are more likely to feel motivated as a result of this.
    • Your employees are often experts in the roles that they do for you and as such are often able to provide valuable input.
    • Remember - From an engagement perspective, when your most vocal employees go quiet ... it is time to worry.
  • When dissatisfaction is not voiced, it becomes increasingly toxic for organisations. Allow people to express their views if you want the best out of them.
  • If you remember one thing from this, it should be ... give employees a voice.

Questions to consider:

  • How often do we communicate vision and strategy with our employees?
  • To what degree do employees get offered the opportunity to contribute to projects?
  • Do you think your employees feel heard?

ENGAGE - Always demonstrate integrity

  • Many organisations say what they do ... but doing what they say can be a different matter altogether.
  • Using organisational values to promote to clients and employee alike can be very powerful. However not behaving in accordance with these values on a regular basis can be both bad for business and bad for employee engagement.
  • The values set out by the organisation often form part of the psychological contract for employees.
  • Consider an organisation who publicises their customer care, and a new employee who was attracted to that organisation because they like to offer this to their customers. Now consider if that same employee sees colleagues or managers consistently omitting the importance of customer care. 
    • Not behaving in accordance with these values can lead employees to feeling that their psychological contract has been broken.
    • This can have a negative impact on their morale and engagement.

Questions to consider:

  • How clear are we about what our organisation stands for? (values)
  • Have we spent the time to translate these values into observable behaviours?
  • To what degree is focus placed on upholding these behaviours? Or... What happens when the expected standards are not met?

ENGAGE - Get rid of micromanagement

  • Micromanagement can be responsible for the following employee outcomes:
    • Feeling of a lack of trust from management.
    • Feeling fearful of making errors or making poor decisions.
    • Lower employee performance.
    • Hesitant decision making or behaviour.
    • Lowered motivation, confidence and engagement in tasks at work.

Questions to consider:

  • How is progress and success measured?
  • How clear are the expectations of employees made at the outset of tasks?
  • What safeguards are in place to achieve high performance without the urge to micromanage our people?

ENGAGE - Emotionally intelligent leadership

  • The relationships that employees have with their managers and leaders is often one of the most critical aspects when determining whether employees feel engaged at work.
  • Emotionally intelligent leaders will:
    • Seek to understand the feelings (the emotions) of those around them.
    • Ask questions, with a real desire to carefully listen to the answers they are given.
    • Manage themselves in a more purposeful and productive manner.
    • Manager relationships around them with a greater degree of mastery.
  • Emotional intelligence can be developed when purposeful development efforts are invested in.

Questions to consider:

  • How much support is provided to our managers in helping them to develop their emotional intelligence?
  • To what degree are we as an organisation open to change and owning our mistakes? (Or do we blame others?)
  • Does our organisational culture make it acceptable to address human emotions at work?

What Happens Next?

Considering the ENGAGE strategies above will support you in highlighting where your organisation is currently maximising employee engagement, as well as highlighting where it could be strengthened. If you want any support in enhancing your employee engagement do not hesitate to contact us where we can offer you further support and guidance.

 

Sam Bruce, Business Psychologist & High Performance Coach

 

References

  1. Clear Review (2019)
  2. Gallup (2017)
  3. CIPD (2019)
  4. People Managing People (2020)
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