There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to employee engagement. People are individuals and get to choose for themselves how engaged they are with their employer. But there are things that you can do to increase the likelihood of the people in your organisation or team becoming more engaged. It takes time (although not always money) but the benefits of it will be felt not only internally but also externally, as engaged employees are far more likely to deliver a good experience to customers or service users.
85% of the world’s most admired companies believe that efforts to engage employees have reduced employee performance problems (Hay 2010).
A Gallup study (2006) looking at data from over 23 thousand business units has demonstrated that those with the highest engagement scores (top 25%) averaged 18% higher productivity than those with the lowest engagement scores (bottom 25%).
In order to feel engaged people need to know what they are engaging with. They need to understand the why, how and what of the work they do and buy into that. This approach, based on positive psychology and HR experience, needs values to sit at its core. So that’s a good place to start.
Ask yourself this:
Do people in your organisation know why what they do is important?
Do they know how to go about doing it?
Do they know what they are trying to achieve?
If these three simple things are in place, then the work you do develops a sense of purpose. Once that is in place then you can begin because now there is something for everyone to engage with.
According to the Engage for Success taskforce, there are four Pillars of Employee Engagement:
Visible, empowering leadership providing a strong strategic narrative about the organisation, where it’s come from and where it’s going.
Engaging managers who focus their people and give them scope, treat their people as individuals and coach and stretch their people.
There is employee voice throughout the organisations, for reinforcing and challenging views, between functions and externally, employees are seen as central to the solution.
There is organisational integrity – the values on the wall are reflected in day to day behaviours. There is no ‘say –do’ gap.
Putting all of this in place takes time, effort and knowhow. But any organisation that does will reap the rewards of the effort for years to come in increased productivity, competitiveness and customer service.