Employee engagement is key if you want your business to be a success. It's not something that should just happen once a year as part of your review process, but something that is a constant focus. If you have a team of passionate, engaged employees, then they are more likely to be more productive, more profitable and likely will want to stay with you. If you have all of this then you are already ahead of the competition.
If you don't and you want to see successful employee engagement in action, there is currently a 3 part BBC documentary about IKEA (Flatpack Empire). It's certainly worth a watch and may give you some ideas about your employee engagement. The excitement from the staff about going to visit the birth place of IKEA, the pride of being part of the family - and they are still run as a family, despite being a worldwide enterprise - the dedication and passion are all amazing to see. If you currently manage a team and haven't seen the documentary already, then we strongly recommend it.
Whilst employee engagement starts right at the beginning of the recruitment process by recruiting people who will share your passion and will give their best efforts to ensure the success of the company, in this blog, we focus on your current teams and how to start an employee engagement strategy that will help drive your business forward.
Why you should engage your employees
Walk around your company and ask yourself how it feels. Are people happy, are they committed and dedicated to the success of the company, or are they simply doing the bare minimum to not get fired and to receive their salary at the end of the month?
Employee engagement can be described as how much employees genuinely care about the future of the company. An engaged employee is dedicated to helping the business to be successful and helping it expand or improve efficiency. Imagine having a full head count of highly engaged employees and what that could do for your business.
Your customers will notice too! Engaged employees have stronger customer service skills and will really go that extra mile. These are your superstars, the ones you need to nurture and develop further. You should never take employee engagement for granted. An employee can become dis-engaged if they do not feel supported and appreciated for their hard work. Lots of companies forget this and tend to focus on those employees who need more encouragement then are shocked with their most committed team member resigns.
How to engage your employees with an employee survey
There are many ways to help identify the current level of engagement within your teams. We would recommend starting any employee engagement plan with an employee survey. Find out what drives your teams, what motivates them to do the work they do. Do they have all the tools they need? Are there distractions that prevent them from working at their best? What are their plans for the future within the business? Is there just 1 thing that the business could do to improve?
There is such a wealth of information at your fingertips. All you need to do is ask!
If you keep the responses anonymous then you may be amazed at what you find out. Simply approaching your employees for feedback in this way will help them engage and shows that you care about their opinions, which can be a big motivator in itself.
How to engage your employees
Once you have completed your employee engagement survey and have all the information you need, you can determine areas for improvement.
1. Create an action plan. Take time to look at all the information you now have to hand and create a plan to help implement improvements. We recommend choosing 2 or 3 things that you can action very quickly, supported by a plan for completion within 3 months, 6 months and 12 months. You can't fix everything at once and there will be some things that you are unable to change, but spreading it out over 12 months will mean that employee engagement is always on the agenda and not just something that you did once and never spoke about again.
2. Communication. This is a real key area for employee engagement and a vital element to business success. It's important not only to communicate the feedback from the survey and the action plan, but also information about the company in general. Share information on how the company is performing - you don't have to give all the financials - percentages work well when it comes to growth plans. Share your vision for the company and what part all your employees can play to ensure its success. Engaged employees will be more committed to your vision if you share it with them - good and bad.
3. Give them the tools. Pay particular attention to the feedback regarding tools to do the job. If there is a piece of software that would improve things, or a process that could be shortened to increase productivity, then surely it makes business sense to make a small investment to action these areas. It may be that these improvements cost nothing and could be as simple as additional in-house training for improved confidence in day to day tasks or it could be a more significant investment in technology. Whatever you decide to do for your teams to help them to do the job well will pay huge dividends and not only increase productivity, but also employee engagement, which in turn increases productivity... - you can see where we are going here!
4. Personal development. As well as any additional training your employees have highlighted, having an ongoing personal development plan will help both your employees and your business grow. If you or your managers see people struggling with a task, encourage them to act on it in a friendly and supportive way. You could also use this to encourage team work. When a team work together on a task then there is an improved sense of camaraderie and this really helps when learning how to engage your employees. Not only do people tend to thrive when they work with people who share their passion, putting less engaged employees with some of your most engaged will help spread the feelings of passion and determination.
5. Getting to know you. It is proven that employees who feel valued tend to be more engaged. It's a simple as asking them if they have nice plans for the weekend, how their child's school play went, how their husband's birthday was, hobbies, goals or anything else that will make them feel that you do care about them as an individual, not just a cog in the machine. You will of course need to invest some time in building rapport with your employees so that you know the best questions to ask, but once you have done this, then this will become very natural.
6. Recognition and Incentives. These are an informal and formal way to recognise and reward a job well done. In some cases, a simple well done or a thank you can go a long way in how to engage your employees and will make them go into the next task with vigour. You may want to take this one step further and reward them with a small something, an early finish on a Friday, pay for their lunch or buy them a card. If you take point 6 on board and get to know your teams as individuals, then you should know what they would appreciate the most.
If you prefer a more formal approach, then you can implement incentives to help push people further. One of our clients gives away 5 European weekend breaks each year to their staff and they are nominated by their colleagues for going above and beyond, for a customer, a colleague or the business as a whole. This is a superb way to include everyone in the company too, whether they be client facing or not.
7. Make it fun! Above all else, the workplace has to be an enjoyable environment to be in. People spend a lot of time in work and if the environment is fun then they will be looking forward to coming to work each day and are less likely to take time off sick or let you down. Creating a fun environment is what can give you the edge against your competitor as it will help you retain your teams. Here at JobHoller, we celebrate the first Friday of every month and always make sure that it's something fun that the whole company can be involved in from celebrating Chinese New Year, to going to the races, there’s something for everyone. Another of our clients has a social committee who are given a small budget each month and staff vote on what they would like to do with it - a night out, something to do at lunchtime in the office - all you need to do is allocated the budget and let your employees do the rest.
So how to engage your employees can be simpler than you think! Start engaging your employees today.
If you would like help with your Employee Engagement strategy, give us a call and let us create the perfect solution for you. Call the experts at JobHoller - 01244 567967