Far from being a trendy buzzword employee engagement is an economic necessity. As data from Gallup shows the companies which have engaged employees outperform other business by 202%. In addition, the study showed that companies in the highest quartile of employee engagement ratings outperform those in the bottom quartile in customer ratings, productivity, and profitability.
Studies also show that only 13% of employees worldwide are effectively engaged in their work, with the global costs of unproductivity reaching a staggering $7 trillion.
This suggests that although companies need to focus on their clients it is equally important to make sure your staff are engaged. This means that they feel connected to the company / business and are motivated to do a good job.
A survey question by Gartner 2019 asking: ‘Which of the following factors are most highly linked to employee engagement in your organization?’ highlighted some interesting statistics:
Relationship with immediate supervisor: 79%
A sense of purpose: 75%
Organizational culture: 74%
Opportunities for career growth: 68%
Enjoyment of work: 68%
Relationship with colleagues: 67%
All this provides a very clear picture: engaged employees are happier, perform better, and provide a better experience to the end customer.
There is plenty you can do to improve employee engagement in 2020. Let’s look at some ideas that you can put into action.
Show you care
We all like to feel valued for who we are rather than how much money we make. Employees are no different. In fact research shows 83% of engaged staff say “my supervisor cares about me as a person” compared to just 3% of disengaged workers. (Source: Glintinc)
It’s clear getting to know people is worth it. So, if you want staff who care about their work you must first show you care about them as people. Get to know your employees. Find out what matters to each employee professionally and personally. Who’s their favourite superhero? Who broke a world record? What are their career goals? Ask and listen!
Knowing someone and trusting them are two quite different things! So, as well as getting to know your team, have faith in their abilities. Engage employees by empowering them to take responsibility for their work and new challenges.
Give people the autonomy to get the job done in their own unique way. All this ‘trying and doing’ it for themselves develops employees’ skills through experiential learning. Remember that empowering employees means steering clear of micromanaging.
Warning: Other people’s way of doing things may be different to yours (but it just may be better!).
Businesses with a strong learning culture enjoy employee engagement and retention rates – between 30% – 50% higher than businesses that don’t. Offering career and development training that includeswellbeing topics would keep 86% of millennials from leaving their jobs. (Source: Glintinc)
Wellbeing training should cover evolutionary practices, the three main ones being: Sleep, Diet and Exercise. In addition, at work training on how to look out for signs of stress and burnout in our colleagues is helpful.
Engaging the services of leading professionals in wellbeing and mental health to offer interactive workshops and seminars to educate staff at all levels will help ensure the company’s workers mental and physical wellbeing is kept a high priority.
Investing in your employees with ongoing job training keeps them engaged in their chosen career path and therefore more committed to the company. Training and development also encourages’ communication and connection between colleagues who will share knowledge and experience.
Ideally, once started, keep this face to face communication going in order to build relationships and trust.
Encourage social connections
88% of employees rate connection with their colleagues important to their job satisfaction. However, 73% of employees working in an open planned office fail to talk to one another. (Source: Peoplemanagement.co.uk)
Over the last 20 years there has been a huge step forward in technology, which has changed the way we communicate both at work and socially. Face-to-face communication has reduced, and we’re at risk of losing the human connection – which is crucial to improving engagement at work.
After speaking with a number of professionals in the City it was striking to find the majority described their working day as containing little or no personal verbal communication with their peers; it’s always an email. Even if the person is just across the room – email was still the dominant form of communication.
One way to tackle this issue would be to remove individuals from the office and put them in a neutral, social environment. This can be done with an engaging and fun away day, perhaps one that the team has collectively chosen for itself.
Team bonding days have their place – but they are all about work! You are more likely to engage individuals with fun experiences and activities that they would choose for themselves. Imagine offering them a day out they would really love? The sort of thing that they’d happily pay for and organise at the weekends or on a day off in their own time? Imagine how much more impact that would have than something that felt like a ‘work’ day? The interest, excitement and commitment are already there as it is something they actually want to do and/or experience.
Clearly not everyone will have the same interest for every event / activity that is chosen. Perfect! This gives the employer an opportunity to engage different individuals from across the business who share the same interests, creating a common ground that’s ripe for breaking the ice.
For those who like to do other things then the next engaging Away Day can include those who share more of the same interests. Once there are several groups of engaged individuals talking about their Day, in the days or weeks before and after the event, am pretty sure they’ll be looking forward to the next one having already started to engage naturally.
Engaging your staff socially out of the office on inspiring and engaging events centred around wellbeing is a sure way to improve morale and in turn productivity for the company. A company away day with a wellbeing theme can generate up to 800% ROI.
Lead by Example
Belief in senior leadership is the No.1 factor in creating positive employee engagement. 58% of employees say they would start a job with a lower salary if they worked for a great boss. 85% of employees say they would stay longer in a company with an employer who shows a high level of social responsibility. (Source: Glintinc)
The best way to do this is by example. Don’t tell them about your great leadership – show them through your own actions. If you make a mistake; take responsibility. If you say you will do something; make sure you do it. If you set a deadline; meet it.
Offer flexible working conditions
75% of employees say they experience greater productivity when they are working from home. This also reduces commuting time, cost of travel, less daily stress and a comfortable environment. (Source: Glintinc)
The downside to this is isolation; employees risk losing even more connection with their colleagues / peers, especially if they are spending the majority of the week working from home with no human contact.
However, arranging social engagements can help to mitigate this by building relationships and ensuring that the people you are dealing with remotely on a day-to-day basis are not just faceless emails, but real people whose personalities you know. It’s much easier to build a relationship and trust when you share a common interest in an event or activity.
Fun at Work
84% of executives thought that employees with a sense of humour do better job than employees with little or no sense of humour. (Source: Linkedin)
Studies show 90% of people say a fun work environment is very or extremely motivating. (Source: Growth Engineering)
There are so many ways to have fun and everyone has their personal favourites. An away day for example on an inspiring, engaging and exciting event will build trust, resilience and connections across the workplace at all levels especially with a Wellbeing theme at its core.
A recent 2019 ‘Simply Health Survey’ monitored by CIPD found that those organisations who had wellbeing activities improved morale and engagement by 44% and lowered sickness by 31%. The survey clearly suggested that many private sector organisations would benefit from a more strategic approach to embracing wellbeing. And yet, R.E.B.A reports that only 8% of organisations at board level have a wellbeing agenda.
Individuals are more engaged whilst doing an activity which creates a better impact and therefore better results.
Doing what you can to improve employee engagement will support individuals, teams and the business as a whole. May you all thrive in 2020.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Craig Bulow is the founder of Corporate Away Days, a corporate wellbeing events company delivering engaging, inspiring and exciting events focussed on Wellbeing and Reward activities. Corporate Away Days also creates, designs and builds corporate wellbeing policies and provides leading experts for interactive workshops, seminars and talks on improving mental health and overall wellbeing.
Every Corporate Away Days event and activity is chosen with wellbeing as its focus, helping to encourage employee engagement, foster connections and build relationships within the business.