How to…deliver sustainable employee engagement

Motivating employees can ensure that your business grows, giving your people an unfair advantage

Without motivated employees who support your business goals, your business will stay in the slow lane. When looking at the often complex, ambiguous and potentially confusing subject of employee engagement, it’s not unusual to dive into the how, before thinking about the why. In my experience, there are six fundamental building blocks that have to be in place for employee engagement to work sustainably.

1. Getting on board

The business case for employee engagement is clear. Engagement and culture is considered the number one global business issue (Deloitte) and engaged companies are recognised as growing profits up to three times faster (Corporate Leadership Council). However, according to Gallup, only 13% of employees do more than turn up on time and meet minimum expectations. For an employee engagement strategy to be truly successful, it has to be an agenda item that is supported by the board, the company owner or the people at the top.

2. Clear culture and values

Company culture is at the heart of competitive advantage. It sets the tone for everything that happens within an organisation – defining how your people behave, how your teams interact and how the business drives success. In small businesses this happens naturally but as businesses grow, culture gets diluted when there is a lack of clarity around the values that make your company unique. The key to defining your company values is to keep them simple, memorable and aligned to the way you do business. It’s not enough just to tell everyone what these values are; everyone has to live them every day, including the leaders, managers and people who talk to customers.

3. Digitise

In all aspects of employee experience, a digital “answer” has entered the equation. Research shows that the HR world doesn’t always use the most digitally savvy option. The typical digital experience we give our people lags way behind how we use technology outside of work. Many organisations have yet to seize the opportunity that data and HR analytics offers us to improve people performance. Addressing both of these areas by investing in HR technology is critical in the competition for top talent as well as for staying ahead in our chosen markets.

4. Employer brand

A strong employer brand tells people what you are about as an employer and why they’d want to choose to work in your business. It’s key to attracting, engaging and retaining the best talent. You need this for your market reputation to attract people who can perform well with you. HR teams can create a strong employee experience and deliver part of it through reward, recognition and employee experience.

5. Communication

If culture and values are bringing people together in supporting the direction of your organisation, then clear communication will keep them on track. Good internal communication is difficult to achieve and maintain, though it becomes considerably easier if everyone – from the bottom to top of the business – understands how to do it and how to play their part. What is required is clarity about expectations, accountability and the tools to communicate consistently. Dialogue should be two ways – listening to employees, rather than simply telling – in order for managers to understand and acknowledge blockers to employee engagement.

6. Employee wellbeing

The best employers now understand the link between employee health, wellbeing and engagement. If a person is healthy in all aspects of their life, they will be ready to fire on all cylinders when they come to work. Getting this wrong can undermine business performance. High engagement with low wellbeing leads to burnout whereas low engagement and low wellbeing will see your employees walk away from your business. This means that the final building block in employee engagement is to understand the broader pressures faced by your people, and put in place the support they need to improve employee wellbeing – health and wealth – as part of your people strategy. Taken together this is no small set of tasks, but without these foundations in place, it’s hard for any business to grow and thrive.

Author: Jane Sunley | Category: Blog | 31/05/2019 | 0

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