Finding an employee who is engaged in their work is well, rare. A recent poll by Gallup found that only 13% are engaged worldwide whilst a staggeringly low number feel the same in the US, Canada, the UK and 18 EU based countries – each with less than 40%.
Going the extra mile, working with passion and feeling a sense of pride are just some of the traits that separate an engaged worker from a not-so engaged worker.
But why does it matter? Surely engagement is just about understanding the role and getting a task completed? Well, not quite.
Engagement is about driving the business forward, bringing out innovative ideas and procedures that can get your company and the people in your company to a new level of success and, done correctly, happiness in the workplace as well.
According to Raconteur magazine, engaged staff are 44% more productive than non-engaged staff so, aside from being a good thing for your business – it’s a strategic decision to take the time to learn more about this field and create a workplace that works for everyone.
So, what ways can you improve employee engagement? Here are some basic solutions which can be applied almost instantly across your business…
Businesses are starting to understand that workers are actually people. There will be times when workers need to stay at home for family reasons, or can get through very specific work in an environment which is conducive to full-on engagement and concentration.
Showing your workforce that you can give them time to deal with a variety of different scenarios and building in tools, equipment, and communication from home or working remotely can significantly increase engagement. It shows workers that you care, they tend to be happier and significantly more engaged in the work process.
Allowing employees to work from home is becoming much more popular, with many businesses building it into job descriptions, at least for a few days per month.
By giving employees the option to work from home or have their own flexible working hours, it provides them with a level of trust which is hard to match by any other means, and will no doubt lead to the employee being more focused, productive and overall happy within their role – which in turn is great for the business.
This is key to many great relationships. A good manager will set the bar at what they respond to and what they don’t respond to within a few weeks of managing a team, likewise, so will a worker.
When managing a team it’s important to remain as authentic as possible. Don’t falsify relationships and don’t hide what are sometimes necessary truths of the business when it can affect their jobs. This will give the workforce a sense of realness and openness about the place – meaning they can be honest and feel that the transparency on the show is a two-way street.
In a recent study of UK office workers, authenticity was voted as one of the top 3 contributing factors in how happy the employee was in their role, and how long they estimated they would stay with their current employer. And it stands to reason, no one likes a fake boss who pretends to like them in order to squeeze as much out of them during the working day.
Your team will feel much more at ease and engaged if they know their manager is authentic and trustworthy. They’ll feel free to openly discuss issues and ideas, without the fear of rejection of the unknown.
Get them to take a break
One easy to implement tool is taking a break. That 5 minutes to get up, or sit down, stretch or even go for a quick walk can make all the difference. These breaks can relieve tension and stress, gets their mind off work and allow a few minutes to just gather their thoughts for the day.
Try to encourage your staff to get up from their desks during break times, and perhaps even leave the building. Getting a change of scenery can really help to reset an employee’s state of mind, which after a few hours work may not be in the best position.
It’s also a good idea for staff not to simply switch from one screen to another, i.e. from their desktop while working, to their mobile on their break – this isn’t a break at all and is unlikely to offer the same benefits as a brisk 5-minute walk in the fresh air. Go here for more examples of better ways to take a break.
A key benefit to this is also clear to understand – workers will see that you care about their health, leading to greater trust and understanding between all the parties involved.
Clarify work goals
There are times when an employee or a team can experience collective burnout – this happens when goals aren’t clarified for everyone to understand. This can lead the team to feel undervalued and worse ignored.
Not only is this bad for staff morale, but it’s also a nightmare for businesses and managers. If your team doesn’t understand what they’re working towards, they will rarely get there.
The easy way to cure this is to have regular conversations and meetings to talk things through and to show the team why the targets are set.
Good leadership starts here and importantly, this clarity helps them understand where they sit in the team, what strengths they can use and where they can also grow. This alone can improve engagement considerably in a short space of time.
It’s also important not to appear as though goals are being dictated to staff, as though they have no say in them or how they work. Try to allow your team to feed into the business’s collective goals, as well as their own personal goals within the business.