So you already have or are in the process of hiring, some really great staff. Awesome. If they’re new, they’re surely excited and looking to give their all. If they’ve been there for a while, maybe not so much. According to the ‘Survey of Global HR Challenges: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, 1/4 of the best employees will leave if not engaged adequately, and effective development of staff can increase performance by a staggering 25%! They’re big numbers. In this article we’ll look at why employee engagement is so important for your business, as well as a few key ways to maximise their development & engagement over time.
What is employee engagement?
Do you remember that accounting essay you had to write? Took you ages didn’t it. You weren’t excited to write it, the only reason you did it is to get a good grade. Procrastination kicks in and other things become more important. There’s a good chance you weren’t engaged and your efficiency and performance showed it. Employee engagement is about creating the conditions in which employees thrive, they are able to more from their skillset and are motivated to access and develop their potential. Win-win right? You get a super employee and they get even better over time.
How about employee development?
Employee development simply means investing to facilitate a means for employees to learn specific information or skills in order to improve their capability to perform in their roles. This could mean formal learning programs, courses, seminars or just consistent on the job training. Developing your staff obviously has many benefits, including reduced turnover, deeper talent succession pools, increased employee motivation, task speed and competency as well as profit growth. Here’s a great saying you may have heard… ‘what if I invest in my staff and they leave the business – isn’t that a waste? Imagine if you don’t invest in them and they stay!’
Here are three interesting suggestions you could implement to increase employee engagement in your workplace:
#1 Way: Demonstrate the meaning and impact of employees’ work
- Communicate your organisation’s wider mission. Why do you do what you do? And how does each employee contribute to that ‘why’? For many employees, it simply isn’t clear. Rewarding and recognising individual achievements and successes is one clear link that demonstrates their work was valuable to the organisation and your customers.
- Embed the company ethos into everything you do, and more importantly, take action to make sure it’s represented. When employees are aligned with the overall vision and meaning of their work, they have a larger purpose.
#2 Way: Empower staff autonomy and growth
- Trust employees to do what you hired them to do. No micromanaging! Focus on larger goals and strategy and allow employees to take the best path for them. This might mean allowing them flexibility in their working arrangements (working from home) in order to balance the rest of their commitments with work. This may improve engagement as they strive to reciprocate & appreciate the autonomy they have been given.
- Provide and encourage training to allow them to grow. Invest, monetary or otherwise, into growing your staff. How about giving them time, or grants, to develop their own projects? How about a career break after years of service? Both of these can lead to innovation opportunities and long-term loyalty – as they have been treated well and more importantly, respected.
#3 Way: Use technology! Digital onboarding & recruitment
- Embrace new technology wherever possible. Go digital! It’s truly a wonderful thing – how about video interviews… It’s now possible to hire someone on the other side of the world without ever meeting them, increasing the talent pool. Employees now have all the tools to work how, and from where, suits them best. An employer who facilitates this will surely attract and engage higher quality staff members right?
- We’re all sick of manual paperwork, It’s hardly engaging.. automate processes whenever you can! One such way is by using a digital onboarding software. No printed forms, manual data entry or confusion around a new starter. Automating this process allows recruitment to spend more time finding the best people, not admin. New starters are onboarded seamlessly, with their contract pack completed by the click of a button. They know who their manager is before starting, and all the required accesses and IT requirements are good to go, ready for them to hit the ground running. First impressions are really important right? Get them engaged from the get-go.
Summing it Up…
Now you know all about employee engagement, learning and development, why it’s important and how to foster it. Your staff are likely the most important asset to your business, and it’s important to treat them that way – their success is your success. Develop a strong link between the work an employee does, and the result it drives. Reward or individually recognise staff who go above and beyond. Provide as many learning opportunities as possible – people naturally want to improve, help them improve the organisation too. Give them autonomy and flexibility when it’s earned, they will reciprocate. Still need a kick? Go digital. Ensure staff are looked after and engaged from the beginning – this starts when they apply for the job! Until next time, I wish you the best of luck with your employee engagement and development goals.
Until next time, take good care!