Employee engagement is the emotional commitment and amount of effort an employee is willing to give to their employer and that organisation’s goals. The more effort and involvement that members of staff have in an organisation the higher levels of success an organisation has.
Think of it like this – if a staff member feels more involved and connected to an organisation the more they are willing to do their best. This is reflected in their level of care for the organisation, what it provides (services or products) and the people they come into contact with (other staff members, stakeholders, customers etc.). This tends to lead to improved customer service, increased profits, increased productivity and improved staff retention.
There have been huge numbers of research into the benefits of staff engagement and they show time and time again how staff engagement improves various elements of the business. This in total leads to improved profits and a more stable organisation. But very few researchers talk about how to improve staff engagement. So here is my experience of staff engagement and what you should and shouldn’t be doing.
Ditch the HR staff engagement questionnaire
First of all ditch that long staff engagement questionnaire. I have met HR directors who send out annual staff engagement questionnaires with 150 questions in them. Seriously that’s the easiest way for most people to feel disengaged. Think about this – what are you really asking? I understand it is about collecting base line information to help you work out if things have improved following a level of intervention but seriously how much data do you need.
Start having discussions and asking questions around peoples’ connection to the organisation. How involved do they feel and what would help them feel more part of the organisation’s development?
Cakes are for birthdays not rewards
I was horrified recently when a client told me that when staff members have worked hard or done a good job they buy them cakes. Now I’m no health guru but I’m not sure that we want staff members with diabetes. Cakes are a birthday treat in an office not something to say well done for a good job done. Surely we need to say that every day they have done a good job. You can either start expressing gratitude directly or take out a daily order at the local bakery!
Consider this – rewards are often not as well received as you thought they would be. Be realistic about rewards. A few extra pounds to some staff members is neither here nor there. For others it could make a big difference to their weekly budget. Choose rewards appropriately and don’t rely on them to motivate people as they rarely do in the long term.
Getting your staff involved
Staff who feel more involved in a business, its decisions and the way in which it is being shaped are more likely to feel engaged and connected to the organisation. Everything from staff away days, staff involvement in business planning or staff conferences with discussions and involvement from everyone with open and honest feedback from everyone, is likely to be successful in increasing engagement.
Help staff to do a great job
Provide staff with the tools, support and opportunity to do the best job they can. I can’t believe I need to say this but when staff have what they need to do a great job they are more likely to feel like doing their best for you. Ask staff what makes life difficult for them and see if you can help ease the problems.
Most of all understand that to feel engaged and connected we all need to feel useful and appreciated. I do love a bit of cake but I prefer to feel valued. How about you?