When running a company, you rely on your staff to move things forward. Hiring the best staff for every stage in your company development is essential. But once you’ve found and hired those staff, your work isn’t done yet. If you want your staff to stick around, you need to focus on their needs and make sure you are cultivating a work environment that keeps them engaged.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is all about encouraging your employees to connect with their role. This might sound simple, after all, they show up to work every day and have a job to do. This should be enough, right?
Well, not really. There are many different factors that feed into our feelings that we are connected with our jobs and actively making a difference. If you don’t have any connection to your role, you are more likely to be bored and your output will suffer in the short term. In the long term, you might start looking for another job. Or worse, you might stick around and drag the company down.
Why is this important?
Employee engagement is essential for companies to get right. If you ignore this essential aspect of employee management, you could end up with a much higher employee turnover. This means that you will be spending a lot more money on recruitment, and you’ll be losing top people when they are at the peak of their careers.
It isn’t only about getting your top workers to stick around. While keeping recruitment costs down is surely a good thing, employee engagement can also help you to get the best work out of your current workforce. You might dismiss a worker as lazy or uninterested when really they are a star employee who has become disengaged with their work.
If you want your workers to show up to work every day feeling energised, refreshed and ready to give you their best work, you need to think about how to keep them engaged.
Putting employees in control
So far, we’ve looked at how important it is to keep employees engaged with their work, but what does this actually look like? To many people, engagement is about feeling connected to their role and leaving work at the end of the day feeling like they made a difference. This will be different for every worker. Some people work best with a bit of competition. Some people thrive on constructive feedback. And some people need to be praised for their contribution.
When it comes to bringing engagement into the workplace, you need to think about each person as an individual and meet their needs. They should be in control of when and how their work is assessed and reviewed. While some people like to stick to their strengths and double down on effort, others like to have the chance to explore new avenues. Allowing your employees to feel in control of their career path is one of the key aspects of workplace engagement.
Engagement in recruitment
If you want to nurture an atmosphere of engagement, it needs to start at the recruitment level. New recruits need to know that engagement with their role is expected. This can help to rule out the people who look good on paper, but who won’t fully show up for your company.
Working with the right recruitment agency can help. Start with a recruitment agency that is unique to your industry. This will ensure that every single person showing up for an interview is actively seeking a role in your industry, not just that role in general.
For example, those recruiting in the events industry might find they have a lot of interest from people with a passing interest in events. It’s a career path one might try out after successfully organising an office party in a previous role.
Social engagement for employees
Employees shouldn’t only feel connected to their superiors, they should also feel connected to other people in your organisation and beyond. Giving workers a construct and framework to be able to talk about their work achievements to outside sources is essential for networking.
A lot of employers get nervous about their workers talking about their accomplishments in a public forum as they see it as a free recruitment tool for their competitors. But this kind of protective and insular thinking is counter-productive for your company.
The world is a connected and social place, no matter how much you might try to protect your interests. It’s better for all involved if you allow your employees to share their accomplishments and trust that your framework for engagement is enough to make them want to stick around.
Social engagement in the workplace can help employees to discover new solutions to problems. By connecting with workers in other departments, they can find time and money-saving fixes to common business problems. This is the kind of oversight and engagement that business owners will pay consultants hand over fist to uncover. But the solutions could be right under your nose.
How does this feed into retention?
So far, we’ve looked at how you can recruit people who are actively engaged with your industry. We’ve also looked at how to encourage existing employees to make the most of their roles and take ownership. But how does all of this feed into employee retention?
At the end of the day, workers who feel fulfilled in their roles are more likely to stick around. The most common reasons workers will look for a new role are:
- They are unhappy or unfulfilled with their work
- They don’t feel challenged
- They don’t see a career path with their company
Employee engagement can help to address all of these problems by ensuring that your workers are always appreciated, challenged and rewarded. When you put employee engagement at the heart of everything you do, you’ll discover a switched-on workforce that shows up every day with ambition and drive.