How to Improve Employee Engagement

Posted by Templeton on Friday, 24 December 2021

The Great Resignation will see between 30% and 40% of all employees wanting to start a new job in the next year. Many employers are trying everything they can to drive up engagement and hold on to valuable team members. Business leaders are going all out with generous bonuses, iPhones and cars as annual loyalty gifts, company-branded experiences and trips, and extensive lists of benefits from social events and gym memberships to therapy vouchers and childcare discounts. Whilst many employees appreciate such rewards, the best working cultures – and therefore the most effective and loyal workforces – are built on more than financial incentives.

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Templeton’s tech recruitment specialists reveal three methods any leader can implement to improve individual and team engagement, productivity and success.

 

Why Is Employee Engagement Important?

The most engaged staff members are those who are truly committed to their jobs and personally invested in the future of their organisation. They put the maximum amount of effort, time and resources into continually becoming better in their roles and therefore in helping the company move forward and grow. The enthusiasm and positive attitude of engaged employees drives creativity and innovation, facilitates collaboration between teams and spread to other colleagues to provide a great working culture where everyone thrives and succeeds.

 

A 2021 Gallup report revealed that only 36% of US workers are actively engaged in their roles, with even poorer results globally at an average of 20%. A disinterested or resentful workforce is as damaging to a company as a PR disaster or broken supply chain: productivity, customer service and revenue are all directly linked to employee engagement. The happiest workers are most productive, impactful and loyal to their employers – making worker engagement a key priority for ambitious businesses in the coming years.

3 Ways to Make Your Employees Happier and More Productive

  1. Seek Feedback Often and in Detail

The best way to find out how engaged your employees actually are – and what would help them become more engaged – is to ask them. Every manager understands the importance of communication, however, with ever-packed schedules, leaders often spend less time truly connecting with their staff than they would like. Frequent feedback from individuals about their workload, progress and the effectiveness of the support they’re getting can reduce employee stress levels, refocus ways of working to make daily life more enjoyable and prevent employees from struggling through problems by themselves for months on end.

Quantitative and qualitative information, and formal and informal conversations, are key to building a complete picture of individual employee and team engagement. Managers and business leaders can derive the best insights from:

  • Surveys – Anonymous staff questionnaires can provide honest feedback that team members would otherwise be unwilling to share publicly. Regular surveys also help to track improvements over time, reveal which initiatives have helped to make these improvements and highlight what more needs to be done.
  • Town Hall Meetings – Companies who provide frequent open discussion forums and invite their staff to ask direct questions can get a feeling for the room’s reaction when new changes and ideas are announced, and can hear more about employees’ concerns when challenges arise.
  • Social Occasions and Company Events – Casual conversations with several individuals from different departments can reveal patterns: their frustrations with systems and processes, how they feel about company vision and progress, and where they could use more support.
  • Reverse Advisory Board – Junior staff members and managers based on the ground with their teams will have far more knowledge of their colleagues’ attitude to their employer, frustrations and needs than senior and more removed leaders. Asking a group of individual staff members to provide anonymous feedback on their co-workers can embolden employees who would feel nervous sharing their own opinions, but who are more confident supporting the needs of their teams. Selecting employees across departments and levels can provide a more complete picture of the employee experience.
  • 1-2-1 Meetings – Spending dedicated face-to-face (or video call) time with team members individually is invaluable for the relationship between manager and their direct report. A strong connection with their manager is the best way for the manager to identify seemingly small issues that might previously have flown under the radar. Regular check-ins and dedicated listening time are the best ways to help employees struggling with poor mental health or problems outside of work, and the best course of action to proactively support with these challenges. When managers meet regularly with their own line managers to share (anonymous) struggles with their own team, senior leaders hear vital feedback that they would never normally have been able to access, and can strive to improve culture and processes from the top down.

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  1. Learn from Both the Past and the Present

When you have qualitative and quantitative data from your current employee base, look to past employees for the most honest – and helpful – feedback your company can incorporate. Take a holistic view of all your exit interviews, reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, and speak to managers to get as much information as you can. Although it can be hard not to take this personally, an analysis that’s as honest and objective as possible will deliver the most accurate information, and will therefore be most helpful in improving employee engagement.

When reviewing ex-staff feedback, ensure your Board and HR department ask hard questions such as:

  • What are the least favourable aspects of working at our company?
  • What are our weaknesses internally?
  • Are there patterns in our staff attrition rate, for example certain departments, levels of seniority or individuals from certain backgrounds or groups?
  • What are the reasons cited for quitting the company, and which ones are the most commonly cited?
  • What was the final catalyst that caused an employee to resign?
  • Is there anything that comes as a complete shock to managers or leaders? Why wasn’t this identified at the time, and what measures can be implemented to rectify serious issues before employees resign?

Looking at the reasons behind the departures of top-performing individuals – particularly those who left for competitors – will reveal patterns in staff satisfaction drops and areas where your organisation can improve its employee experience. Similarly, ex-employee feedback will highlight positive elements of the organisations’ culture, ways of working and benefits, where leaders can champion and continually enhance to remain ahead of the competition.

  1. Involve Employees in Company Goals & Progress

Employees who are most connected with their organisation, in addition to their personal role and their immediate team, will care far more about delivering a good performance at work and contributing to company success. Leaders who also involve their direct reports in shaping the vision and progress of the company encourage their teams to take charge of their own development, push their creativity to new bounds and strive to continuously improve the status quo: a recipe for unprecedented innovation.

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Align your teams with the work they do by communicating the company vision and progress against objectives. Promote the achievements of each department to the whole business to reinforce the important place of each individual and their team in the company and its goals. Employees who feel their daily tasks and projects really matter, and who regularly see and understand the impact of their work on the organisation, are significantly more motivated in their jobs.

As everyone receives information differently, don’t assume that one piece of comms will be enough. Reiterate your message across channels, from emails and newsletters to employee network groups, in-person meetings or calls, and HR software and internal systems to ensure it gets through to every individual.

Some of the best ways to deliver comprehensive communication include:

  • Focus Groups – When implementing major change, create a focus group of randomly selected employees. These individuals can serve as test audiences for the changes you propose, can deliver their own feedback and the collective mood from their teams, and can be involved in crafting company messages to inform, support and motivate their colleagues.
  • Touchpoints – Consider every interaction your staff have with your company as a whole every day, in person and online, and use these as platforms to communicate positive and beneficial messages. Utilise TV screens to show company performance against targets and highlight top performers every day. Link staff’s desktop backgrounds to revenue and other KPIs to give an overview of company updates in real-time. Connect HR platforms and CRM systems to individual and company progress to regularly communicate small and big wins.
  • Face-to-Face – As often as you can, get the entire company together via calls and in-person meetings to communicate progress, performance and change. Proactively invite questions to encourage interest, and motivate employees by publicly praising individual effort and performance.

Find the Best Employees and Build a Successful Workforce

Templeton and Partners recruit tech teams across 40 countries – find out more about our award-winning recruitment services.

Looking to recruit in the year ahead? Here are the 5 Things Employees Want from New Jobs.

 

Topics: Management & Thought Leadership