Making sure your people are engaged and committed can be the difference between success and failure for many organisations. Cheryl Bennett, Pelican’s organisational and people development specialist looks at the best way to keep your people engaged.
At the end of the day a business’s employees are the most important asset it has. Without the hard work of these people they simply wouldn’t be able to achieve these celebrated successes.
So how can businesses keep employees engaged to get the most from them? Typically an engaged employee is thought of in management circles as someone that will go the extra mile because they feel valued and have a passion for their work.
Research has shown that an engaged employee is both happier, healthier and more fulfilled in the workplace but can also help to improve the performance of the business as a whole. In fact, the way employees are managed and how they feel in the workplace is inherently linked to business performance.
So clearly it would seem that it is in the best interests of the business to develop an engaged workforce but how can businesses achieve this?
First and foremost, an engaged workforce has to be built on a foundation of good people management, development and leadership. Endorsement from senior management is essential in creating successful engagement strategies and programmes should always be led from the top.
Many HR professionals point to four key enablers for successful employee engagement:
• Leadership which offers a “strong strategic narrative about the organisation, where it has come from and where it is going.”
• Managers who motivate, empower and support their employees
• Ensuring employees are offered a voice within the organisation
• ‘Organisational integrity’: specified values which are embedded into the organisation.
Without these essential factors, engagement programmes are often doomed to fail from the outset.
Putting it into action
It is all well and good deciding to put a plan in place, but what can businesses do to help engage employees on a day to day basis?
The first step is simple, put a plan together and communicate it. Before you start you need to understand your different employees and what they see as issues or positives about the company.
Often larger businesses start with an employee attitude survey, repeated annually, to identify areas that need the most improvement. Clearly surveys are essential in understanding employee attitudes but it is worth noting that there is no guarantee you won’t only receive responses from the most engaged – or disengaged – employees.
Beyond the initial research it is essential that a meaningful plan is communicated to employees so that they can see that their opinions haven’t fallen on deaf ears and they do indeed have a voice within the business.
It is always essential that you tailor your employee engagement plan to the specific needs of your business, so we’ve put together a list of elements that you may want to include:
• Giving staff a voice: enabling employees to have a say in their work and enabling them to hold each other to account offers them a voice outside of the annual survey, this can result in employees taking greater responsibility for their own work
• Competent line-management: ensuring line-managers have sufficient skill sets and work to an existing framework to ensure employees are engaged and take care of their well-being is essential as these are the first point of contact for employees
• People development: offering a training and development programme to all employees allows them to see the potential for their role and that they are an important part of the business
• Recognising talent: this recognition can be given internally either in the form of feedback or by sharing individual or team successes across the business. Alternatively, rewarding performance through external awards can have mutual benefits both for recognising individual talent and promoting the business’ passion for its people.
Pelican Communications is a specialist in the environment, food and drink, outdoor and leisure and packaging sectors and offers a range of services such as media relations, brand management, event management, design and people development. Contact us for marketing and communications expertise.