Employees who aren’t engaged at work are one of the most important reasons businesses fail to fulfil their potential.
Employee engagement is a global issue and one that’s remained worryingly consistent. Less than 30% of employees described themselves as ‘engaged’ at work in surveys carried out since 2000. With further evidence showing that companies with a higher percentage of engaged employees outperform their rivals when it comes to revenue and profit, it’s no surprise improving employee engagement is at the top of the agenda for many businesses.
There’s a tendency for managers and business owners to think employee engagement boils down to providing employees with a decent salary, the occasional perk, and job security. True employee engagement extends far further than this. The most engaged employees are those who have a shared purpose with their colleagues and employers and are committed to delivering that purpose every single day.
Capturing and creating this shared purpose is no easy task, especially in industries where staff turnover is traditionally high. When looking at retail and hospitality, it’s fundamental that new staff understand immediately the company’s ethos and goals so they’re able to deliver the level of service customers expect.
A great example of this is the chicken restaurant Nandos, which operates globally and enjoys great success in the UK. In the UK they are consistently ranked as one of the best large companies to work for in part due to how they engage their employees through learning and development opportunities and a strong focus on employee wellbeing.
This is led by their management teams and its managers who are best positioned to improve engagement. The best managers inspire, are great leaders, and ensure their team wants to always perform to the best of their abilities.
However, the management can’t do this on their own. They set the tone which empowers employees to take ownership and accountability for their performance and their engagement levels. It helps create a shared desire in the employees to succeed, enjoy work, and to be good at their jobs. Managers create the framework for this to happen and employees then have to run with it.
Here’s are three of the core components that are essential for managers when it comes to creating the framework for employees to succeed and be engaged:
One of the most important things a manager can do is help develop their employees’ understanding of the shared purpose and collective goal. As Gail S. Thornton writes in the Huffington Post: “Effective employee engagement improves employee performance by helping align employees with company goals. Employees who have a better understanding of the wider corporate picture are better able to understand how their own job fits into the company’s business goals. Equally important, the better the company listens to its employees, the better it can align its messaging to the employee audience.”
Employees have a desire to understand their purpose in an organization and how their role contributes to success. The better informed they are, the better their decision-making. They understand what they are doing and, more importantly, why they are doing it. This leads to improved productivity and higher levels of job satisfaction.
Focus on strengths
Alongside developing understanding, focussing on employee strengths will provide a substantial boost when it comes to engagement levels. Research from Gallup found focussing on employees’ strengths rather than highlighting their weaknesses is far more effective when it comes to improving engagement and performance. The research found “a strengths-based culture is one in which employees learn their roles more quickly, produce more and significantly better work, stay with their company longer, and are more engaged. When managers help employees grow and develop through their strengths, they are more than twice as likely to engage their team members.”
Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Strong and effective communication between managers and employees is essential in any organization. Employees want to feel cared about and a good manager will be able to not only communicate with them their roles and responsibilities in the workplace but also make the effort to understand them as people. Everyone is different and everyone will respond differently. The best managers are able to identify this and reflect it in the way they communicate on an individual level.
We’ve also found managers are always grateful when they can use new tools to improve the way they communicate with employees. Teams who use Quinyx say the communication between staff and managers is easier and simpler, whether it’s in the form of booking shifts, applying for leave, or simply sending messages.
So whether it’s improving communication through using new tools, instilling a positive culture, having well-informed employees, or a mixture of all three, constantly working to have high levels of employee engagement will see businesses thrive, succeed and grow.