Ten ways for an employer to engage their employees

Research has shown that nearly one in three (28%) employers struggle to keep their employees engaged. As an employer, what can you do to engage your employees? Luckily, Just has a guide to help.

You may have noticed that your employees have been in a bit of a slog, or they’re beginning to put less effort into the work they do. You may have even been one of these employees once, with a lack of motivation to create exemplar work for the company you work for. If you’re an employer with this problem, you’re not alone - a recent survey has found that nearly one in three employers find it difficult to engage their employees, and another survey found only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. These figures are in dire need of improvement, so let’s take a look at the top ten ways you can help increase your company’s staff engagement.

Talk to your employees

This may seem quite an obvious thing to do but forging strong relationships with your employees can go a long way. Research shows engaged employees tend to have employers that care about them (83% vs 4%) and it shows your workers that you view them as a person, not a working machine. It’s very important to have a positive relationship with your staff - it not only benefits them, but it benefits you too.

Give your employees opportunities for training

In such a competitive job market, experience is key to a person’s portfolio, and giving employees training has been proven to help engagement; studies have shown that engaged employees feel they’ve been given the proper training compared to those who are disengaged (83% vs 12%). Offering your workers the chance to take training gives them a boost to their skills, experience and confidence, helping them not only perform their job better but also learn valuable knowledge that can help them later in life.

Positive reinforcement

The occasionally “good job” or “well done” is surprisingly highly beneficial for employee engagement; highly engaged employees felt they were recognised 83% vs 3% of disengaged employees. Positive affirmation can also take the form of rewards to employees for their contributions, both non-monetary or monetary. Positive reinforcement helps workers recognise their work is making a difference for your company.

Mentor your employees

As an employer, you have a wealth of wisdom and know-how that many less experienced workers would benefit from. Act as a coach to your staff by letting them know what their goals and responsibilities are and what you expect of them. Employer coaching has been proven to be effective, with those highly engaged responding 80% more favourable to survey questions about receiving coaching and feedback from their manager. If you want your workers to succeed in the workplace, laying down the groundwork and being straight with them will help them work more proficiently and it also establishes a communicative relationship with your employees, which leads me to...

Allow employees to express their needs

This tip is all about giving some level of control to workers, which enables them to feel as if their input matters to their role and the company itself. Essentially, it all boils down to creating opportunities for employees to express their needs and anything else that’s bothering them. This relates to the relationship building tips I talked about earlier and having a pre-established positive relationship with your workers certainly helps them express concerns and requirements to you. The managerial relationship is important - It’s strongly associated with engagement according to a HMRC survey from 2016.

Encourage a fun environment, with healthy competitions and exercises

What’s better than a little healthy competition? As well as being fun and rewarding, it can also help you and your team bond. Competitions can double as teamwork exercises too, maximising the chances of employee engagement - 92% of engaged TNS employees believed their department worked as a team, vs 5% of those disengaged. Workers will find it very positive for their mood in the workplace if efforts are taken to make it an enjoyable environment; 90% of one survey’s respondents said a “fun work environment” was very or extremely motivating.

First impressions; get onboarding right

It’s always scary to be a new employee on the first day of a job, and it’s particularly important that both employees and employers make a good impression; this certainly helps to set the foundations for engagement. Be friendly and attentive, making sure that you don’t leave fresh hires alone to fend for themselves. In short, help workers during the onboarding process to make sure they’re kept engaged from the very beginning.

Allow flexible working hours for employees

Gone are the days of pure 9-5 work at an office, with the prevalence of the internet and an ever-changing work landscape. Allow employees to choose when they work at home or in the office, and the times of day they work (while still retaining the same number of hours). This gives some control back to your workers and adds a degree of trust between you, adding up to a much happier and more engaged workforce. If you want to know more about how effective this tip can be, an article from The Guardian notes the impact flexible working has on the engagement of workers.

Focus on strengths, not weaknesses

Maintaining the theme of focusing on the positives, make sure you’re not homing in on the weaker sides of your employees but on their strengths. Encourage your employees to improve upon anything that needs work, but make sure you’re not only fixating on where they fall short, and place workers in roles that rely on and boost their strengths. In a 2014 Gallups survey, employees who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged, and only 1% of those who agreed their manager focused on their strengths were actively disengaged at work (vs. 22% disengaged of those who believed managers focused on weakness).

Don’t berate mistakes, accept them

Nobody’s perfect - we all make mistakes and learn because of them. Reprimanding workers too harshly for small mistakes makes them fearful of trying anything beneficially different in the future and leads to a higher chance of employee disengagement. Tell them to use their mistake as a learning experience, and to keep the mistake in mind in the future when making decisions.

Put these tips into use, and you’ll indeed see an increase in the engagement of your workforce!

Published: 6 December 2018

© Copyright Just Recruitment 2018

If you liked this article you may like to read – Five success boosting habits to adapt today

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