For many businesses around the world, keeping staff engaged and happy is an ever-present challenge. At the end of the day, an engaged and happy workforce leads to increased productivity and staff retention.
A global poll conducted by Gallup in 2017 revealed that out of the world’s one billion full-time workers, 15% are engaged at work. This means a staggering 85% of workers globally are unhappy in their current position.
Gallup also revealed that in the US, the figures are marginally better – 30% of the working population are engaged at work versus the 70% of unhappy workers.
As we can see then, it’s a constant challenge and a problem that needs addressing.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has forced organizations to rethink their working arrangements, with more employees working from home, it can be hard to keep a track of how they’re performing when you’re not sat in the same place as them. As the world comes back to increasing normalcy, and more workers are transitioning back to the office, it’s even more important to keep your team happy and engaged.
So, why is staff engagement important? And what steps can you take to help promote a positive culture to help engagement within your business?
Why is it important?
There is a wide range of reasons a business will want to ensure their members of staff are engaged at work.
Not only will positive engagement boost productivity, but it will also boost morale. If you have a team happy and engaged, they will feel motivated to come to work, meaning retention and absenteeism could be improved.
Motivation and morale will promote a culture of teamwork, mitigating any culture of toxicity that might start to creep in – something which any business will want to stamp out.
But perhaps most importantly your colleagues will feel proud in their position in the company and will devote more time and effort into working hard and delivering the best possible service to your customers – who will be left with a great impression and come back to you for repeat custom.
Even the smallest of changes can make the biggest impact on your bottom line, pleasing your shareholders.
One method your business can employ is staff training. The benefits of staff training and development can be vast and have the potential to be felt widespread.
By conducting staff training, it gives your business the opportunity to address any weaknesses found across your workforce. By doing this, you will find yourself in a good position to strengthen your team and take productivity to a new level.
Not only this, but staff training also gives the chance for your workforce to feel empowered, giving them a sense of self-worth and value within the organization. Feeling valued by a team and given a chance to flourish with what they’re strong in, it follows that staff members will feel more engaged and happier at work. This provides a good opportunity to address the happy to unhappy ratio your business might possibly face.
Complacency might creep in when staff is too comfortable in their role and not being pushed professionally, and so positive output might start to slip, potentially leading to a toxic environment within the company. By training your team, it’s just one step you can take to mitigate this potential impact.
Investing in staff development can also be a great incentive for staff to work towards promotion. Oftentimes, a business will look away from the organization when recruiting for a role – which can sometimes cost a lot of money to do. However, if you’ve got a member of staff already within the company with whom you’ve spent time investing in their development, it might well be that you can recruit internally.
Not only this, but if you’ve got a member of staff who has good continuous service and high levels of experience but is overlooked in favor of someone from outside the organization, they may feel put out, demoralized, and demotivated. If that’s the case, they might start to look for a new role, leaving the business – in which case you could find yourself recruiting for two roles.
Whilst internal recruiting isn’t a solution applicable for every role, training your staff and making them feel empowered, might give them a professional boost to try and reach the next rung of the ladder in their career.
What else can you do?
There are several other options you can deploy to aid engagement.
For instance, you might spend time getting to know them as an individual, promoting a sense of belonging and value that they might not have otherwise felt before. Although this step is quite a simple and obvious one to take – and something you might already be doing – not every employee will feel the same level of comfort about opening up and may wish to keep a dividing line between their professional and private lives. So, it’s worth finding out a bit about your staff to make those kinds of decisions.
Alternatively, you can arrange for your team to go on a team-building day. This is a particularly useful tool, as it gives people a chance to interact with others they might not have done so previously. This can be an especially useful tool in a larger organization, as your colleagues may not have had the same level of inter-departmental interaction afforded to them. This will promote a culture of togetherness, all striving for the same common objective.
Some of your colleagues may feel that simply being recognized is enough motivation for them to continue working at their best performance, and so giving praise and reward is a useful tool. This will also enable you to open dialogue with the team around you to establish how they feel whilst at work, and any feedback they might want to share. And by acting on colleague feedback, they will again feel valued and important.
Whichever method you decide to follow, one thing is clear: employee engagement is vital for business. Without this, and without all the cogs turning in unison, you’re likely to find things will start to break down.
By empowering your team, be that through staff training and development or through an alternate method, you will put yourself in the best position to have a team firing on all cylinders to drive your company forward.