The benefits of employee engagement are well quantified and well known. They include higher morale, greater agility, lower staff turnover, better customer service and higher profitability (see the MacLeod Report for a full listing). However, Gallup's 2018 survey showed that only 11% of British workers are engaged. Despite the obvious competitive advantages of investing in programmes to increase employee engagement, too many managers and executives insist on using 'carrot and stick' methods to boost motivation. They rarely, if ever, work!
So how can you boost engagement? Here are 3 key area to focus on:
1. Leadership - stop being a boss and start being a leader! Take time to understand the different motivations of your team and make it your goal to help them develop in ways that are right for them and the company.
2. Create effective teams where members can contribute and be challenged to achieve meaningful business goals - HBR's survey into teams noted that many people stay in jobs if they have good working relationships with their managers and teams, even when it is not in their financial interest to do so!
3. Develop and communicate a compelling vision - engaged employees want to know that their work matters, that it makes a difference. Factors such as pay and bonuses are not unimportant, but on their own they are not enough.
Note that none of this is 'soft'. In fact, it is hard: it requires commitment, discipline and self-awareness. However, if you want to achieve the many business benefits of engaged employees, it is a well worthwhile effort.
One final point: we all get a kick out of achieving things that are important to us, so both they and YOU will enjoy your working lives more as well!