How to Improve Employee Engagement

How to Improve Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement continues to be one of the key issues facing HR.  Not surprisingly much research has been conducted, and many articles written, on how you can best engage your staff; here are 10 of some of the most practical and effective methods:

  1. From recruitment adverts to interviews, induction and onboarding, ensure all your communication is open and honest about the real responsibilities of the role and the actual culture of the organization. Pay attention to how new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours to become effective team members by ensuring that any on the job training is conducted by fully engaged individuals, not by ‘nay-sayers’.
  2. Line managers need to hold regular weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly face to face 1:1s with their direct reports; if they are managing remote workers then make sure they catch up via video conferencing or Skype, not just on the phone, in order to be able to assess commitment levels, mood and morale. A reported 85% of employees who do not have regular face to face meetings with their line manager are actively disengaged.
  3. Employees need to be trusted and nowadays usually want to set their own performance goals. According to a Gallup survey, 69% of employees who are not held accountable for their performance are actively disengaged, with only 3% being engaged.  They estimate that poor engagement and ‘presenteeism’ cost organizations around £370 million a year.
  4. Managers who create high performing teams focus on identifying and developing strengths, as well as dealing with performance issues, in order to be motivational, inspirational and encourage higher levels of engagement. Regular, balanced feedback, recognition and praise for good work, especially from a senior manager, all contribute considerably to the employee feeling valued.  Avoid being a demotivating manager, who delivers positive feedback, always followed by a ‘but’: ‘…but, this could be improved’ or ‘…but, you could do x or y better.’
  5. Holding regular conversations regarding career progression and encouraging training and development are proven to improve levels of both retention and engagement.  Research has shown that companies who spend more time and money on training have lower employee turnover rates, more top-performing employees, higher rates of promotion, and overall higher levels of engagement and satisfaction. Encourage blended learning opportunities and reimburse tuition fees for relevant external courses.
  6. Identifying and developing rising stars is increasingly important in a highly competitive job market. 60% of employees are said to expect to be offered career development opportunities, with promotion from within being a great motivator. However, according to Hay, 43% of employees don’t feel that good performance is rewarded and 41% don’t consider there is a structured approach and process for Talent Management and Succession Planning.
  7. Employees are seventeen times more likely to be engaged if their manager is aware of the current projects they are working on, with increased engagement as a result of a line manager taking an active interest in the life of their employee, again reinforcing the need for regular communication.
  8. Having the time, equipment, and adequate resources to do the job naturally increase levels of engagement. Encourage increased collaboration with other functions in order to share ideas, processes and procedures, as well as promoting innovation.
  9. When strong leaders and managers hone their active listening and emotional intelligence skills and demonstrate that they value their employees input, performance levels increase. When employees feel empowered and actively contributing to the mission and vision of the company they are more likely to display discretionary effort.
  10. Frequently ask employees what they want and what motivates them. Don’t rely on hearsay or assumption. What motivates one team member is often very different to another.

At Natural Talent increasingly we are being asked to assist in raising levels of employee engagement. Reflecting the themes outlined above, we often include the following learning sessions in our Executive Coaching, Leadership and Management Development and Team Development Programmes:

  • Identifying key Motivators
  • Conducting Career Development Conversations
  • Having the difficult Conversations and delivering balanced Feedback
  • Identifying and developing Talent
  • Improving skills in Active Listening and Emotional Intelligence
  • Improving the soft skills required for effective Project Management
  • Improving overall Team Effectiveness and increasing Collaboration


About Jill Maidment

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