Over the last decade or so, the engagement and retention of employees have been an area of focus for the majority of businesses around the world. Organisations are actively working to develop strategies that'll help them get the most out of their employees.
But what exactly is employee engagement? How does it impact employee retention? And how does it all lead back to your employer brand?
This article will answer some of these questions. We’ll also offer some implementable tips for businesses to improve their employee engagement efforts.
What is employee engagement and why is it so important?
Acas defines employee engagement as the extent to which a company’s values and vision aligns with their employee’s personal interests and goals.
Engaged staff members are more committed to the goals and values of their company. They are also motivated to work harder to contribute to the success of your business.
What is an employer brand?
Either consciously or unconsciously, your organisation will have an employer brand. A strong brand allows you to recruit, engage and retain the right people that’ll help to achieve your company goals.
An employer brand relates to how your business stands out from the competition within your industry. It could be with the brand message, your company culture, how you embrace technology and much more.
Focusing on your organisation’s employer brand is even more important now that ever. The popularity of social media has made it much easier for current and former employees to share feedback about their employer.
HR teams should increase their awareness and understanding of the value of transparency. While focusing on the positive aspects of what it's like to work for your business is good, you should also acknowledge the negatives.
Recognising issues within the company and coming up with ways to resolve them contributes to creating a positive employer brand.
Engagement Vs Retention
Retaining an employee involves keeping them on your payroll for as long as possible. To do this, consider implementing a pay & benefits scheme. The aim should be to increase pay based on the length of service and to offer rewards based on performance.
In terms of its connection with employee engagement. While you may be able to retain your workers by offering perks, it doesn’t mean that they like the company or the bosses. And when an employee isn’t engaged with the values or goals of the company they’ll be less productive which could be harmful to the company.
In today's working environment, engagement and retention require employers to understand the need for flexibility, creativity and purpose in their employees.
How do you keep employees engaged?
Managers trying to engage with their employees can implement any of the following methods:
Show you care
For your staff to really care about their work, they need to know that their employer cares about them. Find out what matters to employees in their personal and professional lives. Ask questions and listen to feedback.
Perks and benefits
A great way to improve engagement among members of staff is by adding monetary incentives to regular pay packages. Consider introducing programmes that reward hard work and recognises employees that go the extra mile. Positive feedback and recognition for a job well done goes a long way to nurturing engagement.
Open communication between management and employees is the key to creating an engaged workplace. You should also promote transparency among staff members. They are only engaged when they can open up to you without fear of repercussions.
What are the components of employee engagement?
There are three major components of employee engagement, validation, recognition and feedback. Together, these three components play an integral role in improving performance and accountability.
You should offer validation in spite of individual employee performance. It involves listening and responding to their problems. Things like offering greetings, asking about their health, family, holidays and more go to show how valued your they are.
Regular feedback on employees' behaviour, performance and attendance foster their personal development. Constructive feedback provides an insight into what they’re doing right and what they could improve on.
Recognising staff based on performance serves as a bedrock for cultivating a high-performance culture.
Tips for engaging your employees
Most employees are looking for a company culture that promotes training and development. It is important to provide regular training for employees to help them gain more skills. This way you’ll be the first to benefit from the newly acquired skill.
Provide the right tools to work with
You should provide all the necessary tools required to enhance your employee’s output.
Promote company culture
Highlight the importance of positive company culture and encourage employees to familiarise themselves with it. Having a defined company culture encourages employees to try to fit into the system. Your company culture should reflect the goal, mission and value of the company.
Promote work-life balance
Introducing work from home schemes and flexible working times gives your staff the freedom to work from anywhere. Providing this option creates happy and engaged employees as opposed to those that are unhappy working a 9-5.
Paul Holcroft is Associate Director of Operations at HR, health and safety and reward consultancy, Croner. He is also a specialist in employment law and a regular seminar speaker.
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