Why you need to prioritise employee engagement

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employee engagement

Can you honestly say that your employees are happy and performing at their best? If not then it’s time to do something about employee engagement.

Employee engagement isn’t just about a survey once a year, nor is it about performance reviews. It’s a key strategic initiative that drives performance, achievement, and continuous improvement throughout the year. If you employ or manage people, you need to pay attention to this.

Do you know the cost to your business of underperforming employees, absence, or high staff turnover? Whilst some factors are easier to measure, such as sickness absence and recruitment, others are much harder to quantify but the true cost is likely to be much higher than you might think. Consider the cost of wasted time, either from employees not being productive, or managers and HR departments implementing procedures. Add to this the financial implications of poor customer service or damaged reputation, and the toxicity of negative attitudes, low morale and difficult workplace relationships. Engaging your employees and prioritising their happiness and wellbeing is not optional, it’s essential.

Businesses often focus on perks and rewards as a way of engaging their employees, but if this really the answer then why are around half of UK employees still disengaged, unhappy, and therefore less productive? Employee happiness may sound frivolous, but as your people are the foundation of everything that happens in your business, this is something you can’t afford to ignore.

So what can you do?

Firstly, make this a priority and invest in it accordingly. It’s already costing you money and decent employees.

If you want to address this in-house, create a culture where open, honest conversations are encouraged. Seek feedback from your employees constantly, and give them a voice. Individuals will have different priorities and motivators at different times, so don’t assume you know what people need. Keep talking. Adopt a coaching approach, not for performance specifically, but for personal and professional development. Increase self-awareness and empower employees to take responsibility for their own engagement, while you provide a space for them to thrive and do their best work. Yes, it’s a big task but remember that people are at the foundation of everything that happens in your business.  If you don’t have the time or expertise – hire someone else to do it.

This is one area of your business where one solution won’t work for everyone, and although there are some key elements that always need to be present, there are some aspects that need a different approach. It begins with understanding people, how they think, and what they really need. Managers often don’t have the time, skills, or experience to make this happen, so empower your leaders by providing them with relevant training, or get external expert support. Happy, productive employees are priceless.

Ruth Randall is a Life and Leadership Coach, and Team Development Specialist. Ruth works with teams to help them to build trust, develop strong working relationships, manage stress, and increase productivity and job satisfaction. She also coaches individual clients who want to make changes in their lives, careers and relationships.