Strategies to create an energised and engaged workforce

“40% of engaged employees indicate they have a good understanding of how to meet customer needs; only 17% of non-engaged employees say the same.” — CIPD

Your people are hands-down your most important asset. You may an incredible product and a huge market share — but if everyone is disengaged then it won’t last for long.

Here are some statistics that highlight the importance of an engaged workforce to your bottom line

  • 33% of senior leaders believe employee loyalty has a direct relationship to profits — American Management Association
  • Employee engagement programs can increase profits by $2400 per employee per year — Workplace Research Foundation
  • Companies with engaged employees see 233% greater customer loyalty and a 26% greater annual increase in revenue — Aberdeen Group

These strategies will help you boost employee engagement to create a more energised and productive workforce:

Provide growth opportunities

Career development is a key factor of employee engagement. How can you expect to energise and engage everyone if they feel like they aren’t progressing in their careers?

Training is a vital component in career development. Not only will it create a more skilled workforce, but it will also highlight how much you value everyone and your willingness to invest in their futures.

It is important to meet with your staff regularly and discuss agreed targets to help advance them in their careers. For larger organisations, advise the senior members of staff to do the same with their teams.

Communicate and respond to feedback

All your workforce will have ideas, innovations and opinions that can help to drive business forward. As employers, you have a responsibility to provide a platform for everyone to be able to effectively communicate these to you. Failure to listen to your people can be detrimental to engagement and productivity, especially if they wish to discuss a time-sensitive matter with you.

To bridge gaps and ensure everyone feels valued, you should implement systems where your staff can contact you in real-time and have their say. By gathering instant intelligence via pulse surveys, you can listen to feedback and accurately measure the sentiment, culture and engagement levels within your organisation. This will help you to create relevant action plans, make smarter business decisions and improve the culture and engagement.

Create an engaging environment

“Being a great place to work is the difference between being a good company and a great company.” — Brian Kristofek

Workplace stress gets everyone down from time to time. To combat this, you can create a working environment that encourages productivity and engagement. This will ensure that everyone buys into the culture and may create loyal advocates for your business, who will drive the company culture.

Create areas where your team can re-energise, work collaboratively, recharge and simply have fun. This can be achieved by installing games rooms, “chill-out” areas, bright open spaces with plenty of natural light and plants or even interactive/drawable walls.

An effective solution is to speak to your workforce and find out what they think would work best. Assuming your office instalments align with the company vision and culture, then they will serve to energise and engage everyone.

Provide share schemes

What better way to engage an employee than give them equity in the business?

Share option schemes are typically used as an incentive for employees who go above and beyond for organisations and live and breathe the culture and vision.

The most recognised share scheme is an Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI). This is a tax-advantaged scheme, where you grant options to chosen employees so they can acquire equity in the company. You can set your own time periods and qualifying conditions. Often, these conditions will increase focus and output, as everyone is keen to receive the equity.

Invest in your people and they will invest in you. By adopting reward schemes, you can:

  • Reward loyal, committed and hardworking members of the team.
  • Retain your best workers for the journey ahead.
  • Inspire and motivate everyone to find new ways to help you grow the business.
  • Highlight how much you trust and value everyone’s input.
  • Build and share successes together.

Promote work-life balance

In today’s working climate, the line between work and home can become distorted. Or even non-existent in many cases.

Organisations that actively promote work-life balance will benefit from an energised and focused workforce. By improving work-life balance within your organisation, you will benefit from a talent pool of new recruits who align with your culture and vision and help to create an energised and productive culture.

There are many ways to improve work-life balance within your organisation: Educate everyone on the importance of work-life balance and the associated risks of not having a clear distinction between work and personal time. Encourage more efficient work — opposed to longer hours. Promote health initiatives and encourage everyone to start exercising. Embrace remote working and trust your employees to fulfil their duties. Finally, it is key to lead by example and demonstrate a healthy work-life balance.

Encourage time off

We all need a break from the everyday work stresses from time to time. A break from work can help us to recharge, re-energise and reduce all workplace stress and tension. This can lead to an increase in focus, happiness and creativity.

According to a report from The American Sociological Association, “Most adults face persistent demands from paid work. In meeting those demands, they deplete resources such as physical energy and the capacity to concentrate. Without sufficient time for recovery of the depleted resources, workers may eventually suffer impaired cognitive function, emotional distress, accidents, illness and other adverse outcomes.”

Some of your workforce will fear that they will be less likely to “get to the top” if they take vacations, or they will risk bonuses, rewards or incentives. As an employer, you should ease their concerns, assure them this is not the case and encourage everyone to use all their vacation days. Consider adopting a “use it, or lose it” system, whereby any leftover days will not be carried over and there will be no payments for unused vacation.

Demonstrate appreciation

“The engagement level of employees who receive recognition is almost three times higher than the engagement level of those who do not.” — IBM Smarter Workforce Institute.

It is important to schedule in time to celebrate everyone’s successes and hard work. Consider honouring individual, or team achievements in newsletters, meetings or even public addresses for particularly outstanding cases.

When your workers feel appreciated their motivation levels can increase — thus improving profitability. This is evidenced by technology company Badgeville who suggest that “69% of employees are motivated by job satisfaction, recognition and learning opportunities.” Whereas, the remaining “31% of employees are most motivated by monetary awards.”

An engaged workforce will be determined to help drive all business forward and help your organisation be a success. By making efforts to keep everyone engaged, you will maximise your human capital investment and witness your efforts being repaid exponentially.

Content & PR Executive at The Happiness Index, Joe is a published journalist and blogger with a passion for employee engagement and HR. Previously working as a language teacher, counsellor and content manager at a recruitment agency — Joe has developed a broad set of skills and a strong interest in working with people to learn what makes them tick.