Employee Engagement – What it Really Means and How to Manage it on a Budget
April 16, 2019
Employee engagement. Everyone wants it, but what does it actually mean? And how do you create it if you don’t have a heap of money to throw at any engagement challenges? We answer all these questions and more in our latest blog.
One Term, Many Views
Look up the term “employee engagement” and you’ll find lots of different definitions.
At Crosse HR, we believe employee engagement is a state of being that’s reflected in higher levels of employee motivation and job satisfaction. This results in an increased commitment to an individual’s role and the organisation. And discretionary effort over and above that which people would normally give to their role.
A wide range of research has shown that higher levels of engagement result in motivated workforces, improved talent retention, reduced absenteeism, enhanced employee wellbeing and, ultimately, a better bottom line.
No wonder businesses are keen to ensure high levels of engagement amongst their workforces.
However, most organisations have no formal engagement strategy in place and two-thirds of employees are disengaged.
So how can you get ahead of your competitors, do what’s right by your people and achieve employee engagement, even on a small budget?
Low-Cost Employee Engagement Solutions
Ask and You’ll Receive
Employee engagement initiatives need to be well, engaging. Research often identifies issues like poor management or a disconnect with the organisation’s mission, vision and values as drivers of poor engagement. However, before you invest time in engagement activities, it’s worth understanding your organisation’s specific issues so you can deliver focussed solutions.
For genuine staff insight, try gathering employee feedback via surveys or focus groups. It can pay to hire someone in from outside your organisation to carry out the research to ensure you get completely honest responses.
Not got the capacity or budget to carry out a survey or hold a focus group? Our article on the different demographics in your workforce and their needs gives great insight into what each age group values.
Communicate What’s on Offer
If your people don’t feel well rewarded for their work, the chances are they won’t give their best effort. Put this right by helping your staff understand what’s in it for them with total reward communications.
Comms can explain any bonus schemes, demonstrate the value of your pension contributions or show staff the benefits and discounts they’re entitled to. It’s worth asking your benefit providers to help you get the word out with branded posters for example. This kind of support is usually free and helps your staff understand what’s in it for them.
Words Are Valuable and Cost Little
Communication – lack of it or not the right sort – is often a major employee complaint. And it can be really damaging to employee engagement.
Businesses often focus on what they want to tell employees rather than what employees want to hear. So taking the time to understand which communications your employees want will pay dividends. Particularly if you create opportunities for two-way communications.
Allow your people to have their say with engagement or pulse surveys and other opportunities to feedback directly to leaders. This will allow employees to express their views while giving you the opportunity to find out what’s irritating them so you can take action.
Investing in this virtuous feedback loop will ensure your organisation continues to improve taking employee engagement to new highs.
Create a Culture That Works For Everyone
Modern employees want to work with their employers not for them. Which means taking a collaborative, partnership approach to working relationships.
What does this look like in reality? You could:
- Make your mission, vision and values clear and give broad direction that’s aligned to them rather than micro-managing your staff
- Show people that you trust them by treating them like adults, for example allowing flexible working and enabling people to work from locations other than the office
- Give employees a hand in their own job design and objective-setting, helping them play to their strengths
- Facilitate whole person growth by funding personal and career development activities
Recognise Your People
Those two little words – thank you – are more important than many managers realise. Not hearing them enough is one of the main reasons people leave their employer.
Doing the basics, like taking your team out for a drink after work or paying for lunch can go a long way to saying thank you. If your recognition budget is zero, you could award an employee of the month certificate, create a wall of amazing customer feedback or give top performers an afternoon off.
Driving employee engagement is every business leader’s responsibility. Changing your business can’t all fall on one person’s shoulders, so ensure your managers are brought into any changes to ensure their success.
If employee engagement is dragging your business results down, work with Tercus HR to diagnose your issues and prescribe a range of effective solutions. Whatever your budget, get in touch on 0330 555 1139 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.