How to elevate employee engagement levels

Research from recruitment specialist Michael Page found that 73% of British workers factor workplace benefits in their decision to turn down a job. From motivating your team, to retaining and attracting new talent, workplace benefits have the potential to play a big role in your business’ success.

Key findings from PageGroup study*

  • 82% think businesses over-complicate workplace benefits
  • 37% of respondents did not know what their benefits package comprised of before they accepted the job
  • 65% were surprised to find a particular benefit was available only after working in a role for some time
  • 85% said a flexible benefits package was desirable to them but only 20% were completely satisfied with their current package
  • The most popular benefits were flexible working (71%) and the ability to work from home (55%)

* Survey conducted among 1,000 UK adults 18+ years

Employee health and wellbeing

Companies such as Airbnb that offer holiday allowances to employees, and Netflix, that doesn’t have prescribed time off policies for salaried employees, are a new breed of organisation pioneering benefit concepts that appeal to a new generation of job candidates. Rather than focusing on conventional monetary benefits, there is a clear trend towards providing employees with a better quality of life, both inside and outside of work.

Deloitte predicts that millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025, and much research suggests that their motivations and values are different from the baby boomers before them.

A recent study by Fit Small Business found that, while many businesses are introducing novel benefits geared towards ‘millennials’ such as free holidays and office dogs, 34% of those aged 18-34 stated that they actually see healthcare as the most important benefit that their employer can offer.

Not only are healthcare and wellbeing benefits now proving popular with the latest generation of workers, benefits related to wellbeing are becoming a strong tool to help businesses maximise their profits, with advantages including the retention of employees, increased productivity, and fewer workplace accidents.

The World Health Organisation compiled a list of the advantages of health promotion at work, which includes:

  • Promoting a caring public image
  • Improving staff morale
  • Reducing staff turnover
  • Lowering absenteeism
  • Increasing productivity.

Common wellbeing initiatives offered by companies to their workers include stress management, weight loss support, and gym membership; all of which are proven to keep your team engaged with a belief in the organisation and a willingness to ‘go the extra mile’.

Wellbeing initiatives can be implemented based on business objectives, incorporated as flexible benefits that address particular HR concerns, or can be based on employee feedback. When benefits are driven by feedback, it can encourage increased engagement in wellbeing efforts.

Employee engagement is a critical part of a company’s success – the staff are the means by which the business plan is executed, and their engagement determines the company’s outcomes.

When employees are engaged with their job, they are connected with the company’s overall vision and see their role as integral to achieving the organisation’s aims. It is a positive emotional attachment to their work.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has identified three parts to employee engagement:

  • Physical – When they’re engaged with their job, employees go all-out to complete their work, using high levels of energy to fulfil tasks
  • Emotional – Having an emotional connection to their work means employees are strongly involved in what they are doing, and have a sense of purpose. They are inspired and challenged by their job
  • Cognitive – Employees are fully immersed in their work – and less likely to ‘drift off’ on the job.

When teams are engaged on each of these levels, they are more invested in their work. But according to Gallup, we are facing a worldwide engagement crisis that could have long-lasting effects on the global economy. Gallup’s research revealed that worldwide, 87% of employees are not engaged with their organisation. It also found that companies whose workforces are highly engaged outperform their competitors by a staggering 147% in earnings per share.

How to elevate your employees’ engagement levels

If your employees are not engaged, you could be putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage. Businesses that can improve engagement levels among staff stand to improve their profits, retain talent and gain customer loyalty. Here are some tips to help bring employees on board.

Empower staff

When your team feels empowered they will feel more engaged at work. According to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), good leadership should empower and motivate rather than control.

Embed company values

Another key ingredient is company values – these should be embedded throughout the organisation, and ‘lived on not just spoken’.

Promote positive relationships among colleagues

Bad blood among colleagues will most certainly result in a disengaged team. To create engagement, build a supportive environment in which employees help each other and treat each other with respect and integrity. Management can help promote this positive culture by focusing on the strengths of employees as a team, not praising individual performance.

Creating a culture of engagement

Engagement involves a cultural shift in the way organisations behave. It should be rooted into the business culture, rather than addressed annually, for instance when staff return an employee survey. Employee engagement should be at the forefront of every interaction between management and their teams.

Focus on strengths, not weaknesses

Research from Gallup shows that when management focuses on strengths rather than weaknesses, the result is greater engagement among staff. It found that employees learn their roles more quickly, produce more and significantly better work, and stay with their company longer. When managers support their employees’ growth and development by focusing on their strengths, team members are more than twice as likely to be engaged.

Shared goals

Employees are more engaged when they have a strong connection to shared goals, and an understanding of how their role fits in with the wider organisation. When staff are aligned with company objectives, they – and the company – are more likely to be successful.

Pietro Carmignani is UK country manager at Gympass. 

Further resources on employee engagement and wellbeing

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