It is notoriously difficult to define employee engagement but there is one thing we know for certain: engaged employees are happier than their disengaged colleagues, and more productive. The 2014 University of Warwick’s study found that “human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity”. So, the happier employees are, the more productive they will be, which is a benefit for both employees and employers alike.
But what can you do to make your staff happier at work? Well, it’s not as complicated as you may think. Focus on six key areas of staff engagement and you could have a happier, healthier and more productive workforce in no time!
Transparency and open conversations between employees and management are the basis of building trust and, consequently, engagement. Tailoring benefits communications to staff can make them happier, which is not only good for your staff, but also good for your business. Receiving meaningful and relevant information can improve someone’s day, receiving generic ‘Dear all’ messages about topics that they don’t care about and aren’t affected by can both frustrate and annoy staff. If you take the time to have a conversation rather than just shooting across an email, your employees will really appreciate the extra effort involved.
With 1 in 4 people suffering with a diagnosable mental health condition each year, mental wellbeing should already be at the top of every HR agenda. Financial and physical wellbeing should also feature heavily when you’re discussing employee engagement and productivity. These three key areas of wellbeing are so intrinsically linked that it is often hard to impact one without affecting the others. Job insecurity can also lead to financial worries, and increased stress has been shown to lead to poorer physical health, so it is important to provide both financial and physical wellbeing initiatives during any period of change.
Making all employee benefits and comms accessible in one place, via an app means that staff have everything they need right at their fingertips. Gone are the days of wasting time trawling the company intranet for some information that might be out of date once you get to it. Today, staff want everything in real-time and an employee engagement app can do just that, and more.
Learning and Development
Learning and development are inseparable aspects of our working life. If we stop learning, we stop growing, so whether you have a speaker come to the office, offer an online database of courses, or you run workshops during lunch breaks, make sure that regular learning and development opportunities are available for all staff members.
Running seminars and workshops on managerial training, refresher courses for employees on elements of their day-to-day job, and more specialist courses for those wishing to move into a different section of the business will help keep your workforce engaged.
Reward and Recognition
When you recognise and reward a high level of service, you encourage employees to repeat these actions, creating a happier and more productive workforce. The majority of reward and recognition programmes are now digital, which allows access anytime and anywhere. However, even though a programme may be online, this doesn’t guarantee participation. Younger employees check their smartphone an average of 85 times per day, so placing your Reward and Recognition within an app, could significantly boost participation. The introduction of technology even allows for some level of automation, which can make recognising employees hard work even easier.
Eventually, it all comes full circle and we’re back to communication, this time from employee to employer. Pulse surveys, feedback forms or even grabbing a quick coffee with each team can help show your staff that you do listen and understand their concerns. Once you’ve collected staff feedback, it is important that you take action. The most successful engagement programmes use this feedback to fine tune engagement strategies. Treating your engagement programme as an ongoing and iterative process that is constantly adapting and improving can show your staff that you care about their wellbeing. This will not only help them become more engaged, you may find that it also improves happiness and productivity levels in your organisation too.
About the Author:
Hayley is Communications Executive at Personal Group, a technology-enabled employee services business which works with employers to drive productivity through better employee engagement and a more motivated workforce. With over 30 years’ experience, the Company provides employee benefits, serving 550 businesses, reaching over 2 million employees across the UK.