Employee engagement goes to the heart of the employer- employee relationship. At its best it enables people to be the best they can be as involved, respected, and valued contributors to their organisation’s success. Differences between the best and worst engaged organisations include 18% higher productivity, 40% lower employee turnover and 62% fewer accidents. It’s a virtuous circle: engaged employees know their work affects their organisation’s goals and priorities in an environment that reinforces their values and beliefs. They know what’s expected of them (and why) and feel connected with other staff and parts of the organisation.

Research also suggests higher levels of employee engagement lead to more innovative work behaviour. Engaged employees are much more likely to search out new methods or techniques and transform innovative ideas into useful applications and cost savings. New ways of working that rely on discretionary effort willingly given (e.g. innovation, collaboration, joint problem solving) cannot thrive in environments where employee abilities are not valued or trusted. There is no shortage of research and ideas on how to increase employee engagement. Here are some recurrent themes:

  • align employee goals to business outcomes. Employees need to know they are working for their own goals as much as the organisation’s. People will want to see how their job impacts the organisation’s overall success
  • see your employees as people not payroll. Successful businesses with a higher propensity for employee engagement are committed to open and honest communication, and engage in social interactions outside work. As a manager, take a genuine interest in your team’s well-being
  • increase employee input and involvement. Listen to problems at local, as well as at the organisational level. Support team building activities, coaching and mentoring
  • know the strengths of your employees. Putting people in the right job fit is part of engaging your employees where both the organisation and the employee benefits. Engagement increases when the focus is on employees’ strengths
  • recognise and reward your employees – from mastering a new work process, gaining a sought-after client, solving a problem that creates value for an organisation, to exemplary demonstrations of an organisation’s core values. Recognition of the contribution made by the individual is a major part of employee engagement.

source: Randstad Workpocket (2015)