For a long time, maintaining a happy workforce and increasing employee engagement was a common goal for HR professionals only. However, business leaders are realising that employees are their most valuable asset, and they must invest the time and effort to ensure their teams have great experiences. Happy, engaged employees equate to productive teams.
According to Gallup’s recent findings, highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability. These findings are not surprising. There are clear differences between how engaged employees and disengaged employees interact within an organisation.
Engaged employees will see their workplace like their second home, they will take ownership of their work and will remain loyal to the business. They will have long term plans to grow with the company and will strive to be as successful as possible.
Disengaged, unhappy employees will do exactly the opposite. They will embrace and encourage negativity; they will focus their energy and efforts on complaining and will move to a different organisation when the opportunity arises.
The Engagement Institute released a study of 1,500 respondents showing that disengaged employees cost companies between $450 and $550 billion a year.... yes that's billion!
With these stats in mind we see employee engagement and creating positive experiences as critical for company success.
In this blog we list our recommendations how to create and maintain a positive, productive workforce.
1. Encourage flexibility.
Flexible working hours and the ability to work from home is increasingly becoming the norm for organisations across all sectors.
In some cases, employees would prefer and chose to work for a company which offers flexible working terms with lower monetary rewards than those who do not offer flexibility.
Flexible working can be introduced into your organisation with small changes such as removing the need for everyone to arrive or leave the office at certain times. The simple change brings an end to employee ‘clock watching’ or stressing about arriving late to the office. Another approach may be offering all employees the option to carry out their role within 4 days instead of the usual 5.
Showing your employees, the willingness and openness to being flexible and adapting to their lifestyles shows a progressive, trusting and understanding company culture.
However, increased flexibility can create greater communication challenges, with people working different days and hours it can become even more important to find ways to keep everyone on the same page at the same time. It's worth taking this into account. When thinking about increasing flexibility across your business, you may want to look at your communication strategy to ensure you connect with all employees.
2. Celebrate Success.
It can be human nature to focus on negative situations that occur instead of focussing on the positives.
In a New York Times article Professor Nass offered shared interesting information:
we as humans “tend to see people who say negative things as smarter than those who are positive. Thus, we are more likely to give greater weight to critical reviews.”
So, it’s not surprising that organisations struggle to provide a way to continuously celebrate the success of the company and its employees.
However, a focus on changing to a more positive mindset as well providing a means to celebrate success can make a huge impact on employee motivation as well as promoting and fostering a productive workforce.
There can be various successes across your organisation that many employees may not know about, examples may include, new contract wins, completion of huge projects or individual staff members going above and beyond their duties to make their colleagues or customers happy.
A simple well done or great job can make your employees feel appreciated and motivated.
Imagine two scenarios, a new employee has joined your company, they quickly fit in with their team and they make a great effort to change current processes, reducing effort spent on a specific task by 8 hours per week.
Scenario 1 – No one really notices and someone asks them to provide a summary of the tasks they have completed.
Scenario 2 – Their manager adds a comment onto their employee communications platform to welcome them to the team as well as congratulating them on their success and encouraging the rest of team to do the same... AND the CEO likes the comment.
In scenario 2 the new staff member is feeling valued, engaged and motivated to make further improvements.
Scenario 1 may set the new staff member on a journey to look for a new job, even after the time and effort spent on their induction and training.
3. Communicate, communicate and communicate again!
Effective communication is one of the key ways to create and maintain positive employee experiences.
Providing clear, consistent and relevant information to all of your employees at the same time can really help them to feel engaged and in touch with the company culture.
Introducing the right platform and strategy for communicating with employees can connect with all employees, including those who are hard to reach; those who don’t work at a desk, those without email or easy access to the intranet and those geographically dispersed employees who rarely connect with anyone except their teammates and line manager.
It’s key to get communication right to include all teams.
When speaking with dissatisfied employees some of their comments include; “we never know what’s happening in the company”, “I am the last person to find out about changes”, “new staff members join the company and find out their name months later”, the list goes on.
A great way to motivate your teams and improve communication is to proactively encourage employee contribution and feedback.
According to Forbes, employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.
Another recent report on the importance of employee recognition finds clear regular feedback to be critical.
With 89% of HR leaders agreeing that ongoing peer feedback and check-ins are key for successful outcomes.
Proactively sharing information as well as asking for feedback and employee contribution will make your teams feel more connected to your organisation.
Each employee will know that they are being heard and feel that their input is valuable.
To summarise, taking the time and making the effort to provide the best employee experience for your teams will create an overall positive impact across your organisation’s productivity and efficiency.
Employees will be happier and feel empowered when they are equipped with relevant information, recognised for doing a great job and have ways to give their feedback to the company.
They will enjoy flexibility and freedom to take full ownership within their roles and also want to make an impact in the organisations they not only work for by feel part of.
According to Gartner, employee retention will increase 10% by 2020 in organizations that have a “choose your own work style” culture, so now is the time to choose yours!
Organisations must focus on building a culture that drives positive employee experiences as well as providing appropriate technology to help enhance communication and maximise employee engagement.
If you are thinking of ways to increase your employee engagement levels, you may be looking into employee communications tools. We can help by giving you guidance and the appropriate technology to boost your current Internal Communications.