The rules of engagement

Sep 06 2012

High levels of employee engagement is what every business wants.

According to research, from the Best Companies, high levels of employee engagement help to create a more profitable business. This is because it drives performance by:

  • Improving motivation so that staff go that extra mile for the business
  • Inspiring employees to be the best they can be at work
  • Giving clarity so staff understand the organisations objectives & priorities
  • Achieving great staff retention and the ability to attract top talent

If we were able to wave a magic wand to create a highly engaged workforce I’m sure most business leaders and HR professionals would take it. But sadly there’s not. As leaders we need to work hard to create a positive work environment where employees feel valued, where they are driven by what they do and able to perform at their best.

There is lots of employee focused research that has been carried out to investigate what creates an engaged workforce and what helps attract, retain and motivate workers. This all shows we are not simply driven by large salaries and job security. Our needs go much further, beyond just our material needs, and they become quite physical and emotional.

Wayne Clarke, International Partner, Best Companies Partnership says, “One of the most important things in achieving strong levels of employee engagement is the relationship between employees and their line manager – people join organisations, but they leave managers. Managers need to focus on providing direction and this means good communication.”

Think about a time when you have produced your best work or performed at your best. How did you feel? What type of environment were you working in? How did you feel about your employer and manager? Did you feel healthy, happy and energised? When we are able to meet our employees material needs and also make sure they feel valued then they are far more likely to put in extra work.

Employees want to know that their employers care about them. They want to be recognised for their work and feel valued, which is why the role of managers is so important – click here to read my earlier blog, which focuses on the role of line managers.

Wellbeing is very important. Wayne says, “Effective managers not only offer clarity for what is expected from their employees but they treat them as individuals, with fairness and respect and with a concern for their wellbeing.

"We know that when employees feel that they are fairly treated and looked after, in terms of their health and wellbeing, that they are much more engaged and far more likely to put in the extra effort when needed.”

As a business leader myself, I want my employees to be committed, feel motivated by their work, be passionate about what they do and able to perform at their best. This means listening to employees so that I can:

1. Understand what is most important to them

2. Identify any potential problems so that interventions can be put in place

3. Create a culture where employees are able to perform at their best

We know from our work with some of the best companies that they remain successful because they stay close to their people and have open communication. They listen to employees so that get a good understanding of their needs and by doing so they are able to create a culture where their staff are happy, energised and able to perform at their best.