how to engage your employees

Creating an engaged workforce is key to any organisation’s success, and management has a significant role to play in this process.

The benefits of a more engaged workforce are not to be ignored. The most-engaged workforce will achieve:

  • 18% higher productivity
  • 40% lower employee turnover
  • 62% fewer accidents

On top of this, research also suggests that higher levels of employee engagement lead to more innovative work behaviour, as engaged employees are much more likely to experiment with new methods or techniques, which in turn translates into useful applications and cost savings.

The Gallup Global Workplace Report 2013 shows that about a quarter of Australian employees are engaged, which is one of the highest levels in the world. Research also shows that employees of small companies with less than 1000 staff are 40% more likely to be engaged, compared with those working for large organisations with 5000–9000 employees, where only 27% are engaged.

Delving deeper into the available research, when looking at what makes an employee engage with their workplace, the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) found that:

  • Older and more senior employees are generally more engaged than younger workers.
  • Meaningful tasks, having a purpose and strong relationships are the key motivational influences.
  • Younger employees see relationships with co-workers as being most important.
  • Disengaged employees generally feel undervalued, have negative opinions of their managers, perform more poorly, and have higher absentee rates.

What you can do to engage staff

  • Train your managers: 80% of variation in engagement rests on managers, emphasising the reality that people join organisations, but leave managers.
  • Create a climate of trust and fairness and listen to staff: Not just a case of running an online engagement survey, you need to make yourself available to staff and listen to them face-to-face. And if you do conduct a survey, be aware that not implementing changes is even more detrimental to staff morale. Lack of trust and perceived unfairness further contributes to disengagement.
  • Reward staff: Giving praise maximises feelings of reward, which in turn boosts engagement and makes an employee feel more emotionally committed to an organisation. Leadership experts stress the importance of non-financial rewards as a way of increasing levels of engagement and fulfilment at work.

If you're concerned that poor staff engagement is impacting your bottom-line, speak to a Randstad HR consultant for advice on how to cultivate an appealing and rewarding work environment. Or visit Randstad’s knowledge centre workforce360.

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