The top 10 employee engagement drivers | Your 2020 guide

A wise man once said, ‘to win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace’ (Doug Conant). Employee happiness has long been a consideration for successful businesses but it has only been in the last few years that the drivers of engagement have been understood and established. 

In our recent report on the state of retail in a Covid-19 world, we uncovered how employee engagement has a direct impact on productivity and subsequently, business profits. Brands with a high level of engagement saw a 15% greater productivity rate with 26% less staff turnover and 20% less absenteeism. Those who invested in their people programmes also featured higher than their competition in regards to overall business productivity.

The rewards of an engaged workforce are clear to most however the process can be less so. So, what exactly are the fundamental drivers of an engaged employee? 

We’ve taken a deep dive into the top 10 employee engagement drivers, each of which have a direct impact on job satisfaction. By implementing change in just a few of these areas, you are guaranteed to improve your employees’ day to day working life and empower a productive workforce. 

Employee engagement drivers - strategy

Values and purpose

Research shows that 80% of employees feel engaged with their work when it aligns to the company values (IBM). Outlining your mission and business proposition is crucial for connecting with your people. Not only does this provide a clear cohesive vision in which you all work towards - individuals will feel a part of your wider strategy too. Create a concise message that employees and future hires can relate to, tying it into your communications and goal setting practices.

Mental and physical wellbeing

As awareness for mental health continues to grow, wellness in the workplace has become a number one consideration. According to CIPD, 37% of employers saw an increase in stress-related sick days in 2019 while 60% reported a rise in staff’s mental health conditions. So how can businesses combat work-related stresses? 

The most common reason for stress at work is a heavy workload. With many of us struggling to balance our personal and working life, it is vital for employers to ensure staff are not overworked. Perhaps we should take inspiration from the recent French law whereby businesses must state hours in which employees can not engage with emails. This promotes the ‘right to disconnect’ and is just one way we can take responsibility for our workforce.

Many companies are now forming committees so that employees can contribute to their workplace wellness. For office-bound workers, that means everything from in-office yoga and nutritionists, to standing desks and walking meetings; all ways in which you can invest in your employees’ mental and physical wellbeing, while increasing overall engagement.

Employee engagement drivers - wellbeing

Employee-manager relationship

An employee’s relationship with their line manager can have a direct impact on their productivity, happiness and willingness to do their job making positive relationships key to employee success. While each management style is different, it is important to invest in adequate leadership training so that you can ensure your people are looked after.

The main considerations for driving a positive managerial relationship are approachability, availability, trustworthiness and empathy. Having an understanding manager who looks out for your needs is perhaps one of the biggest employee engagement drivers.

Fairness and safety

Combined with the above, employees need to feel respected, particularly by their senior leadership team. Fair treatment considers a range of indicators from pay to workload to progression. For shift workers this is everything from matching contracted hours to making fair rotas.

But ultimately it lies with how they are treated. 

Feeling safe to voice concerns to a line manager or human resources department is a crucial element of an employee’s wellbeing. Create a trusting, confidential environment where your staff can feel comfortable talking freely. 

Employee engagement drivers - manager employee relationship

Learning and development

While humans typically like routine, we also flourish when presented with challenges and new learning experiences. It’s important to remember that employees are on a career path and need to be provided with opportunities for growth. Those who are driven to learn will usually be more productive and motivated to succeed. 

Granting access to learning platforms where staff can choose to improve skills across a breadth of topics is an excellent way of supporting individual employees’ professional development. 

Tools to do the job

The simplest consideration - yet one we often overlook - is ensuring our people have the required resources to fulfil their role. Technology, capacity and training are just a few factors. While money is often an obstacle for investing in improved systems, there is potential to greatly impact profits, time and spend as well as overall engagement. 

Adopting cutting-edge platforms such as Rotageek reduces the hours upon hours spent creating staff schedules. Not only does this open up time for managers to get back to important work, it improves employee experience too. Staff can enjoy flexibility for a better work-life balance as well as real-time schedule visibility and improved communication.

The work environment

We take care to make sure our homes are a positive, comfortable space, so naturally the same thought should be applied to our places of work. Whether your employees are office-based, on the shop floor or deskless workers, their work environment will have a direct impact on their productivity and overall job satisfaction. 

Factors such as light, temperature and air quality are fundamental considerations when evaluating your work space. While not all your staff will have the same preferences, it's important to check in with their needs and provide different areas for them to work and relax in.  

Employee engagement drivers - Work environment

Co-worker relationships

Employee engagement levels skyrocket by up to 50% when workers develop close relationships with colleagues. While many make friends with their direct team members, it is the business’s responsibility to instill a positive company culture. There are various steps that can be taken to nurture a supportive, sociable workplace from regular get-togethers to ensuring you have a diverse, inclusive company. Building an positive, social environment should undoubtedly be a key part of your employee engagement strategy.

Communication and clarity

Regular communication is crucial not only from managers but also from senior leadership. Employees who are kept up to date with company updates, business performance and individual feedback are more likely to feel valued and engaged in their role. 

It is also equally important that employees are clear on their own responsibilities within the business so they can work with intention and confidence.

Recognition and perks

While salary is a primary consideration for most employees, recognition and the benefits of the job are often just as important. Many companies now invest in employee perks from local discounts to healthcare, and reward schemes are implemented to recognise those who have gone above and beyond. An inclusive mix of recognition platforms is required to ensure no one goes unnoticed – yes, Employee of the Month is a great place to start, but you could also try point-based systems where staff can thank each other or shoutouts from senior leaders as a basic part of your HR practice.

Employee engagement drivers - Compensation and Reward

By implementing the above employee engagement drivers into your organisation, you will definitely see improvements in job satisfaction, productivity and staff turnover. Make sure to track the tangible benefits of your investment by running an employee engagement survey before and after you make a change for the better, so you measure engagement rather than consider it a 'soft' factor.

Regardless of your approach, there’s no doubt that employee engagement -whatever form it takes – is not only critical to keeping employees happy and healthy, but can have an effect on the bottom line. There’s a clear commercial benefit in looking after your people – they are the advocates and ambassadors for your business after all.

Topics from this blog: employee engagement HR

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