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In the world of work, the need for better employee engagement remains one of our biggest challenges.

In a study by One4all, 79% of UK workers believed their manager didn’t care about their happiness.

This is just one eye-opening statistic, against a mounting backdrop of research, and general opinion, supporting the notion that employee wellbeing and engagement go hand in hand. As well as the evidence, it is entirely logical that a person’s level of wellbeing directly impacts their engagement in their surroundings – and thus their contribution to the successes or failures of the organisation.

Employee wellbeing and engagement are therefore vital considerations for professional stakeholders in creating the right organisational culture and climate for success. So, what are your next steps?

  • Businesses with a strong learning culture enjoy 30-50% higher employee engagement and retention rates than those who don’t (Robert Hall)
  • 55% of businesses think strong employee engagement would improve their ability to retain, recruit or plan succession (CBI)
  • 70% of employees believe training could help them become more focused, and better time managers. Yet 66% have never asked their manager for training (Udemy)
  • 44% of businesses think improved employee engagement would lead to better retention, whilst 36% think it would have a positive impact on recruitment (CBI)
  • 47% of HR leaders cited employee turnover and retention as their top challenge (Globoforce)
  • 50% of employees report being stressed all or most of the time at work (Udemy)

The 9 pillars of employee engagement:

It’s important to remember that engagement is a two-way street. Not something that can be imposed top-down – or it will simply fail. To arrive at an employee engagement strategy, it is vital to enlist the help of those we are trying to engage. Ask them how they wish to be engaged – and begin the negotiation.

There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy, but along the journey, here are some tried and tested considerations. The nine pillars of employee engagement:

1. Values & purpose (the Why?)

To feel relevant and motivated in the workplace, we need to both understand the organisation’s values and feel a connection to them. People need to belong. If they don’t, they can’t connect. So make sure you promote values and purpose effectively. This lets employees clearly see their part in the mission; what their role is in the bigger picture, and why they matter – heightening their share in mutual engagement.

2. Communication

A major part of No. 1 above, clear and regular communication is key to each pillar of engagement. There’s no faster way to disenfranchise people from a cause than leaving them out of the conversation. But inclusion means providing channels for feedback; a feeling that dialogue is always open – something which today’s social/workplace technology media has made far easier. Such as Q&A sessions, online suggestion boxes, internal podcasts etc.

3. Health & wellness

From office feng shui, to gym memberships, lunchtime fitness sessions and formal health checkups – most modern workplaces have some form of employee health and welfare options. Yet, for many, employee health and wellness is a box ticked – rather than a rich seam mined.

Organisations that truly get behind their employees’ health and wellbeing consistently report downward trends in employee absence, and raised productivity. Again, communication is important. Employees need to be consulted about their health and wellbeing, they need to understand what’s available to them – and how to access it.

4. Workspace & environment

We invest a lot of our lives in the workplace, so the quality of these spaces is important to employees’ engagement – and can even impact on their health over time.

See your working environment not just as a space to put people, but as a further opportunity reinforce organisational values. Ingenuity, creativity, technology, innovation – explore ways of making the working environment reflect what should matter to your people.

5. Well-defined roles

Your employees will, or course, have their own job titles – but this is about relating roles and tasks to the bigger picture of what’s going on within the organisation. Are some people or groups operating in silos – largely unaware of how their work relates to other people along a different corridor or at a different site?

Helping employees to get a wider view helps them to redefine their perspective on their own roles, and those of others, including leaders, fostering a better sense of engagement.

6. Relationships with colleagues

As well as connection with your enterprise, connections between people also really matter when it comes to employee engagement. Togetherness and friendships bring rewards for individuals and companies alike.

Of course, you can’t stipulate that people connect, but you can create a culture and environment in which human connections can flourish.

7. Recognition and incentives

At the bottom line, people work to earn money. But there are a number of emotional drivers at work that go far beyond the financial. Self-esteem, peer-group recognition, team membership, goal achievement, social ranking, for example. These are some of the things we all invest in, to some degree, and help to define who we are, both to our selves and to others.

Within the workplace, there is a tremendous opportunity to empower employees to aspire to and attain greater levels of recognition. Ask employees to set their own incentives, individually or in teams. Promote and follow these ideas on social media. Keep it fun and preferably aligned with organisational values, and engagement will prosper.

8. Buy-in from managers

Can you create extraordinary managers?

Ordinary managers are those at risk of making employees feel undervalued (see first sentence in this article).

Extraordinary managers understand their importance of communicating not only instructions, but also the ‘Why?’ and the ‘Where you fit it in’. Extraordinary managers maintain the vital connections between hierarchy and employees – and when they thrive on it, business thrives too.

Extraordinary managers bring buy-in to the table… and that brings engagement.

9. Personal growth and development

For most people, a career means embarking upon a journey of self-achievement, with timely milestones of upward progression along the way. Those who aren’t given the opportunities to capitalise on their journey will soon become disengaged.

Worse still, they may seek pastures new. So it’s vital to provide employees with clear lines of site of their expected or possible career projection. And that your extraordinary managers recognise key moments of achievement, and promote these shining examples to inspire others.

Here’s a quick checklist of the 10 things you can do to support your engagement culture

1.       Involve employees in your business planning process

2.       Reward innovations and efficiency

3.       Create a healthy ‘wellbeing’ work environment

4.       Clarify roles and tasks

5.       Encourage knowledge sharing in a creative way

6.       Encourage and provide learning/development opportunities

7.       Recruit and promoted from within

8.       Create excitement about forthcoming opportunities and new technology

9.       Boost morale – spread the good news and acknowledge success

10.   Develop and encourage ‘Extraordinary Managers’ who inspirational role models

Promoting engagement and wellbeing – come to our seminars

Managing employees’ engagement and wellbeing is one of HR’s biggest challenges – and we’re delving deeply into all the issues at our series of regional seminars throughout June 2019.

Drawing on our legal, HR and occupational health expertise, these seminars will provide practical guidance on promoting wellbeing strategies, managing physical and mental ill health conditions, tackling absence and much more.

You’ll also take away tools and resources to help you implement the strategies covered in the seminars.  We look forward to seeing you.

Make more happen – secure your place today.


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