North East Connected

How to create greater employee engagement in your business

By Craig Bulow, Corporate Away Days

A survey from Gartner in 2019 asked: ‘Which of the following factors are most highly linked to employee engagement in your organization?’.  The responses highlighted some interesting statistics.  They showed that these were key factors for staff engagement:

Relationship with immediate supervisor: 79%

A sense of purpose: 75%

Organizational culture: 74%

Opportunities for career growth: 68%

Enjoyment of work: 68%

Relationship with colleagues: 67%

Given that we learn from research that engaged employees are happier, perform better, and provide a better experience to the end customer what can we do with the information above and to engage our teams fully in the year ahead?

Here are some ideas for you to consider:

Wellbeing training

Businesses with a strong learning culture enjoy employee engagement and retention rates – between 30% – 50% higher than businesses that don’t. Offering career and development training that includes wellbeing topics would keep 86% of millennials from leaving their jobs. (Source: Glintinc)

Wellbeing training should cover evolutionary practices, the three main ones being: Sleep, Diet and Exercise. In addition, at work training on how to look out for signs of stress and burnout in our colleagues is helpful.

Engaging the services of leading professionals in wellbeing and mental health to offer interactive workshops and seminars to educate staff at all levels will help ensure the company’s workers mental and physical wellbeing is kept a high priority.

Show Empathy

We all like to feel valued for who we are rather than how much money we make. In fact research shows 83% of engaged staff say “my supervisor cares about me as a person” compared to just 3% of disengaged workers. (Source: Glintinc)

It’s clear getting to know people is worth it. So, if you want staff who care about their work you must first show you care about them as people. Get to know your employees. Find out what matters to each employee professionally and personally. Who’s their favourite superhero? Who broke a world record? What are their career goals? Ask and listen!

Empower Employees

Knowing someone and trusting them are two quite different things! So, as well as getting to know your team, have faith in their abilities. Engage employees by empowering them to take responsibility for their work and new challenges.

Give people the autonomy to get the job done in their own unique way. All this ‘trying and doing’ it for themselves develops employees’ skills through experiential learning. Remember that empowering employees means steering clear of micromanaging.

Warning: Other people’s way of doing things may be different to yours (but it just may be better!).

Encourage social connections

Over the last 20 years there has been a huge step forward in technology, which has changed the way we communicate both at work and socially. Face-to-face communication has reduced, and we’re at risk of losing the human connection – which is crucial to improving engagement at work.

How can these issues be tackled?

Team bonding days have their place – but they are all about work! You are more likely to engage individuals with fun experiences and activities that they would choose for themselves. Imagine offering them a day out they would really love? The sort of thing that they’d happily pay for and organise at the weekends or on a day off in their own time? Imagine how much more impact that would have than something that felt like a ‘work’ day? The interest, excitement and commitment are already there as it is something they actually want to do and/or experience.

Clearly not everyone will have the same interest for every event / activity that is chosen. Perfect! This gives the employer an opportunity to engage different individuals from across the business who share the same interests. This will be a great icebreaker.

Fun at Work

84% of executives thought that employees with a sense of humour do better job than employees with little or no sense of humour. (Source: Linkedin)

Studies show 90% of people say a fun work environment is very or extremely motivating. (Source: Growth Engineering)

There are so many ways to have fun and everyone has their personal favourites. An away day for example on an inspiring, engaging and exciting event will build trust, resilience and connections across the workplace at all levels especially with a Wellbeing theme at its core.

Lead by Example

Belief in senior leadership is the No.1 factor in creating positive employee engagement. 58% of employees say they would start a job with a lower salary if they worked for a great boss. 85% of employees say they would stay longer in a company with an employer who shows a high level of social responsibility. (Source: Glintinc)

The best way to do this is by example.  Don’t tell them about your great leadership – show them through your own actions. If you make a mistake; take responsibility. If you say you will do something; make sure you do it. If you set a deadline; meet it.

Avoid “Role Ambiguity”

Role ambiguity is often cited as a common cause of workplace stress. Failure to address this issue also leads to task duplication and wasted resources.

Research agrees, with a recent Gallup study revealing ‘clear expectations’ as the most ‘foundational’ factor for employee engagement.

By setting clear employee SMART goals, KPIs and expectations from day one staff can better plan and measure their progress. Give each employee the right tools, information, feedback and training to excel in their role. Ensure each employee knows what to do, how to do it and how their work contributes to the company’s wider goals.

Employee Recognition

We all like to hear those two powerful words every now and again – ‘good job!’ However big or small a success, make sure you praise your workforce for a job well done. Share the company successes. Encourage everyone to celebrate each other’s successes. By celebrating company-wide achievements you will encourage a supportive work environment and motivate staff.

Recognition is a powerful way to engage employees, with research showing 76% of people find peer praise extremely or very motivating. So, however you choose to spread the praise – be it with a day out, a trip to a special event, in one-to-one sessions, or an old school round of applause – celebrate success!

Offer flexible working conditions

75% of employees say they experience greater productivity when they are working from home. This also reduces commuting time, cost of travel, less daily stress and a comfortable environment. (Source: Glintinc)

The downside to this is isolation; employees risk losing even more connection with their colleagues / peers, especially if they are spending the majority of the week working from home with no human contact.

However, arranging social engagements can help to mitigate this by building relationships and ensuring that the people you are dealing with remotely on a day-to-day basis are not just faceless emails, but real people whose personalities you know. It’s much easier to build a relationship and trust when you share a common interest in an event or activity.

Business success and employee engagement go hand-in-hand.  Why not review what you are currently doing?  Perhaps you can introduce some activities to increase engagement during 2020. Your business and your team will enjoy the process and the positive outcomes.

Craig Bulow is the founder of Corporate Away Days, a corporate wellbeing events company delivering engaging, inspiring and exciting events focussed on Wellbeing and Reward activities. Corporate Away Days also creates, designs and builds corporate wellbeing policies and provides leading experts for interactive workshops, seminars and talks on improving mental health and overall wellbeing.

Every Corporate Away Days event and activity is chosen with wellbeing as its focus, helping to encourage employee engagement, foster connections and build relationships within the business.


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