The importance of employee engagement

LS International

Employees are a company’s greatest asset. That is something that the vast majority of people can agree on, but crucial to being able to get the most from your most valuable asset is the need to ensure that employees are fully engaged.

Companies should be asking themselves – just how engaged are our employees? An engaged workforce is one where the culture of a company is carefully shaped and its values and ethos is embedded into every aspect of the company and in everything that employees do.

To enable this to happen, it is vital that employees feel appreciated and valued. It is important that they feel trusted and connected. There must be a culture of transparency and openness permeating though the whole organisation.

In a practical sense, employee engagement is increasingly important in the current climate. In sports, you hear of attack being the best form of defense. Well, employee engagement is the best form of retention.

The best talent that you have at your organisation will never be short of other job options, and the cost of recruiting and on boarding replacements for any employees is considerable. The answer is simple – engage your staff so that they simply do not want to leave.

The latest Engagement Excellence Live event was held in London on April 6th. #EnExLive provided a wealth of valuable insights and advice about how best to engage employees. It is also highlighted some eye-opening statistics that show how far some companies need to go to improve the engagement of their staff.

“51% of employees don’t trust their CEO” – 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer

Glenn Elliott, founder and CEO of Reward Gateway, and one of the keynote speakers at #EnExLive produced the startling stat above. It shows the scale of the job, in building trust, improving communication and creating a transparent culture, which many companies undoubtedly face.

Glenn Elliott follows a clear principle as a CEO. He says that he focuses 40/40/20 on People, Product and Profit, in that order. 30 million surveys taken in Gallup polls show that where employee engagement is high, stock markets returns are doubled, employee turnover is halved, and innovation increases.


Employee engagement inspires and leads to innovation

Google famously led the way a few years ago with its ‘20% Time’ – freeing up employees to work on creative side projects for a day a week. It resulted in some of the company’s best innovations: Gmail, AdSense and Google News. The Google staff canteens are known for their gourmet menus (all free to employees) and other benefits that Google staff enjoy include the likes of free massages and sleep pods.

Many companies will not be in a position to match Google in terms of scale, but the principle of ‘people first’ certainly can be followed. The #EnExLive event provided several innovative ideas for how companies can engage their employees and some useful guidance about the approaches that should be taken


Employees buy into what they help to build

Linda Jodrell, HR Director at Citation, argued that employees will be greater supporters of the things that they have helped to build and create. Shared values are needed to keep people engaged, and she states that, “It is better to have no values, than disingenuous ones.”

As financial well-being will lead to higher rates of employee engagement, another suggestion at the event was to set up a system of employee loans, saving schemes and advice on debt management.

A staff lottery with a monthly prize draw would be another way to engage employees. Some companies set aside a well-being budget, to provide yoga classes, the opportunity to learn a new language or to offer gym membership.

There are a multitude of ways that companies can work to engage employees. According to Deloitte, 78% of employees do not feel recognized and the importance of leaders being open, straight-talking and transparent is obvious.

Employee engagement doesn’t need to be about grand gestures. It’s often the small things that matter the most. Any steps that companies can take to improve the work space and well-being of its employees will be appreciated. What is vital is that the benefits that are on offer really match the needs and desires of the workforce.

Please write any questions or comments that you may have!