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Employee engagement: the basics

3 Jul 2021

Employee engagement a massive topic.  This short note is intended to cover the key elements, but if you would like to discuss how to improve employee engagement in your organisation, please get in touch with our employment team.

Every organisation is made up of individuals.  They are all different, have different needs and are motivated by different things. There are, however, a few basic principles organisations should consider if they are to keep their valuable workforces engaged, motivated and ultimately productive.

Top 6 principles to motivate your workforce

Communicate your vision and values at recruitment stage

Clearly communicating your company vision and values as well as specifics of the role and the benefits package will mean recruits will be aware of what you are trying to achieve and will know exactly what to expect when they join.  This is a good basis for building a relationship going forward.

Train your managers to be people managers

While compelling benefits packages have their place, many companies forget the positive impact good management has on employees.  Strong managers will have the skills to engage people at all levels and will take the time to understand what drives those working for them.  This knowledge will help them to determine how to keep staff motivated and engaged. While these skills may come naturally to some, other managers may need additional support to develop them.

Make praise and recognition part of your culture

Recognition is extremely important to people and therefore fundamental to keeping employees engaged. In an ideal world, real time praise and recognition should be an integral part of your continuous feedback culture. In reality though, many managers struggle to provide praise without it feeling cheesy and insincere. If that’s the case then its worth remembering there are many other ways to deliver praise using technology, or just pre-loaded emails. It doesn’t have to be a costly or complicated thing to get up and running.

Manage poor performers, but don’t forget the rest

Leaving poor performance unchecked negatively impacts morale and engagement, so it’s important it’s addressed.  But beware, allowing poor performers to take up too much management time can mean performing staff receive less attention, simply because they don’t require (on the face of it) any additional support. Make sure you get the balance right.

Make your benefits package attractive and bespoke

Once you have covered off Maslow’s basic hygiene factors, the key to getting a benefits package right, is to figure out what genuinely matters to (and so motivates) your staff.  This is where we once again circle back to your managers, who will be able to inform you what your employees value.  In our experience, it’s often the little things that matter.  An extra day off for your birthday, greater ability to choose your shift patterns / hours, an early finish on a Friday can all make a huge difference. Other things like subsidies for things that are important to staff inside or outside of work, for example uniform, equipment, technology, gym membership to name a few.

Analyse your data and use it!

Analyse internal and external data (from your benefits / pensions providers / HR systems) to see the level of take up and don’t be afraid to change your offering based on this. Conduct exit interviews to explore why people are exiting the business and why. Don’t be afraid to ask what you could have done to keep them and also what is included in their new package.  You have nothing to lose and this valuable information will help you benchmark you offering against your competitors.

How we can help

There are a number of ways we can help you drive engagement within your business.  We can work with you to:

  • Design a recruitment strategy to incorporate your vision and values
  • Create detailed job adverts and job descriptions
  • Develop a tailored on-boarding process to show investment in new joiners
  • Design and conduct surveys to identify your company’s vision and values
  • Carry out internal and external benchmarking of your existing benefits package
  • Support managers with issues relating to poor performance
  • Design and publish a clear chain of who to talk to should employees have ideas or want to discuss options and ideas for other ways of working
  • Conduct exit interviews to see why people are leaving, analyse and report findings

Get in touch

Our employment solicitors advise both employers and employees on a variety of different employment matters. To find out how we may be able to assist you, please contact our employment law team.