How do you Really Keep Employees Engaged?

Spoiler: it doesn’t (necessarily) involve pool tables. 

Employee Engagement was covered in detail at Engagedly’s [Engage + Perform] HR Summit. Nigel Jeremy, Chief Learning Officer (CLO) at British Airways was Keynote Speaker and Salt CEO, Jacqui Barratt and Sri Chellappa, President of Engagedly, joined him on a panel to share their insights into getting Employee Engagement right. Here are my key takeaways…

How would you define employee engagement? 

Not to get confused with employee satisfaction, engaged employees look at the whole company and understand their purpose, where, and how they fit in. They’re motivated, productive, take pride in their work, are emotionally committed and work on behalf of the company’s goals.

And it’s important to have engaged employees as your business could experience up to; 16% higher profitability, 37% lower absenteeism, 2.5 higher revenues and 65% decrease in staff turnover, which can then drive Customer Service Performance, Strategy Delivery and Financial Performance.

Jacqui Barratt commented that the ‘gimmicks’ such as pool tables and beer fridges are just ‘surface stuff and are not sustainable in getting real employee engagement – you’ve got to go deeper’.

Open Communication 

Whether it’s conversations with the employee or surveys, they help you get a ‘slice’ of what the employee is thinking. Encourage open and honest discussions and listen to your employees. Communication is incredibly important to everyone.

A quote I like is, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Performance Management 

The studies that Nigel shared with us, demonstrate that Performance Management is the most important factor in delivering and driving Employee Engagement. 

Nigel said to focus on the conversations and not on ticking off the processes. Effective performance management helps the employee understand their place in the workplace and how they can be better. Make sure you include clear expectations, goal setting (this is shown to be incredibly engaging for most people) and frequent feedback. Schedule those 1-2-1’s regularly!

Ask yourself, as an employee, how many times do you think ‘I just need my boss to tell me their happy with what I do.’ If this is the case, schedule some time with your manager!

Priorities change: embrace change

Nigel highlighted different trends for different generations. Baby Boomers wanted job security and stayed with one job for several years whereas Millennials are more likely to prefer freedom and flexibility. Embrace changes in your workplace and trust your employees. Jacqui highlighted that trust is a very important factor in Employee Engagement.

Despite trends, we’re all human 

Similarly, Nigel’s trends are not about putting people in boxes but noticing what is different for one another.  And despite different interests and motivations, employee engagement always revolves around the same things – recognition, feeling involved and interesting work whereas, wages, job security and promotions (whilst important) were not in the Top 5 of employee priorities.

So, try not to get too caught up in all the different trends and focus on the human.

It must be genuine 

This was discussed on the panel in terms of flexible working but, can apply to all areas of employee engagement.

Companies are starting to introduce flexible working but how many companies are actually embracing it? How many times have you or someone you know left on time or a bit earlier to have comments made such as, ‘part-timer’ or ‘leaving early are we?’

Not only do the top have to be champions of what they introduce into the company, they also have to show they believe it and do it themselves, otherwise people won’t take it seriously.

Reward and Recognition is still important (people just want it quicker) 

The immediacy of technology and being able to have films, music and information within seconds has permeated into work life. Nigel said that this means employees want reward and recognition quicker. Similarly, Jacqui noted that before employees took on long-term projects whereas now there is a want for shorter-term projects in order to get the recognition and reward quicker.

Tweet us @SaltJobsUK and tell us what you think about Employee Engagement. 

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