Today’s working world is evolving rapidly and in a time of heightened expectancy, employers need to provide a productive, engaging and enjoyable workplace experience if they are to attract and retain the best talent.
This is especially important on the back of a recent survey by Investors in People, which highlighted that out of 100 million full-time employees, 51% aren’t engaged at work – meaning they feel no real connection to their jobs and tend to do the bare minimum.
To help address this, according to Deloitte, employee engagement must become a strategic priority.
It forms a core part of our value proposition – and for good reason, but what exactly is it?
About employee engagement
In the past, it used to be about the effort made to make staff ‘happy’ through employee benefits like flexible working, gym memberships and attractive salaries.
The agile office layout with funky break out areas and brightly coloured seats is now commonplace, and perks such as table football, ping pong and an office fridge for Friday afternoon drinks make up many a standard employment package.
However, whilst this all goes a long way towards creating a business full of ‘happy’ people, it doesn’t necessarily make for more productive people who are any better at what they do.
To do that, we need to engage better with our people because, ultimately, having engaged staff can help your business to outperform competitors by up to 20%.
Growing a productive workforce
Applying the principles of customer engagement to enhance the employee experience will help to identify and channel untapped potential, instilling a shared organisational vision, whilst helping to save money on the replacement of skilled workers, which can cost up to 150% of a typical salary.
To explore the concept of customer engagement, Neil Scotton and Dr. Alistair Scott of the One Leadership Project recently undertook a comparative study of organisations that win awards as good employers, are perceived as good companies, and are wonderful places to work.
The results of their research identified several key areas that need to be recognised, understood and addressed if companies are to provide an engaged workplace environment for their people – the first of which is understanding why we work in the first place.
Understanding why we work
The expectations of employees have changed and employers need to understand this. It’s not always about money and status, and many employees no longer want a job for life.
Motivated staff need a sense of purpose, to be engaged in their work and feel that it is meaningful in the grand scheme of their company and its ethos.
Recognising employee variation
It’s important for businesses to understand that they are made up of individuals, so a ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t always work. These days, people expect that a company will provide a work experience that recognises their skills, talent and potential and will respond to them personally.
Understanding what inspires people
Understanding the “what” and the “how” of what you do is essential to people but an appreciation of the “why”, enables employees to assign true meaning to their work, encouraging a sense of belonging. Stories rather than buzz words or statements, trigger purpose and show why people should commit to a cause by tapping into emotional significance.
Helping people to feel valued
Showing encouragement, recognition and appreciation is the simplest and most effective way of demonstrating that people are valued and their contribution is recognised.
It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture. A simple “thank you” or email from a colleague saying, “great job” is often all that is needed.
Being better listeners
To win trust, the onus is upon companies not just the employee to continually demonstrate why they deserve each other. Mutual understanding is critical and everyone must work to build it.
To do this, companies need to listen to their employees. If people feel they are being heard and understood, then they are more likely to be engaged.
Creating one team
Employees can choose to be active or passive, promoters or detractors – depending on how engaged they are. In the age of social media, this is vitally important. Engaged people are often not as noisy as unhappy ones who use their power to squash or ridicule initiatives.
Communicating the bigger picture
The saying that the sum of the whole is greater than its parts is never truer than in the work place.
A team acting as one can only be achieved when a shared vision and sense of belonging is cultivated from every level at a company, right up to the top. Working together creates connection, interaction and tangible personal relationships, that breed a sort of depth of soul within a company.
Understanding what fulfillment means
A positive, light hearted working environment inspires trust and crosses social, generational and cultural barriers. Where the culture of a business is open and celebratory, embracing (appropriate) humour, people feel more comfortable, share more ideas, and take more creative risks to be innovative.
People are at their best when they are free to be themselves and take pleasure in both their work and life. This is often reflected back in their working performance, and can lead to businesses enjoying approximately 40% less turnover of staff as a result.
In summary, employee engagement is about providing a positive employee experience which helps to form strong team bonds, shared visions and goals which will in turn, help drive a business forward. This is what we try to do with our own team.
Our view is that so long as we are willing to allocate resource to the ‘engagement’ cause and make it a business priority, then our employees will be more likely to find true fulfillment in their job, and will want to stay with a company that engages meaningfully with them.
In the words of Sir Richard Branson: “….employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.”
More about us
As one of the largest independent providers of commercial and residential property advice in the UK, we recognise that we have a responsibility towards both our staff, and the communities in which we work.
That why we focus so heavily on employee engagement and corporate social responsibility. By making charity support a key part of what we do, we ensure all staff have the opportunity to participate and contribute.
It forms a core part of our value proposition, and has helped us to become recognised as one of the Best Places to Work in Property by Property Week (2017).
Not only this, our focus on making the way we engage with our staff, clients and communities, has contributed to us achieving a Silver accreditation from Investors in People.
If you like what you hear, you can find out more here.