With the Great Resignation currently being a hot topic, there has never been a more important time to create a highly engaged and empowered workplace – and a culture that truly embraces your employees’ desire to achieve success in their roles and balance in their home lives.

As people settle back into their work routines, the work-life balance equation has shifted. The pandemic has taught many to reevaluate priorities and focus more on wellbeing and what makes work fulfilling. We have realised that there are new models for how we can better manage our work and home lives. We’re not working less, but we have more flexibility and better control of when we do things.

Working environments not willing to evolve with these new expectations risk losing great people to more flexible opportunities.

Now is the time for employers to ensure they have the fundamentals right for creating a business their employees want to stick with. Employee experiences and engagement drive business success. Employees want to be part of an organisation that truly values them, with leaders who are committed to both the organisation’s and the employees’ goals. Employees seek a sense of purpose, belonging and commitment to an organisation, and that commitment should feel reciprocated.

Employers must understand the foundations needed to create an engaging work environment with a committed workforce. But many tell us they are unclear on how to retain talent while achieving higher performance and productivity.

Our advice is:

  1. Understand how employees feel, what motivates them, what makes them proud and how committed they are.
  2. Appoint inspiring managers to develop an engaged workforce. A good leader will inspire, influence, guide and manage expectations and be open to feedback. Managers have to connect an employee’s work to their intrinsic motivations in addition to creating a compelling company culture. The shared values, behaviours, beliefs, attributes and characteristics of the organisation should be communicated clearly to all employees.
  3. Create clear career paths for employees through performance development. This means ongoing feedback and coaching. This has become harder in this new, often virtual environment and managers don’t necessarily have direct visibility of what their employees are working on day in day out. There must be a greater focus on offering professional development that’s in line with the goals of the company and keeping communication channels open.

As the way we work evolves before our eyes, one thing has remained a constant, and that is people are still an organisation’s biggest asset. The most successful leaders recognise this by putting their culture and people first. The companies that are thriving understand that an engaged workforce will give them a competitive advantage, so they create an environment where their teams will thrive.

There is an increasing need to focus on ensuring the capability of managers and leaders are set out, so they can have the right conversations with their teams.

Employee engagement matters

An employee’s experience is made up of a collection of touch points that can be somewhat hard to measure. These steps in the process include attraction, interviewing and onboarding all the way through to the individual’s exit. Employee engagement allows us to understand how employees are navigating these different touchpoints and helps unpack what their experience is like while highlighting areas for improvement across the workforce.

An engaged employee typically displays motivation and purpose, not just happiness, and includes:

  • Motivation for going above and beyond in their role
  • Their level of trust in the organisation
  • Pride in being connected with their company
  • A willingness to recommend their place of work to others
  • Their intention to stay with the company now and in the future.

Employee engagement is mutually beneficial

The benefits of strong employee engagement reach beyond the current Great Resignation issue as well. An engaged workforce actually drives greater customer satisfaction. The link between engagement and other business outcomes has been shown time and time again to have a direct impact on the bottom line. An overwhelming number of studies have shown engagement is ultimately good for business. According to a study by Gallup, a highly engaged workforce leads to 21% higher profitability and 20% higher sales.

There is also strong evidence of correlations between high levels of engagement and high levels of innovation. One study found that 59% of engaged employees say their job brings out the most creative and best ideas and this compares to only three percent of disengaged employees saying the same thing.

But most topical right now is retention or turnover and engagement is key in terms of employee retention. Highly engaged companies have turnover rates that are between 25% and 59%, lower than their less-engaged peers. Almost 75% of disengaged employees are actively looking for a new job.

Create a place they love

In light of concepts such as the Great Resignation and what we’ve also seen called the turnover tsunami, engagement can be a really important protective factor to retain those employees that really drive business success.

We are all human and exist outside of our workplace, so consider how you can turn someone’s 40-hour work week into something special for them. This will be the first step towards building a more human and ultimately more productive and resilient workplace.

Happy recruiting!

Sybille Goss

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash