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A Guide to Improving Employee Engagement

Just as retaining customers is generally easier than winning new ones, so retaining employees is generally easier than bringing in new ones. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to improving employee engagement.

Look and listen, then talk

As the old saying goes, you have two eyes, two ears and one mouth, heed that order of priorities. If you want to engage your employees, you need to know what matters to them. That means you need to look at and listen to what goes on at all levels of your business. You then need to communicate effectively with your employees so that they know you’re paying attention.

Having effective mechanisms for feedback and recognition is vital for employee engagement. The management chain is usually the best way to deliver regular feedback and recognition for small achievements. This does, however, mean that managers need to have the time to organize person and team meetings.

Ideally, there should also be a way of giving special recognition to special achievements. This could be anything from a mention in the company newsletter to an awards ceremony. Whatever method you choose, you should make it special rather than just blasting out an all-company email.

Recruit the right employees

Engagement happens when management and employees are united in vision, purpose and values. All of these need to be communicated at the recruitment stage to ensure that candidates are on board with them. New hires need to be closely monitored to ensure that they have genuinely grasped what these mean in practice.

Getting this right from the start can slow down the recruitment process, in some cases significantly. Overall, however, it can save a great deal of time, money and frustration. In particular, it can vastly reduce employee turnover.

Lead by example

If you’re hiring employees who buy into your vision, purpose and values, then you need to demonstrate clearly that you buy into them yourself. Most employees will quickly notice if their managers are genuinely walking the walk or if they are just talking the talk. If they conclude that it’s the latter, they’re likely to become very disillusioned very quickly. 

Remember the practicalities

Even if employees absolutely love your company, they’re unlikely to stay in it for long unless they feel empowered to do their jobs. Your ability to empower employees will generally depend on your ability to manage three key areas. These are:

  • Training (initial and ongoing)

  • Business processes

  • Work tools

In most companies, all of these areas need to be seen as being in a process of continuous improvement. This improvement should usually be driven by employee feedback. Even when initiatives start with management, they should be developed in collaboration with employees rather than just imposed upon them.

Offer meaningful benefits

The more diverse your workforce is, the harder it can become to offer benefits that please everyone. But there are three benefits that usually do tick all the boxes for all employees.  These are flexibility, opportunities for personal development/training and health-related benefits.

For clarity, flexibility does not have to mean the ability to work remotely although it may be a part of a broader flexible-working policy. It simply means looking at what parts of the job have strict requirements and where there is room for negotiation in some regard. This could be time, place or both (or something else).

Promote employee interaction

One of the objections to fully remote working is that it limits the scope for spontaneous employee interaction. This isn’t necessarily true and companies shouldn’t bank their long-term futures on interactions that might or might not happen spontaneously.

It can, however, be very beneficial for companies to organize social events to encourage employees to interact. Many events work perfectly well on a remote or hybrid basis. In fact, attendance may even increase since employees will find it easier to fit them around their various other commitments.

How we can help

If you’re interested in finding out more about how to improve employee engagement, then get in touch with our financial experts. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

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