In this article, I want to discuss the subject of employee engagement. First off, what is employee engagement? I will define it in my own words. Employee engagement refers to the use of approaches and principles that create optimum conditions that inspire and sustain full commitment by employees in a business or organization. This is extremely important for any business, why? Studies have shown that over 20 per cent of businesses fail because of poorly constituted human resources. It is also said that at least 25 per cent of employees quit their jobs before 1 year elapses after they are hired.

The Thrust Of Employee Engagement

When you are dealing with employee engagement there are basically 5 things you want to work on. Firstly, you want to get to a point where all employees are aligned to the business or company’s goals and objectives. Secondly, there is the issue of productivity – you want to prime employees to be productive. As much as you want that you also want to ensure the employees are well catered for i.e. their general state of being at work. Part of how you achieve that is by ensuring the working conditions are suitable and well-structured. The 5th focus is on getting to comprehensively know and understand your employees. These 5 are the reasons why employee engagement is worked on.

How To Create And Enhance Employee Engagement

To achieve the 5 elements I discussed moments ago there are things you, as a business, have to strategically do. Here are some of them:

Let Them Be (To Some Degree)

That is my catchy way of saying; allow them room to express themselves in how they work. For example, allow them to set up their work stations in a way that makes them feel comfortable. Of course, I do appreciate that there are limits to this. Consider a workplace where colours used and setups are central to the brand image of the business. Such scenarios might not allow for flexibility on the part of the employee. However, back-end offices or work stations that are not on the frontline might allow for what I am referring to.

There is so much that can be used to provide employees with room for them to be themselves. You can also allow them some leeway to work according to their own pace just as long they stick to the timelines. Employees do not like to feel trapped and suppressed; they want to feel like they can express themselves at work and through their work.

Include Them In Decision-Making

In most companies or businesses, the top-down approach is common. Employees do not like to just have stuff handed down to them and yet being excluded from discussions that led to that stuff being settled for. You probably might not include them in the actual decision-making (though including them might even be good). The most important thing is to get input from them before any major policy or strategy decisions are taken. You also have to go beyond just getting input but you must actually consider and use it. Employees immensely appreciate knowing they have a voice in how things are done. If they feel that way they are most likely to stay attached to the company or business.

Regularly Arrange Leisure Activities

You can regularly come up with outings for your employees for the sole purpose of having fun. As much as the employees will enjoy and have fun but several things will be achieved through that. One of those things is teambuilding which will translate into more teamwork and productivity in the workplace. They will also feel attached to the business or company. Amazingly an employee might never contemplate leaving simply because of such leisure activities. You do not even need to break your back to get money to do these things. You can hold things like luncheons, braais, get together events, movie nights or birthday celebrations – the list is endless.

Training And Development

Invest in training and developing your employees. I know most employers hesitate to do this because they feel employees might leave afterwards. Well, there is always that risk but you must train and develop your employees. Of course, the business will benefit from having a properly skilled workforce but there is also something it does. Surveys have shown that businesses or companies that invest in the training and development of their employees enjoy little to no employee turnover. Employees tend to stay because they feel indebted plus they anticipate more to come from their employer. Bear in mind that the training and development of employees are not always as expensive as most think.

Appreciate And Recognise

Most employers are notorious for only speaking out when employees have erred on something. Seldom do they ever appreciate employees for a job well done? Being appreciated is tried and tested as a way for one to be motivated to do more and even better. Thus entrepreneurs must appreciate their employees – this must be a regular exercise; it should be the norm. They should also go beyond and get to a point where they give out special tokens or awards to employees for doing great work. The performance will be enhanced and the likelihood of employees staying will be boosted significantly.

For all these things to work there is something, you must regularly do. Always actively seek to find out how employees feel about the business or company. Endeavour to find out if they have any grievances, suggestions, recommendations, and so forth. Go beyond just the workplace; find out how they are doing outside work i.e. their lives in general. Empathy is one of the most overlooked but pertinent attributes that employers must have towards their employees. Some employees might be having personal challenges and it will be great to genuinely seek to help them where possible. If you do these things you will enjoy exceptional employee engagement as a business.