The ongoing talent shortage is making news in many regions around the world. For businesses trying to secure the talent required to meet current and upcoming production needs, this labour crisis is more than just one of many current trends, headlines or buzzwords. It’s affecting the profitability and success of these organisations.
If your company has concerns about its current or future ability to secure and retain talent, now is the time to take action. One effective tool known to drive better hiring results, boost retention and increase productivity is employee engagement.
Fortunately, there are numerous actions your company can take today to improve employee engagement in the workplace. This blog discusses several strategies to increase employee engagement
develop strong leaders
For employee engagement to flourish in the workplace, you must have strong leaders in place. Managers, in particular, typically have daily contact with workers, often giving them the ability to set the tone for engagement in the workplace or prevent it from taking hold. Having fully engaged managers in place can go a long way in building a culture of engagement in the workplace.
The first step to developing strong leaders is to ensure you’re putting the right workers in these management positions. Create a strategy for identifying which current workers and potential candidates have the right leadership skills, such as communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills as well as social aptitudes, including empathy and emotional intelligence.
Once the right managers are in place, it’s equally important to offer leadership onboarding and training, especially related to engagement in the workplace. For example, your managers should learn communication skills and how to identify workers who are suitable for promotions. Consider providing regular tips for how managers can handle employee feedback and recognition.
Your leaders should also have effective tools in place to streamline the workforce management process, such as Employee Relationship Management software that allows managers to offer feedback and recognition quickly and efficiently. Even scheduling software that allows employees to view their own data from mobile devices can help managers stay connected and build engagement with their teams.
improve communication and transparency
Trust between employees and employers is another necessary component of employee engagement. Employees want to know that the company stands by what it says and that it’s open and transparent with them. They also want to know that their employers trust them to get work done without the need for micromanagement.
As an employer, the first thing you must understand is that trust takes time. You won’t build trust with your workers overnight. You can, however, start by developing open and transparent communication with your team. This communication is even more important in hybrid or remote work environments and for flexible or seasonal workers who aren’t at the workplace every day.
Another issue with engagement and non-traditional workers is a sense of belonging — or lack of. All too often, employees working from home and flexible workers, who might not be at the workplace every day, struggle to feel this sense of belonging. Studies show that just one infraction of exclusion in the workplace can cause an immediate 25% reduction in individual productivity levels. It’s crucial for managers to offer fair and equal communication and feedback throughout their teams or risk a decline in trust and a decrease in employee engagement.
Remember that communication goes both ways. Managers must also practice active listening by letting their teams share concerns and suggestions. The good news is that studies show that trust between employees and employers can increase productivity by 50% and decrease workplace burnout by 40%. When you partner with Randstad through our In-house Services, your onsite consultant serves as a liaison between your management team and flexible workers to ensure frequent communication and employee engagement take a top priority.
set core company values
Our research shows that employees want to work for companies that have missions that align with their own personal values. While it’s impossible to create a mission statement that aligns with every worker’s core values, there are common social, environmental and governance issues facing the world today that a majority of your employees may stand behind.
For example, our 2023 Randstad Workmonitor shows that 41% of workers surveyed wouldn’t take a job with a company that isn’t proactively taking steps to improve diversity and equity in the workplace. Other current issues, such as climate change and social justice, are also important to many of today’s workers.
Employees also want to make a difference in the world. In fact, 34% of workers said that they would take a pay reduction for the chance to take a position that positively impacts the world. Even if your company can’t offer these types of positions, there are steps you can take to encourage employee involvement. For instance, you can hold fundraisers for various organisations or consider allowing workers to spend an hour a month of paid time volunteering at a local charity. At Randstad, we are strongly committed to maintaining equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging in the workplace. We keep this commitment by making meaningful donations, allowing our workers to volunteer during work hours and upholding the standards of the UN Global Compact.
build a culture of recognition
Some experts believe that employee recognition is the secret component of employee engagement. There’s no doubt about it — employees want to be acknowledged for a job well done, and the right type of recognition can have a significant impact on engagement in the workplace.
But is employee recognition a secret? The truth is that employee recognition has been around for decades. Despite the numerous benefits that recognition has to offer, such as salary raises or a bonus, studies show that 81% of business leaders plainly state that employee recognition is not a priority. This probably explains why less than one-quarter of the workforce believes they receive a fair amount of recognition.
These numbers may also explain why worker engagement rates are so low. With so few companies prioritising employee recognition, your company can achieve a competitive edge by developing a strong and effective recognition program.
Fortunately, there are numerous employee engagement tools and platforms that can make offering and receiving recognition quick and easy, such as Nectar, Slack and Blueboard. Consider investing in these tools so your managers and other leaders within the company can provide instant recognition on a consistent basis. These platforms also make it easy for workers to view and track their recognition and take pride in their work.
It’s vital to create a recognition strategy that is fair, unbiased, transparent and consistent. It’s equally important that recognition in the workplace encompasses workers from all levels within the company and that it offers a way for both management-to-employee and peer-to-peer recognition.
invest in training and development
Our research shows that employee training and career development opportunities are extremely important to today’s workers. Fortunately, the majority of these workers state that they would rather obtain training to grow in their current positions than seek a new career outside of the company. This factor makes training and development programs a good investment for employers and employees.
These programs can help employees feel that they are valued and appreciated in the workplace, which can improve employee engagement. Plus, reskilling and upskilling programs can also help your company close the skills gap. Start by conducting a skills assessment to determine what skills the company needs — both now and in the future. This step will help you identify what training options are best for your company and your workers.
While it’s ok to have set requirements that must be met first, these training opportunities should be available to all employees. For example, an employee may have to work for the company for a set timeframe before being eligible for some training programs or be at a set level within the company for specific training options.
When it comes to career development and advancement, it’s important that it's fair, transparent and unbiased. Be sure to create a system for identifying workers with growth potential and train managers and supervisors to encourage employees to take advantage of these opportunities. You also want to create a process for filling job openings internally and for interested employees to apply for these jobs.
encourage frequent feedback
Most employees want to perform their best at work, especially when employers take a vested interest in their success. Studies show that employees want feedback. They want to know how they’re doing on the job and where they can make improvements. Unlike employee recognition, feedback is about recognising when an employee does a good job as well as helping them grow in areas they are not yet at the desired level or providing support to help them do their job better.
To make feedback part of the workplace culture, you must go beyond annual performance reviews. It’s important to realise that workers don’t just want any type of feedback. They want fast, meaningful feedback that allows them to improve in the workplace. In fact, Gallup’s recent study shows that the vast majority of engaged workers (84%) stated that they received feedback within the previous week.
Consider scheduling regular check-ins to ensure you provide feedback on a consistent basis. You can also invest in valuable tools, such as Leapsome, Lattice and Bonusly, that allow supervisors, managers and other leaders to provide instant feedback and recognition. When you provide meaningful feedback on a consistent basis, your company can realise improvements in engagement, productivity and retention.
maintain a safe and efficient work environment
Workplace safety has always been a major concern for workers, especially those in high-risk positions. However, the recent global pandemic only heightened workers' concerns. For example, in 2021, 68% of workers around the globe stated that they didn’t feel safe in the workplace. While the reduction in COVID cases has helped to alleviate some of these concerns, workers are still prioritising safe working conditions.
Take steps now to address any safety issues your workers have and conduct a full assessment of safety conditions at the workplace. When your employees feel safe at work, they are more open to engagement, which means production rates can improve.
Workers also want access to the tools and equipment necessary to make their workplace more efficient. While most employers try to offer these tools, studies show that there seems to be a disconnect between what employers provide and what employees want. For instance, a recent global study reveals that 90% of company leaders believe that they are providing the digital tools their employees need. However, just over half of the employees surveyed feel the same.
Before introducing any type of new technology into the workforce, be sure to take the time to find out what tools your workers really need to be more productive. Consider conducting pulse surveys or one-on-one interviews to get a clear picture of what your employees need before investing in any new tools and equipment.
create accurate job descriptions
Studies show that one of the biggest reasons new hires quit is because the job description didn’t match the actual duties of the job. While some employers use vague job descriptions so they can adjust the role as needed, this practice could increase turnover rates and decrease engagement. Today’s workers want more clarity regarding their job duties. They want to know exactly what they are responsible for and who they report to at work.
Take the time to evaluate your current job descriptions and add more clarity to these roles where possible. Be sure to gain insights from managers and workers in these roles to get a better understanding of everything the job entails. This step helps improve your hiring efforts and can also increase job satisfaction and workplace engagement.
focus on employee wellness
According to our 2023 Randstad Workmonitor, 58% of global employees said that they wouldn’t accept a job offer if they thought it could impact their ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance. With this high number of workers prioritising a healthy balance between their personal and work responsibilities, it’s not surprising that there is a strong correlation between well-being and engagement. This includes social, physical, emotional and financial well-being.
As an employer, there are several things you can do to promote well-being in the workplace, including:
- offering well-being perks, such as gym memberships
- engaging in frequent employee check-ins
- offering childcare subsidies
- supporting flexible scheduling
- providing additional paid time off days
- offering mental health services, such as telehealth counselling services
- sponsoring on-site programs, including mobile check ups and wellness workshops
Implementing several, or all, of these best practices in the workplace can help your company improve engagement in the workplace and reap its many rewards for instance increased retention and higher production levels.
Download our step-by-step guide for boosting employee engagement in the workplace for more tips and best practices.