Your people are your most valuable asset. It’s the people behind your brand that have been working in extraordinary circumstances over the past six months to ensure business continuity.
It’s the people behind the scenes and serving on the frontline that are delivering your customer experience. It’s been tough. Everything has been disrupted. Workers have had to adjust to major changes to the daily routine and enforced home working. Some have faced the uncertainty of being furloughed, looming redundancies and pay cuts. Restoring any lost employee engagement has been low on the priority list.
For many employees worry, stress and poor mental health has replaced happiness, satisfaction and well-being. This is all impacting their sense of purpose, their connection to their organisation’s purpose, goals and core values, their understanding of their role in the business and what’s expected of them.
These new challenges since the Covid-19 outbreak mean that companies will have to think differently about how they engage. Before we explore how your business can do this, let’s quickly define what we mean by employee engagement.
What is employee engagement?
Here is a really helpful definition from Engagement for Success: ‘Employee engagement is a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members to give their best each day, committed to their organisations goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being’.
To thrive employees need a positive vision. They feel part of a team whereby everybody is clear about what they are striving to achieve. They feel empowered and have a strong sense of autonomy. Regular feedback, check-ins and training helps them progress, learn new skills and grow.
What does the route to successfully restoring employee engagement look like?
By unpacking this definition and understanding the key principles it’s quick to see why businesses will need to restore employee engagement to some degree as they map their path to recovery. Most companies recognise that engaged employees mean happier customers (and you know the rest). What’s not always clear is what the route to success looks like. So we thought it would be helpful to share 3 ways to give your employees a renewed sense of purpose, strengthen positive connections with their work and make them feel appreciated and valued.
#1 Review your business purpose, goals and values
As we mentioned earlier, employee engagement is about finding ways to drive their commitment to your business. So the big questions now are: has your purpose, goals and values changed since the pandemic broke? What are the priorities as your business adjusts to the new normal? Renewed strategic vision will require leadership from the top down. Good leaders are the ones that are clear purpose, goals and values and how individual team members each have a role to play in success.
#2 Start with a conversation
Improved communication was one of the positives to come out of the past six months. This will need to continue. Making sure your employees are heard is a crucial step towards sustaining positive engagement. Communication and increased levels of leadership and managerial empathy can go a long way in ensuring that your staff feel heard, supported and engaged.
Good communication gives you an awareness of where your employees are at holistically. Engaged employees feel energised. So you’ll need to listen to better understand how they feel physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Does your business need to rethink how your employee benefits plan can help re-energise and better support your teams’ health and well-being?
Open communication will also help you understand whether your employees feel that are empowered to do their job and they have the tools they need. It’s also important in understanding whether your team feels valued, appreciated, able to assert their own autonomy and part of decision making.
#3 Invest in reward and recognition
Rewarding and recognising your employees’ contribution doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Encouragement with a word of thanks, peer recognition, a lifestyle reward or an ad-hoc perk can go a long way.
With employee training on hold for much of the past six months, investing in your employees’ personal development and training will be crucial. It not only equips your team with any new skills and knowledge they need to do the day job. Training also helps employees better understand how their role is important in delivering the goals and core values that underwrite your plan for restoring employee engagement.
If you are looking at how employee benefits can help drive your employee engagement strategy, we’re here if you need our help.