Circle White
Back to news

Employee Engagement - How can you improve your teams?

What is employee engagement and how can it work for you?
Banner Image

First came nap pods, then came Pawternity leave. Now we have well and truly entered the age of Employee Engagement.

What is Employee Engagement?

If you use LinkedIn as a yardstick for the state of office politics, it seems that the engagement & retention of staff is high on the agenda of managers across the industry. Everyone’s least favourite LinkedIn users Oleg & Bridgette steal content on the matter daily. So you know it must be important.

But if you are behind the curve on this one then we are here to fill in some of the blanks. If you know your stuff then feel free to skip ahead to the next section.

We've traced employee engagement back almost 30 years to William Kahn’s Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work. In the study, William calls it Personnel Engagement and defines it as:

“The harnessing of organisation members' selves to their work roles. In engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during role performances.”

William Kahn

This comes down the psychological connection a person has with their work. Going far beyond the financial incentives they receive for doing a good job. Someone in a well-paid job can still resent the work they do or the company they work for. In fact, we would argue that those doing so are contributing to the problem of poor employee engagement becoming a norm. If somebody sticks to the status quo, despite their apathy to the business, it reduces the impact of those who decide to act. Making them look like a bad apple, rather than forcing the business to look internally at the wider problem they have.

As a recruitment agency, you can imagine we would encourage people to leave roles they don’t love. And we’re not going to lie, we do.

But that’s only because we are confident that we know of a role that will improve the candidate’s quality of life.
So now we know the definition, “how can we measure it?” we hear you ask.
Well, minds smarter than ours have developed the 4 enablers of success in employee engagement. They designed factors similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Though these Enablers work hand in hand and are not mutually exclusive, as Maslow’s model is.

4 Enablers of Success

There are several versions of this model. But, we found Engage for Success' ticking the right boxes for engagement in the workplace.

Strategic Narrative - This comes from the leadership team of a business; the structure of the culture and what employees can & can’t expect from the organisation.
Important because everybody loves boundaries in life. Once you have your expectations set from your employers, you can focus on your role. Knowing that the conditions of the workplace have been set in stone.
Uncertainty in the workplace can be a very disruptive force - and not the good type of disruptive - the kind where your mind wanders onto matters that aren’t productive to your role.

Engaging Managers - Well-engaged teams are generally led by well-mannered managers that consider the wants & needs of their staff. Engaging managers will make employees feel a part of the team. Setting clear objectives both individually and as a collective, as well as showing how someone’s work contributes to the wider organisation’s success.

Employee Voice - Giving employees a platform for them to speak their mind is critical in the progress of a business. Considering the views of those at all levels of the organisation is central to solving internal issues. Empathy is one of the more underrated skills in vertical communication in the hierarchy, on both sides of the argument. The leadership team should understand the struggles of the ‘shop floor’ employees and vice versa.

Engage for Success note this as the cheapest smoke alarm a business can install. It is an early warning system for issues that have the potential to snowball. Opening dialogue without prejudice can highlight problems staff are having when implementing processes. Allowing tweaks for improvements before a real problem occurs.

Organisational Integrity - The ‘say-do’ gap; the integrity of an organisation lies within its ability to action changes promised to employees. It can be very easy to promise the world to an employee that has just handed in their resignation. Ensure you keep these promises to avoid setting an unwanted precedent.

Actions will always speak louder than words. Following up on promises made is the most effective way to build a relationship of trust.
Background 2 Image

Keep up to date

Sign up to our newsletter to get our latest news and job alerts.