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Employee engagement – are we doing all we can?

By guest blogger Victoria Zuza.

Anyone who has ever dealt with employee engagement programmes can tell you how challenging, time-consuming and costly it can sometimes be to implement them. In reality, there is no magic formula. It takes knowing your team to be able to work out what makes them tick and develop an engagement programme that will – well – engage. But having some sort of structured plan will pay off. Neglecting employees’ happiness can prove harmful not only to your company’s culture, but also to your organisation’s productivity and performance.


According to research back in 2003, a startling 80% of British workers were not truly committed to their work. A quarter of these were dissatisfied and ’actively disengaged’, thus putting no passion into their work (Flade, 2003). As reported by the Institute of Employment Studies, organisations with the highest percentage of engaged employees increased their operating income by 19% and their earnings per share by 28% year‐to‐year. Blessing White (2008) reported that 85% of engaged employees plan on sticking around compared to 27% of disengaged employees. Not surprising really.


So, are we doing all we can to keep employees engaged?


Don’t forget the basics…


  1. Feedback and personal growth


Keep challenging with clear targets, celebrate achievements and provide valuable feedback regularly. We all want to be on top of Maslow’s pyramid after all. Schedule in regular catch ups with direct reports to evaluate their work, projects, development and aspirations. Don’t let the daily grind push these important sessions out the diary. Simply put – be present and be engaged.


  1. A healthy mind and a healthy body


Organisations are acknowledging more and more the link between engagement and the health and wellbeing of staff. CIPD research published in December 2012, Managing for sustainable employee engagement: developing a behavioural framework, concluded that in order to get the best out of people, managers should know how to prevent stress. We should all be thinking of ways to promote a healthy outlook. Work for a small organisation? Taking a proactive stance on engagement and wellbeing need not be confined to larger organisations. When technology company Postcode Anywhere, for example, relocated from the outskirts of a town into a city centre, corporate membership at a local gym was introduced and kayaks were bought for employees to use at lunch and after work. The firm also offered its employees free breakfast and unlimited fruit. According to CIPD research, sickness absence averaged 7.6 days per employee last year. At Postcode Anywhere, a mere 1.5 days per employee were lost to sickness – a fifth of the national average.


  1. Making the world better together


It is in the nature of many individuals to want to make the world a better place, to accomplish something meaningful. Use this innate empathy to make your team identify with the values of your organisation. As an example, Sony Electronics launched a green workplace certification whereby it encouraged employees to engage in diverse in-house green actions: from eliminating in-office dustbins to turning on their energy saving settings on computers. As a result, the company brought the team closer together and made an average saving per participant of $85, with an investment of less than $20. Smart way to bolster the company culture and make some profit!


  1. Team building


A time and a place is all you need. Arrange an opportunity for your team to get to know each other and build trust through communication outside the office. This could be a simple trip to a pub or local restaurant, quick team building exercise like the ones shown here or you could take the time to plan in a day / long weekend. Once employees feel more attached to the organisation and have a friendly relation with managers and coworkers, it indirectly makes them feel more appreciated.


Some modern tools to ponder…


We’re all time-poor…need some help in implementing an employee engagement programme?


Perkbox remunerates employees for their hard work and achievement. Free mobile phone insurance, special rate cinema tickets, free coffee, shopping discounts, etc. are some of the small ways to thank your team for their dedication and make them feel valued. Other managerial spoils may include a bottle of champagne, concert or ‘sky diving’ tickets. Companies like Le Pain Quotidien, Domino’s Pizza and Holland and Barrett already are happy users of the service!


ThanksBox is another online offering that aims at rewarding teams, monitoring how initiatives are taking effect in real time and understanding motivations behind your employee’s behaviour. Don’t let the ‘thanks’ get lost in the inbox. By turning to big data, you can customize your thank-you to each worker and transform it into digital rewards.


Make sure your team feels valued and engaged. It is them who drive your organisation after all!

What tips / learnings do you have? Please do share and comment below…

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