Employee disengagement is a major issue among the UK workforce. Disengaged employees are more likely to overlook safety measures, are more likely to take sick days, and are more likely to leave without notice. This puts a lot of pressure on HR departments, who constantly have to onboard new employees; new employees who are naturally less able due to their lack of experience.
Inexperienced staff, in turn, puts pressure on management, who themselves have to stay engaged to make sure that objectives are met. However, most employees have a core set of values and needs that when fulfilled can increase morale, engagement, and productivity. The challenge is understanding how to fulfil them without hindering workflow or spending on measures that are inefficient.
Here are some effective methods to improve morale and engagement in the workplace.
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Invest in Learning and Development
The face of the UK workforce is fast-changing, and this new set of workers places a lot of importance on development. As a matter of fact, 90% of all millennial workers surveyed in a recent study said that development was very important to them in a job. It was also found that 40% of those who didn’t receive adequate learning and development opportunities left their positions within 5 years.
So, investing in L&D is not only a matter of helping them develop new skills that will allow keeping providing value to your company, but is also essential if you want to increase retention rates, and attract new candidates as well. Candidates will now expect to have these kinds of opportunities at their disposal, and not having any will make you uncompetitive in a context where the employee pool is constantly shrinking due to demographic pressure.
This report from findcourses.co.uk highlights the main challenges businesses have to face when implementing an L&D strategy and includes clear solutions. The report from findcourses.co.uk also teaches organizations how to quantify results and optimize their strategy in order to gain a competitive advantage. You’ll also have the chance to hear case studies from some of the country’s biggest employers like Sodexo and Homeserve, and take a look at some of their initiatives as well as the budgets and results they’ve gotten by implementing a sound L&D strategy within their organization.
Adopt an Agile Workforce and Mindset
The future is Agile, and this means that you’ll have to start considering moving towards a more Agile workplace and using Agile project management methodologies if you want to remain competitive.
Dedicated work areas are becoming a thing of the past, and hot desks are becoming more of the norm. Hot desking tools allow employees to reserve their own workspace from available areas instead of working from the same desk all the time. Tools like interactive Kanban boards allow them to get prepared on tasks before they start their shift, see work in progress, and report back to higher-ups without the need of face to face contact or daily meetings. It also facilitates remote work.
Also, consider if you could give your employees more flexibility as far as schedules go. Some might be wary of people not meeting objectives, but there is growing evidence that flexibility both in schedules and work settings can have beneficial effects on productivity.
In one particular study from Stanford University which was conducted on a group of 16,000 Chinese factory workers, it was found that those who were given a flexible schedule were able to increase their output by 13%. This puts a hole through the theory of the 9 to 5 and could eventually become the norm in the next coming years. So, you should be prepared to face this new reality as more and more employees will also come to expect it from their future employer.
Engage in Team Volunteering
Another great way to encourage engagement and building team spirit is to consider engaging in team volunteering activities. This will not only give your employees a chance to connect with the community, but team members will be able to build bonds with other workers over the same causes.
Management will also be able to show its human side and build similar bonds. Sporting events for the charity are a great way for employees to build bonds outside of the work settings and discover traits they had in common.
Some employees just need competition to feel motivated, and competition is part of the human spirit. You can harness this to boost not only engagement but productivity as well. However, you have to be careful not to single out employees, as it will actually have the opposite effect on those who fall behind.
The secret is to make competition team-oriented instead of an individual. This way, you’ll be able to encourage teamwork and make sure that some specific workers don’t feel singled out. Also, make sure that the rewards are tangible. You could have a competition between your day and evening teams, or weekend teams for instance. This will foster friendly competition between employees while pushing them to work to their full potential.
Ask for Feedback
Another simple thing you can do is make sure that you have an open feedback policy. In many cases, feedback only goes one way. But by allowing your employees to offer feedback, including anonymously, you’ll make them feel like their opinion truly matters to you. You also, however, have to make sure that you act on some of that feedback so they don’t feel like it’s falling on deaf ears.
The more employees get to see themselves and management in out of office settings, the more they’ll have the chance to build genuine connections. Showing your human side will allow you to have a more open relationship with them, and they’ll have the chance to see who you really are. This could also facilitate dialogue between different parties and help resolve certain lingering issues.
Make Sure Goals Are Very Clear
All your employees have clear objectives they need to reach. But it’s very common for employees to get lost about their role within the organization. This is why clarifying responsibilities and goals is essential if you want to increase engagement.
Employees can also feel mentally exhausted from time to time from the burden of their responsibilities. In some cases, it might be because they’re lacking support or leadership. Or they don’t feel like they’re competent enough.
You should train leaders to become better coaches and identify when employees seem to be lacking confidence in their abilities, or when their burden is just too much for them. Management should make it clear that they’re there to help no matter what the issue is. You should also make resources available to them and make it known that they will have your support. Never forget the human component, and try to work on providing resources on how to balance work and life better. Make sure that you make the work environment conducive to a healthy work/life balance as well.
Improving engagement is all about making employees feel like part of the whole while respecting their individuality. It’s also about making sure that they’re feeling fulfilled and that they know that their work is truly making a difference.
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