Encouraging employee engagement is good for business

Gemma O'Connor - Head of Service

January 24 2023

First published: January 24th 2023
Last updated: January 24th 2023

What do employees want?

Despite warnings about the economy, the jobs market remains tight and employers continue to focus on retaining and attracting key staff as the new year gets underway.

A central aspect of employee retention is finding out what employees want and how engaged they are in their work. If you have no idea what employees like or dislike about their work, you could find yourself providing benefits or working conditions that don’t satisfy your staff. And unsatisfied employees won’t stay with your business.

So, if you’re wondering what your employees really think about their roles, anonymous surveys and regular catch ups can be useful tools in your retention toolbox.

Essentially, if you know what your employees want, you’ll be in a better place to keep them engaged in their work and build a productive, long-term employment relationship.   

Employee engagement: why it’s important

Businesses with high employee engagement tend to produce better results. Research has found that companies with high levels of employee engagement have higher revenues, productivity and profits as well as lower absenteeism, staff turnover and health and safety incidents.  

How often should you survey staff?

Recent data suggests that more regular and lighter surveys are preferable to an annual in-depth survey. The world moves quickly in the digital age and an annual survey will likely be too long and too wide-ranging to be of real benefit.   

Short, intermittent surveys should ask fewer questions that concentrate on current challenges both within your business and your industry.

Provided this feedback is reviewed promptly and acted upon, these regular surveys can be a great way for employees to see that their opinion is valued and where feasible, their feedback will be acted upon.

Tell them what they told you

Publishing survey results is a really positive step towards boosting engagement. It’s a good idea to have teams gather with their manager or leader to discuss the results rather than to simply publish them in an email.

This approach ensures transparency and shows that the survey exercise is a two-way process.

It also leads to the next step which is showing that your business will respond to the feedback.

Take action in response to the feedback

You should be able to divide your responses to the feedback into short-term and longer-term actions that your business can take.

If any immediate changes can be made, this will demonstrate that you are prepared to take feedback on board and give you some breathing room to consider how best to implement any longer-term responses.

If your employees have made requests that are simply not feasible, explain your reasoning and why it’s simply not possible for your business to operate four-day week or compressed hours or whatever the employees would like to see.

A full and frank explanation will be appreciated by staff. If alternatives to the employee suggestions exist, these should be communicated to your workforce for their consideration.

Keep your door open

The world of work has transformed in the last number of years.

For one, remote work looks like it is here to stay in one form or another. The Government is driving on with its remote first strategy which could make it harder for employers to resist hybrid or remote working arrangements.

All recent surveys seem to indicate that staff want to continue working from home at least for part of their working week. If you’re an employer, it’s important to know what way the wind is blowing.

So, it’s a good idea to keep your door open and to listen to your employees. Helping your staff work in a way that suits them will most likely help your business. Happier employees are better performers, and more willing to stay for the long haul.

Another year means another opportunity for your business to grow. And to grow, now more than ever, employers need to check in with staff, listen, be adaptable, and respond to feedback. Whether it’s a yes to a proposed change or a no, we can’t do this, engaging with staff on issues is the best way to develop a productive and long-lasting employment relationship.

Need help improving employee engagement?

Need help with employee engagement or other aspects of employee relations? For advice or help on these topics or any HR issue affecting your business, speak to an expert today on 1800 719 216.

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