01480 379 039

Employee Engagement

In the broadest terms, employee engagement brings together a range of established concepts, including job satisfaction, motivation, work effort, commitment, shared purpose and energy. Engagement relates to a variety of aspects, for example employees having clear line of sight between their job role and the purpose and objectives of the organisation. (See Mission, Vision & Values).

What motivates or demotivates people, and the challenges and opportunities in fostering employee engagement, can be shaped by many factors, including individual differences (for example, personality), organisational culture, management structures and leadership. Employers should be careful not to assume that employees are inherently demotivated and the solution is for management to inspire and lead them in an engaging way. It can equally be the case that employees are naturally motivated and only discouraged by elements such as a lack of support, uncertainty about own skills or frustrating HR systems. To know what the barriers and drivers are, employers should listen to employees and give them effective channels for voice.

Engagement and wellbeing

Employee engagement’s relationship with well-being is a critical issue. Different schools of thought give different perspectives. Views of engagement that emphasise work effort imply there may be a ‘dark side’ - that if we are ‘too engaged’, we may be headed towards stress and burnout. But notions of engagement based on flow and energy focus on employee well-being over the longer term, and the absence of engagement will undermine well-being.

Deal with staff issues quickly and sensitively as bickering and bullying can lead to the loss of good staff. Don’t let disagreements distract focus. Encourage team work and try to provide a sense of belonging. Better levels of well-being will result in lower absence.

How to build an engaged and motivated workforce

A first practical step in fostering employee engagement is to assess – and in large organisations, preferably measure – employee attitudes. In order to achieve this, you must gather employees’ views.

Drivers of employee engagement

To help put the 2009 Macleod Review into action and increase employee engagement in the UK, an industry-led task force and movement (Engage for Success) was set up in 2011 to further understanding and embeds practices in the area. In January 2017, the CIPD became Engage for Success’ prime sponsor.

According to the MacLeod Review, two of the ‘enablers’ are:

  • Leadership that gives a ‘strong strategic narrative about the organisation, where it’s come from and where it’s going’.
  • Line managers who motivate, empower and support their employees

It’s important to remember that people management can get in the way of employee engagement as much as drive it.

Line-manager behaviours for strong engagement

3 Rs! Respect, Reward, Recognition - It’s quite simple - give praise, thanks and show how much you value your people.

Listen to your staff - Encourage participation in decision making. It’s incredibly valuable for staff to feel part of decisions. Plus, involvement will mean they are less likely to resist change. Listening costs nothing, AND you’ll get the input of staff ideas and solutions. 

Trust - Managers who are honest and open (even when the message is negative) are more likely to secure trust and support. Being secretive, keeping information from staff and not delivering on your commitments will fail to fulfil employee’s expectations.

Challenge - Allow your staff freedom and discretion over their work and show confidence in them. Don’t micro-manage as people need control over their work for job satisfaction. Give responsibility where possible; stretching potential is vital.

Support, Encourage and Inspire - Inspirational line managers will make their team want to achieve more, feel confident and great about the work they do.

Generate pride in work - Most staff are strongly driven by the need to feel their work is meaningful. Create a powerful sense of purpose and pride within your team. After all, looking after children is incredibly important.