This article describes the benefits of an engaged workforce and how a business can engage its employees. The subject matter has been thoroughly researched and includes some recommended hyperlinks to high-quality sources.
It might sound cliché, but organizations rely on their workforce’s drive, energy, and commitment. Yet, today, poor employee engagement continues to be an issue that companies both big and small are failing to address. For example, one global Gallup study found that only 20% of adults in full-time work feel engaged at work.
This lack of engagement isn’t just depressing from an employee’s point of view, but it also costs businesses severely.
Lower employee engagement means higher turnover, lower productivity, higher absenteeism, and less profit.
Meanwhile, the benefits of an engaged workforce are clear:
– Engaged employees are 17% more productive
– Engaged employees are less stressed and in better health
– Engaged teams produce 21% more profit
– Engaged workplaces see over 40% fewer absences 
Where other companies fail to engage their workforce, there lies a great opportunity for you to gain the competitive edge by engaging yours. So, let’s look at four different ways to encourage employee engagement in your workplace.
Table of Contents
1. Encourage Interaction and Act-on Feedback
Encouraging employee feedback isn’t about ticking a box once every mid-year review. Instead, it’s about creating an environment that promotes and respects feedback through formal and informal channels.
Make sure you don’t seem to be threatened by your employee feedback in any way.
One study found that around 34% of employees are afraid to speak their minds within their workplace for fear of reprisal . Therefore, your company must ensure that each staff member feels safe communicating their honest opinions. Training managers to listen, providing anonymity and confidentiality, and showing openness to criticism are all ways to achieve this.
However, none of this will do your company any good if you don’t act on said feedback. Nothing will frustrate and disengage an employee more than the feeling of being ignored. You don’t have to, nor should you, implement every suggestion your employees make. But, you and your management should respond to employee views and give real consideration to their ideas and suggestions.
2. Recognize Good Work
There are many ways to show recognition for a job well done, and most cost nothing but a simple thank you. Yet many employers don’t bother to give credit where credit is due or are inept at doing so.
When you think of recognition, your mind might jump to the employee of the month programs, work incentives, or other reward schemes. But unfortunately, the truth is that these are outdated, ineffective, and mistake the concept of recognition for reward.
Instead, try the following:
– Public ‘shout outs’ via email, newsletters, or announcements at meetings
– Treat your employee (or employees) to lunch
– Recognize employee or team success via social media posts
– Build a sense of company pride by publicly celebrating organizational success
– Encourage peer-to-peer recognition
– A simple and authentic thank you
3. Emphasize Your Purpose
Let’s be clear about one thing: employees don’t care about making you profits.
Hopefully, that wasn’t too hard for you to accept
An inspired workforce needs an inspiring mission that a company’s senior leaders already live and breathe. First, though, you’ll need to ask yourself what your company’s purpose is. Is it easily defined, and is it still relevant? And again, making a profit is not a mission statement.
A clear company-wide goal gives everyone something ‘bigger’ to work towards that goes beyond their daily tasks. Without it, your employees may feel they are simply grinding through each day aimlessly.
4. Invest In Well-being
We’ve already seen how engagement and wellness are closely linked. And, just as engagement can improve wellbeing, the opposite is true as well.
Encouraging health awareness and promoting good exercise and diet are reasonable first steps. But, you’ll also want to take a close look at your workplace culture. For example, do employees feel obliged to work longer hours to show commitment? Do people come into work ill when they should be resting? Are employees with health conditions resented for their absences by peers?
Be sure to train managers to keep an eye on employee wellbeing and intervene when you feel obliged.
Developing an engaged workforce takes time, effort, and authenticity to create an environment where employees feel actively involved and inspired by their work. But the benefits of inspired and involved employees are worth the effort and will give your company an edge over most of its competitors.