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Employee Engagement –  What it Really Means and How to Manage it on a Budget

Employee Engagement – What it Really Means and How to Manage it on a Budget

Employee engagement. Everyone wants it, but what does it actually mean? And how do you create it if you don’t have a heap of money to throw at any engagement challenges? We answer all these questions and more in our latest blog.

One Term, Many Views

Look up the term “employee engagement” and you’ll find lots of different definitions.

At Crosse HR, we believe employee engagement is a state of being that’s reflected in higher levels of employee motivation and job satisfaction. This results in an increased commitment to an individual’s role and the organisation. And discretionary effort over and above that which people would normally give to their role.

A wide range of research has shown that higher levels of engagement result in motivated workforces, improved talent retention, reduced absenteeism, enhanced employee wellbeing and, ultimately, a better bottom line.

No wonder businesses are keen to ensure high levels of engagement amongst their workforces.

However, most organisations have no formal engagement strategy in place and two-thirds of employees are disengaged.

So how can you get ahead of your competitors, do what’s right by your people and achieve employee engagement, even on a small budget?

Low-Cost Employee Engagement Solutions

Ask and You’ll Receive

Employee engagement initiatives need to be well, engaging. Research often identifies issues like poor management or a disconnect with the organisation’s mission, vision and values as drivers of poor engagement. However, before you invest time in engagement activities, it’s worth understanding your organisation’s specific issues so you can deliver focussed solutions.

For genuine staff insight, try gathering employee feedback via surveys or focus groups. It can pay to hire someone in from outside your organisation to carry out the research to ensure you get completely honest responses.

Not got the capacity or budget to carry out a survey or hold a focus group? Our article on the different demographics in your workforce and their needs gives great insight into what each age group values.

Communicate What’s on Offer

If your people don’t feel well rewarded for their work, the chances are they won’t give their best effort. Put this right by helping your staff understand what’s in it for them with total reward communications.

Comms can explain any bonus schemes, demonstrate the value of your pension contributions or show staff the benefits and discounts they’re entitled to. It’s worth asking your benefit providers to help you get the word out with branded posters for example. This kind of support is usually free and helps your staff understand what’s in it for them.  

Words Are Valuable and Cost Little

Communication – lack of it or not the right sort – is often a major employee complaint. And it can be really damaging to employee engagement.

Businesses often focus on what they want to tell employees rather than what employees want to hear. So taking the time to understand which communications your employees want will pay dividends. Particularly if you create opportunities for two-way communications.

Allow your people to have their say with engagement or pulse surveys and other opportunities to feedback directly to leaders. This will allow employees to express their views while giving you the opportunity to find out what’s irritating them so you can take action.

Investing in this virtuous feedback loop will ensure your organisation continues to improve taking employee engagement to new highs.  

Create a Culture That Works For Everyone

Modern employees want to work with their employers not for them. Which means taking a collaborative, partnership approach to working relationships.

What does this look like in reality? You could:

  • Make your mission, vision and values clear and give broad direction that’s aligned to them rather than micro-managing your staff
  • Show people that you trust them by treating them like adults, for example allowing flexible working and enabling people to work from locations other than the office
  • Give employees a hand in their own job design and objective-setting, helping them play to their strengths
  • Facilitate whole person growth by funding personal and career development activities

Recognise Your People

Those two little words – thank you – are more important than many managers realise. Not hearing them enough is one of the main reasons people leave their employer.

Doing the basics, like taking your team out for a drink after work or paying for lunch can go a long way to saying thank you. If your recognition budget is zero, you could award an employee of the month certificate, create a wall of amazing customer feedback or give top performers an afternoon off.

Driving employee engagement is every business leader’s responsibility. Changing your business can’t all fall on one person’s shoulders, so ensure your managers are brought into any changes to ensure their success.

If employee engagement is dragging your business results down, work with Crosse HR to diagnose your issues and prescribe a range of effective solutions. Whatever your budget, get in touch on 0330 555 1139 or at hello@crossehr.co.uk.

 

Breaking up is hard to do.

Breaking up is hard to do.

Everyone of us has issued dismissals or personally left a job, many of us many times, it’s a fact of life if you run or own a business, people will come and people will go. Some will leave with your blessing and leave well, some will be ‘encouraged’ by you to go and others will bawl you out/or you them in a blaze of glory, recriminations and occasionally vandalism.

The good leavers

They are a good sort, usually good employees, who just want to move on for whatever reason, they feel bad but its the right thing to do. They come in anxious and nervous, some cry and tell you they are leaving, thank you for your help, they want to work their notice and want to leave as friends.

What should you do?

Shake their hand, wish them well and start organising the leaving party. On a practical note, agree a last working day, agree whether or not they wish to work right up to their last day or take any leave due to them. Also agree a handover to their successor and/or whether you will involve them in recruiting a successor. Agree with them how they should tell the team and any clients and then start organising the leaving drinks. All’s well.

Then there’s the bad leavers – AKA dismissals

These come in many forms, here are a few regular ways to exit badly:

The disappeared

One day they don’t show up and you never see or hear from them again. It’s all a bit strange and a bit puzzling and no one is really sure why – they seemed alright at the time.

What do you do?

Try to determine a) if they are alright b) if they ever intend coming back c) if all else just for curiosity’s sake try to establish the reason why. Write, call or email asking them to get in touch. Give them a deadline date to do so, advise them that you will assume they no longer with to work with you if they do not get in touch. There is no point worrying about notice periods etc, it wastes time just pay them up to the last day they worked and any annual leave accrued, issue the P45 and move on.

Dismissals with an immediate bang

They’ve handed in their notice, its all going ok sort of and all of a sudden they tell you, I’m not working to the end of my notice and that’s it.

What should you do?

Well if you were happy for them to work their notice and they don’t want to, they have waived their right to work their contracted notice and for this they do not get paid. Put it in writing and move on.

I want you gone and NOW!

They’ve handed in their notice and things have gone from bad to worse, you can’t bear the sight of them and they have no intention of doing a stroke of work until that last day. You want them gone and now.

What should you do?

If you do then you have to pay for it. You put them on ‘gardening leave’ tell them not to come in anymore and pay them up to the end of their notice. This dismissal process tends to be the easiest.

And finally…… the references

The very least you should do, is give a factual reference confirming job title and dates of employment and always include a disclaimer. Avoid all personal opinions and keep it as benign or as neutral as possible.

Get in touch if you need help with references, dismissals and/or leavers.