4 steps to increasing employee engagement in the modern workforce

One of the best ways to improve employee engagement is investing in their personal development, so they, in turn, can rise to meet challenges you present

One of the best ways to improve employees’ engagement is investing in their personal development, so they, in turn, can rise to meet challenges you present them

Without employees, an organisation would not exist, and without talented and motivated people, an organisation has no hope of flourishing and staying competitive. Even the best-laid plans can be scuppered by not having great people in place to implement them. So it’s crucial to understand what exactly is it that motivates an employee and how can you go about both attracting and retaining them.

There are a number of reasons why an employee might choose to leave their current role: boredom, feelings of stagnation, a lack of perks and too much stress can all contribute to employees taking their CVs out of hibernation.

Of course, a certain level of employee turnover cannot be helped, but you should still do your best to keep employees feeling happy, motivated and valued. If you find that your employees leave on a regular basis, you may need to re-evaluate your talent retention strategies. After all, when an employee leaves they will need to be replaced – and new hires are expensive. Recruiting, training and interviewing new prospects are all time and money drainers. According to Workplace Info, the total costs of hiring an employee on a salary of $150,000 AUD are estimated at $98,800 if that employee leaves within 12 months.

“If you find that your employees leave on a regular basis, you may need to re-evaluate your talent retention strategies”

These four steps can help any business increase employee engagement and ensure talent remains within the company:

1. Challenge your employees
Valuable employees are going to be valuable no matter where they choose to work. It is important to ensure that employees are constantly learning, that they are increasing their value to the company, in addition to building their career skills. This is valuable for the employee and the company. Ambitious employees will want to remain innovative and grow their skillset. If they can develop new skills at your company, an offer to work elsewhere will be less appealing.

2. Encourage flexible working
According to Morgan McKinley’s Report on Flexible Work Practices in Australia, 94% of employees felt that the option to work flexibly helps attract and retain talent. Many employees are trying to find ways to balance their personal time and relationships. By allowing employees to work from home or to work different hours, you help to foster a friendly working environment and drive a more positive attitude from staff, which will, in turn, increase employee productivity and retention.

To make any flexible working policy succeed, communication is key. Regular phone meetings can be used to maintain visibility of employee actions on a daily basis, while eLearning and electronic resources can provide a useful method to ensure staff have easy access to the latest training and resources, regardless of their location.

“Valuable employees are going to be valuable no matter where they choose to work”

3. Make career progression front and centre
When employees – especially those from the younger Millennial generation – do not feel a company is supporting their progression, their eyes will start to wander towards the job market. That is why companies are offering more career mobility opportunities, which support employees who want to move across different departments or even change their occupation. The AHRI Pulse Study found that opportunities for career progression are a key reason for employees to remain within an organisation. Employees, ultimately, want new challenges and opportunities to stay engaged in their work, grow their skills, and advance in their careers.

Meaningful career growth needs to be enabled for each individual employee. The best performing businesses place learning at the centre of their employee experience, providing opportunities for individualised development and closing the gap between what employees are offered and what they actually need.  They craft frameworks that align with the precise skills and capabilities their employees need to prepare for career progression. Offering the right tools and technology makes it easy for employees to continuously develop in the direction of their goals, without sacrificing performance in their current roles.

“Employees, ultimately, want new challenges and opportunities to stay engaged in their work, grow their skills, and advance in their careers”

4. Invest in your employees (and they will invest in you)
A growth-based culture rewards learning and creates talent agility. High-performing organisations treat employee satisfaction as a business objective and as a consequence link their employees’ development and career progression to business results. Building a growth-based career culture means focusing on continuous growth, supporting employees in developing new skills, and encouraging employees to move laterally and vertically across silos and functions. Where personal development is a regular part of the conversation and careers are designed around experiences, employees are more motivated, equipped and engaged to take on new challenges and roles within the business.

These are just a few of the ways you can make your employees feel valued and increase satisfaction. Make it clear to your employees that you understand their need to grow professionally and progress in their careers. There are a variety of ways to do this, such as creating career tracks, providing flexible working opportunities, and giving employees access to job training and skill building assets. These measures can help redirect wandering eyes and help foster a growth-focused environment within your organisation.