It has been widely noted that employees who are happy at work are more motivated, more productive and more likely to stay longer with the company. This has positive benefits for the business with higher profitability, revenue, enhanced customer service and increased employee retention.
However, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs. With the world and demands changing so rapidly, companies are required to keep up and implement new products and services quicker, and maintain profitability so required to streamline the workforce and introduce remote/hybrid working and of course, the pandemic brought about a huge amount of disruption and change.
The definition of employee engagement.
Employee engagement is about employees’ involvement and enthusiasm within the workplace. You can further define it by the strength of the mental and emotional
connection employees feel towards their work, their colleagues, and their organisation.
Why do we need to be concerned about employee engagement?
By connecting employees with their peers and the wider community, they not only feel more motivated and are more productive at work but also more engaged employees for the longer term.
Gallup has highlighted that those working remotely most of the time have had the sharpest falls in engagement levels. Hybrid teams have lost those water cooler moments and have limited opportunities for spontaneous conversations and collaboration. Something needs to be done to ensure that businesses in the future do not lose great employees and that they can continue to attract and retain the best talent.
What can managers do to improve employee engagement?
In a recent study conducted by Wellgiving, the main issues that CSR Leaders face in terms of employee engagement are fundraising engagement, engagement with other colleagues and community engagement such as volunteering, well-being and charitable giving.
For CSR Leaders to effectively introduce engagement activities it is essential to build a culture where it is led by example from the top down. If the CEO is seen to be taking part in events and challenges, then others will feel more comfortable putting their laptops down to do the same.
In giving line managers the autonomy, tools and time to implement employee engagement activities then they are more likely to be effective.
Here are our five ways that you can grow employee engagement:
- Wellness programmes
An employee wellness programme is a plan offered to employees that are designed to promote self-care, love and improvement. It allows employees to prioritise their health and wellness. Focusing on their mental and physical well-being to improve their overall health and fitness.
Types of wellness programmes that can be offered are smoking cessation, alcohol, sexual health, stress management, wellness assessments and fitness challenges. These can all help people to make changes to their lifestyle that improves their general wellbeing.
- Sustainability efforts
A sustainability programme helps a business plan its sustainability efforts to meet their challenges. It is an action plan that sets out the steps needed to tell your sustainability story and encourage employees to engage in activities that suit their skill set.
Among the findings by the National Environmental Education Foundation, almost 90% of employees engaged in their company’s sustainability work say it enhances their job satisfaction and overall feelings about the company.
Engaging a sustainability committee can be a good start where they question their wider teams to ask what issues they are concerned about and if they have solutions that could be implemented by the whole organisation. By giving them a voice, they feel more involved. It also encourages those with different interests and skill sets to be included.
Many studies have shown that giving employees time within the workday to volunteer improves motivation, increases employee engagement, improves hiring and retention, and boosts productivity. Volunteering with charities that specifically interest them ignites a passion and offering them to do this within their work time means they are more likely to make the effort to get involved.
To meet specific CSR initiatives for business contracts, a pre-agreed number of hours are often required to volunteer as a part of the project. This might be in education facilities, environmental projects, or charity activities. Asking employees to do this on top of their existing workload might be met with some resistance but giving them paid time off to volunteer without impacting their work encourages them to be more involved with CSR projects.
- Giving campaigns
Getting employees to participate in giving campaigns can be a challenge for CSR managers, often it is the same people that get involved. Finding ways to encourage more people to get involved by finding your best giving champions will help.
Have a look at what is currently happening within the organisation to first discover what might be holding back your employees from getting involved. What is the culture of the organisation in terms of giving?
Running year-long campaigns might be a better approach rather than focusing on seasonal campaigns. As more people are working from their homes the ‘local’ charity might not be of interest to them so running giving campaigns where a variety of charities can be included might open the doors for others.
For a ‘local’ charity to the business HQ, storytelling will be powerful, showing why this charity has been chosen and the reasons the business is getting behind it. Your giving champions will be key to gaining employee participation but also this needs a top-down approach with the CEO and senior leadership teams to be fully involved and backing the campaign.
- New workplace policies
As previously mentioned, improving your employee health and wellbeing increases their productivity and motivation within the workplace. Ensuring that CSR initiatives are written into workplace policies, they become part of the organisation’s culture.
The driving force of the policy needs to be focused on a top-down approach. If the senior manager is fully backing all CSR initiatives and leading by example, they are more likely to be effective in meeting the objectives of building an engaged and happy workforce.