Focusing effort and directing employees towards achieving the goals of the organisation is shown to improve performance. However, in isolation, this can result in people simply feeling pressured to achieve results or alienated from the organisation and prone to negativity. Companies need to devise a strategy for investing in their people in order to create an engaged company culture in which employees feel that they have a stake and a personal interest.
CIPD research, conducted in 2008, suggested several contributors to high levels of engagement:
- senior management initiatives to directly listen to employee views
- strong opportunities for promotion within the organisation based on merit
- an entrepreneurial culture based around employee contributions to performance and improvement
- fair and consistent HR practices
- focus on traditional management practices such as clarity of objectives, clear performance measurement and trust
- showing employees that they are valued through well-designed and consistent involvement initiatives
- having clear targets that employees can work towards
- maintaining a focus on good workâ€“life balance
- having a friendly and supportive work environment.
Research across 16 high-performing US businesses carried out by the SJF Institute in 2011, revealed a shared portfolio of best practice in leadership, management and HR. They distilled these practices into ten strategies for creating a successful culture of employee engagement:
- High involvement hiring â€“ choosing employees that not only have the right skills but also are a long term fit with the companyâ€™s culture
- Providing comprehensive benefits and a flexible work environment, including paid time off to participate in community service
- Extensive training and promotion from within â€“ investing in employees to build their skills and enabling them to take on increased responsibility
- Fostering a culture of mutual respect and trust, empowerment and shared responsibility, yielding long term loyalty and often valued over rewards
- Celebrating success â€“ engaged teams work hard and spend time celebrating together when milestones are achieved
- Ensuring the core values are frequently heard and understood by all, and instigating a comprehensive communications programme of company-wide updates, successes, and employee recognition
- Sharing key success metrics critical to the companyâ€™s financial success with employees and articulating those that employees affect daily
- Employee participation â€“ making sure all employees have a say over how work is done and have some degree of autonomy
- Performance-based rewards and compensation â€“ clearly tying rewards such as bonuses to individual and company performance
- Sharing ownership, for example via stock options, restricted stock, employee share option plans, or co-ops.
If businesses genuinely view employees, not as mere costs but as a key asset for business success, then management must introduce employee engagement strategies, as these are key drivers of business growth and success, and a strong factor in the ability to weather economic downturns.
These strategies increase human resource flexibility, which is crucial in our current volatile business environment for the longer-term survival of organisations. Firms that establish a strong engagement culture from the beginning have a greater chance of long term survival.
Call 0845 2177 071Â and discover how we can help you establish a strong engagement culture.
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