How to keep your employees engaged

By Matt Hayes | 10th April 2021

Employee engagement starts with empathy and compassion.

2020 heralded a vastly changed working environment, accelerated by the global health crisis. How do businesses engage and retain experienced employees and continue to produce high-performance in one of the toughest economic climates ever experienced?

Mental health and work-life balance continues to be a primary focus in 2021, therefore implementing robust mental health plans into your organisation is vital.

How do employers prioritise people’s wellbeing to create a resilient and sustainable business?

Despite a significant shift in attitude to positive mental wellbeing, it can be challenging to understand what support is required in a workplace, to create a culture of support and belonging.

The power of putting people first

Prioritising your people means that when you need them to step up and work together, your culture can flourish. Putting people first means that employers will show, not tell, what their company is all about.

5 wins for happy and successful people

  1. Listen to understand

74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope, according to the Mental Health Foundation. That’s because people have been affected differently by the global health crisis.

Whether it’s juggling childcare and career, financial pressures, loneliness or anxiety over an uncertain future, it’s important that employers are talking to their people to understand their concerns, with compassion and empathy.

This goes well beyond asking how they are. It’s about drawing on your own experiences over the year and combining that with your emotional intelligence as a leader, to really listen.

Understanding their challenges will provide clarity on how you can improve their working environment to build loyal advocates who choose to stay. 

  1. Encourage feedback

Don’t let this crisis go by without giving your people the opportunity to ask honest questions. Checking in with your employees to gauge their mental health and wellbeing has never been more critical because the loss of personal engagement can dramatically influence people.

For employees to feel supported, businesses need to behave in a way that encourages authenticity and openness and that means that employees need to feel that their voice is heard.

Losing the element of personal interaction has increased the degree of difficulty for organisations to maintain transparency of communication but it’s not impossible. Technology has stepped up to provide multiple methods of checking in from surveys and polls to virtual activities and regular ‘town halls’.

Leveraging this feedback to implement tangible changes that add value and improve the health and wellbeing of your employees, builds trust and retention. 

  1. Compassionate & authentic communication

Absence does not always make the heart grow fonder. A lack of visibility or infrequent communication might cause employees to question the management of a business leading to unnecessary uncertainty and confusion or worse, an irreparable leadership and employee divide.

Employees are looking to leaders for direction and to feel valued. Celebrate the small victories by highlighting successes of individuals or teams, which will increase morale not only in the individual but the wider business. Encourage employees to celebrate each other and recognise what they have achieved in a time when it feels like there’s not much to celebrate. This will help employees feel connected with leadership and will strengthen bonds between employees. A perfect foundation for staying together.

Maintain consistent communication and support to ensure that you remain their employer of choice now and in the future.

  1. Lead with purpose

Has your purpose taken a back seat as you move into in damage-control or cost cutting mode to survive? Whilst completely understandable, the challenge this presents is that leaving your purpose in your wake stunts employee development and ultimately business growth because it reinforces that the business purpose is simply a catchphrase without any value.

Your purpose is not just for the good times. Demonstrating your core purpose in everything you do, builds trust and engagement and reinforces to your people that they are working for a business that does what they say with unwavering honesty. In a time when people are disenchanted and looking for purpose, they want to work for people and organisations that they are proud to stand behind.

Purpose leads to productivity and productivity leads to profit. 

  1. The one about working from home and productivity

It took a global crisis to demonstrate to businesses that their employees can be trusted to remain productive without being physically present. Flexible working is no longer a perk, it’s part of the future working environment of forward-thinking organisations.

Offering flexibility on a longer-term basis will build mutual trust and loyalty. Flexibility means different things for different businesses, but the definition is in the name. Flexible. Consider offering alternative working solutions that vary from flexible shift patterns to working from home to support your employees varying challenges.

Build a legacy of loyal employees

Smart business leaders know that it’s people who make their company successful. You have a responsibility as chief empathy officer to take care of your employees.

This is your opportunity to build a legacy of dedicated employees that are invested in your business, ultimately increasing retention and improving the bottom line, sustainably. Here’s our top tips and checklist on how to onboard your employee remotely.

The question is are your existing engagement strategies still fit for purpose or do you need to shift your priorities to embrace empathy and compassion in your people plan?

Talk to us today to find out how we can help you elevate your employees’ engagement.