Company culture and rewards key to an engaged workforce

employees talking in a circle

Company culture is the key to creating and maintaining an engaged and productive workforce, according to a new study, with employee engagement most boosted by coaching, buddy programs and company outings.

The latest RedBalloon/AltusQ Employee Engagement Capability report has found for the second year running highly engaged organisations (those with a score of 80 percent or more) were on average up to twenty times more likely to see increases or improvements in the areas of customer satisfaction, attraction of key talent, productivity, customer loyalty, turnover and profit than those with an engagement score of less than 60 percent.

Red Balloon corporate engagement specialist James Wright believes the reason behind these consecutive results is because employees deliver when their environment gives them the space to flourish.

“Organisations achieving 80 per cent or more in their employee engagement score are at least six times more likely to see increases in sales and profit than those with a score below 60 per cent,” Wright said.

A recent Gallup survey showed only 18 percent of Australians say they love their work and estimates now indicate Australia suffers a massive $32 billion annual loss in productivity thanks to disengaged employees. To counteract this, the RedBalloon report reveals the fundamental elements businesses need to improve productivity and create an engaged workforce – these include; flexible working arrangements, recognition programs, non-cash rewards/incentives, training and development programs, paid parental leave and time off for study.

“They are the base of the pyramid, so if you don’t get them right, the whole structure will topple. Our suggestion is that if organisations do not include these activities as part of their activity mix, they stand little chance of breaking past average levels of engagement,” Wright said.

Wright notes that while rewards and recognition are key to creating and maintaining an engaged workforce, cash incentives are not the answer.

“These findings are backed up by studies showing that non-monetary incentives have a higher perceived value and are 24 percent more powerful at boosting performance than cash incentives,” he added.

The report also revealed employers may receive higher engagement levels if more achievable expectations are placed on employees.

“Organisations need to shift the way they think about the standard work day, and how they expect employees to work their hours and meet their goals because incorporating flexible work options and mindsets can go a long way to creating a happy and healthy employee experience and increased engagement. And that can only be a positive thing for business,” Wright said.

Coaching, buddy programs and company lunches/nights out had the greatest impact on effecting employee engagement levels, according to the report.

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