Three non-negotiables for improving employee engagement

Businesswoman falling asleep at her desk

Businesses need to embed engagement into business practices, share accountability for change and focus on the basics in order to improve their employee engagement levels.

According to HR consultancy Aon Hewitt report Your Pathway to Improving Employee Engagement, these are the three non-negotiable practices for improving engagement in the workplace, and can have a measurable impact on a business’ bottom line.

Research has uncovered a clear link between engagement, productivity and profitability, making it vital businesses adopt the following three non-negotiable practices.

1. Embed engagement into business practices. Engagement improvement plans must be aligned with the business strategy and managed as an ongoing activity, rather than a one-off standalone initiative. Engaging people must be part of everyday business processes.

2. Share accountability for change. More than nine out of ten of those companies which improved employee engagement share accountability between senior leaders, people managers and HR, compared with 66 per cent of other organisations. This shared accountability helps align the actions of these key influencers of employee engagement in a business.

3. Focus on the basics and good communication. There is no substitute for frequent, quality conversations between a team member and their immediate manager. Don’t be over-reliant on HR systems, processes and frameworks as the sole method for improving engagement.

Aon Hewitt employee engagement practice lead Stephen Hickey said businesses improving engagement don’t necessarily have any secret tactics, extra time or smarter people, they’re simply more disciplined about implementation in these areas.

But how can a business be sure it has employee engagement issues?

Business owners must ask themselves these questions:

  • Are your employees committed to your organisation?
  • Will you have the talent you need for the next few years?
  • Why are some groups of employees more highly motivated than other groups?
  • What business issues at your organisation might engagement affect?
  • Are you satisfied that you are getting the most you can from your employees?
  • Have you had recent organisational changes that have impacted employee morale?

Some key indicators of potential engagement issues within your organisation that can negatively impact your business are:

  • Recent drops in performance levels.
  • Low employee morale.
  • Inconsistent motivation levels between groups.
  • Recent restructuring or layoffs.
  • High rates of turnovers, especially within high potential workforce.
  • Difficulty finding or attracting needed talent.