In a world where it society changes daily and businesses can be impacted by seemingly unrelated events with no warning, it can be difficult to manage a workforce sustainably – much less keep a happy, healthy staff base that truly care about and are invested in to operations! The answer lies in fostering true employee engagement which in time results in employee empowerment.
Traditionally, businesses take a top-down approach; whereby the management hierarchy make the decisions and dictate the company’s direction and objectives to those lower down the scale. Dependent on the staff hierarchy in place, communications on such matter may filter down several levels of management, which can dilute the message.
In many cases the issue is the gap (be it perceived, physical or operational) between management and ‘front-line’ staff. Too large a gap allows for misdirection in business decisions: prioritising things that are of little or no importance to operational staff, not removing sufficient blockages to work, or misunderstanding the efficiency and/or ability of staff to carry out tasks.
In order to avoid such miscommunication and misunderstanding, it is imperative that businesses allow their employees to share ideas and input on high-level decisions and direction. This is beneficial two-fold to the employers. This ‘bottom up’ approach is not conventional – but it works.
Ideas can come from anywhere – so it’s best policy to always be open to them!
If an issue effects only the bottom layer of a staff hierarchy, chances are the higher levels don’t have visibility over it. Allowing employees to engage in blue sky thinking about what would directly make their jobs easier and how conditions could be improved could bring forward ideas to save lost time and revenue as well as to streamline operations – straight from the people who know how it works best.
People Management magazine found that 35% of business leaders believed employee engagement was an unnecessary distraction from BAU, but successful companies disagree. Household name 3M hold up an example of their call centre staff innovating a new product when an issue arose from an everyday customer complaint… and it’s now a successful product offering in their range!
Engaged employees are happier, more enthusiastic and more invested employees.
When employees view a job as a 9-5 with no further prospects or passion, their effort will remain limited. However, when they’re able to feel as though their engagement and voice is heard, appreciated and valued (even if not followed), they become emotionally invested in the brand and have a vested interest in the business operating well.
In turn, engaged employees are motivated to carry out their jobs to the best of their ability; even delivering added value where possible, all with an enhanced sense of professional wellbeing.
Engaged employees work harder, more efficiently, more accurately, and for longer. Gallup studies found that companies with a high rate of employee engagement had 21% greater profitability than those with little to none. When you consider that employee surveys in the UK average just 45% employee engagement across businesses, it’s clear that there’s improvement to be made.