The Coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact on employees personal and work lives. In many organisations, it is leading to employee anxiety, frustration and burnout, all of which can impact productivity and employee engagement.
Employee engagement is when employees choose to engage with their organisation in response to various factors such as workload, rewards and recognition, and community support. It is thought to reflect the drive, motivation, passion and involvement that can characterise an individual in relation to their work.
It is widely acknowledged that one of the crucial aspects of ensuring business success is achieving and maintaining the engagement of employees with both their job and their organisation as a whole. Employee engagement has been linked to a number of positive business factors which contribute to overall business success, which resonate even more in times of crisis. These include:
- Job satisfaction
- Employee cooperation
- Helpfulness to colleagues
- Time efficiency
- Organisational commitment
- Decreased intention to quit and actual staff turnover
- Increased positive employer relationships, which lead to more positive attitudes, intentions and behaviours
- Increased overall workplace performance
So how do we go about achieving and maintaining employee engagement?
Are we recruiting the right people in the first place? How are we going about our recruitment process? Is it finding the right people?
In order to achieve an engaged workforce, it is crucial that you are employing the right people to fit your business and the roles they are performing. This ensures consistency and alignment with the company values. If your recruitment strategy and process is failing to do this, then achieving an engaged workforce could become increasingly difficult.
Review your recruitment process, and how you deduce whether a person is suitable not just for the role you are employing them for but also for your company culture. Think about the processes you could use to ensure this:
- Detailed, well-written and accurate job descriptions to attract relevant, high-quality candidates
- A thorough screening process to shortlist CVs for interview
- An in-depth interview process involving both biographical and competency-based questioning
- The use of psychometric profiling to inform interview questions
- The involvement of more than one interviewer in the process to gain a range of opinions and input before making a final decision.
Are we giving new recruits an in-depth enough induction? Do they know what to expect from the business? And what is expected of them in the role?
Once you have recruited the right person, it is essential that they receive a thorough induction in their first couple of weeks (see this article about "How to onboard new starters remotely"). This helps to ensure they feel supported and valued and also helps to make sure they are comfortable with what is expected of them in their role.
Think about what you would like to receive from a company when starting a new role and use this as a guide to plan what is needed. Consider:
- Providing all the relevant information they will need to feel ready for their first day. Think about parking options, start times, who they will report to when they arrive etc.
- Setting them up with their own desk, and making sure it is ready and that it includes any materials/resources they are likely to need in the first few days
- Using a learning styles questionnaire to find out more about new starters, and how they learn best, so the induction process can be tailored accordingly
- Giving a clear outline of what they will be doing in their first couple of weeks, so they know what to expect
- Scheduling in time with all of the people they will be working alongside in the first couple of weeks, so they can become familiar with them and discuss how they will work together
- Supplying thorough training on any systems they will be required to use, so they feel confident in using them before they are left to their own devices
- Guidance on how people are expected to work in your organisation
- Booking in review meetings throughout the first few weeks, ensuring their manager regularly checks in with them and asks how they’re getting on and if they need any further support.
Ongoing support and training
How do you ensure employees feel comfortable asking for help if they’re not sure about something? Are you encouraging continuous development in your workforce?
Once you have achieved an engaged workforce, it is crucial that this is maintained so that all of your hard work in achieving it in the first place is not wasted. Unfortunately, engagement is not something that can be maintained without continuous awareness and work.
One of the fundamental parts of maintaining an engaged workforce is ensuring employees feel communicated with, listened to and supported. One of the main contributors to employee engagement is the opportunity for development and contribution in the workplace. Not all employees will seek to progress to more senior positions and therefore they won’t always be interested in further training or development opportunities. However, it is crucial that all employees are given the opportunity to talk to their manager about what is important to them in the workplace and that they feel valued. Think about the ways you communicate with your workforce and the opportunities they have to communicate with you. These could include:
- Regular one-to-ones with their line manager
- The opportunity for employees to express an interest in any further training or support, for example through a learning development plan which is reviewed regularly with their manager
- A more formal review process, such as a quarterly review meeting, which ensures employees have clarity on what is expected of them and enables them to ask for any support required
- The provision of a training menu so employees can request any relevant training
- The use of an intranet site to ensure the communication of business news is shared with everyone consistently, both in terms of the message being delivered and the timeframe it is delivered in
- Encouragement of employees to contribute ideas for how things could be done better or ideas to increase/maintain engagement across the business, this could be through an anonymous suggestion box or an employee forum group that voices ideas from their team/office for example.
If you would like the opportunity to find out more about the current employee engagement levels within your organisation, the areas you are particularly strong on and any potential areas where there is room for improvement, then Best Employers Eastern Region could be a great opportunity for you to do this.
Contact our consultants for more information on how we can support you with your recruitment and employee engagement.
Ellie joined Pure in June 2015 after applying through our Graduate Training Programme and now works in the internal Learning & Development team. Ellie has a Psychology degree and her passion for working with and understanding people led her to a career in recruitment.