Workforce engagement goes beyond the employment contract

With work-from-home and hybrid working being the major trends in the employment landscape. How can leaders navigate the struggle of employee engagement?

What is at the heart of every great organisation? Of course opportunities are created by financial means and a brand to bridge the gap between a business and its customers, but there is something just as crucial, if not more so, in the eyes of a sustainable, equitable business—employee satisfaction and engagement. 

Employee engagement being the end goal, satisfaction is the key to unlocking the full potential of the workforce, which is why it’s important to understand what makes them want to work hard and take ownership of their role, project, brand, or branch. 

However, it’s fair to say that the majority of employees are not satisfied at work. According to Gallup’s State of the Workplace report, 85% of staff are preparing to grab their pay check and head home. 

Particularly as the crisis of increased living costs looms over employees’ heads—to say they are the only ones—employee satisfaction, and ultimately retention, starts at the top. So, what can leaders do to engage with their teams and draw out their best qualities and highest work ethic. 

Position employees in future plans 

To encourage employees to take ownership of their jobs, give them the opportunity to do so. The lack of engagement in the workforce today is a result of high figures of labour turnover, which is subject to around 87% of employees not gaining much satisfaction from their roles. 

The employment trends are changing and more and more people consider the type of work they are doing and would even take a pay cut in return for more satisfaction within their role. In the Gen Z population, 71% would reduce their salaries for more meaningful work. 

This also goes hand-in-hand with employee wellbeing and many of the workforce have been given a taste for a more balanced working lifestyle following the coronavirus pandemic. In the remote-working era, we’re seeing more and more organisations adopting work-from-home or hybrid-working models, however, this is not to say employees shouldn’t check in with them in the process. Allowing employees to work from afar presents new challenges, such as loneliness and the inability to separate work from home life. 

The cost-of-living crisis exacerbates concerns as many employees are spending more time at home, which is increasing this further due to the increased use of home amenities for work. An easy way for employers to support them with this is by ensuring they have the knowledge of relevant work-from-home tax breaks and benefits that are available to them to cover some of the costs of working remotely. 

As a result, according to the Chief Scientist of Workplace and Wellbeing at Gallup, Jim Harter says that employee welfare can drive direct benefits to the organisation. 

Jim Harter, Chief Scientist of Workplace and Wellbeing, Gallup

“When your employees’ wellbeing is thriving, your organisation directly benefits—they take fewer sick days, deliver higher performance, and have lower rates of burnout and turnover. But, when your employees’ wellbeing suffers, so does your organisation’s bottom line.” 

Being transparent about human resources matters that affect employees is one thing, but proactive behaviour to support them while working from home is a key factor in building a lasting relationship with them. The most resilient teams are able to be transparent with their colleagues and likewise encourage them to speak out to leadership if they are in a troubling situation or concerned for their wellbeing. 

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