Building workplace engagement to benefit your business
Running a successful business involves more than generating sales and profit, although many companies exist as if it doesn’t. Mycah Banks of Payara Services Ltd has shared her practical advice on how businesses can engage their employees and take their business further through doing so.
For your business to stand out, you must have a dynamic, motivated and engaged team behind you, and that requires treating your employees as complete individuals -- not as simple commodities. Building an engaged team requires the fundamental understanding that investment in your people means investment in your business.
The secret to success
The ideal engagement ‘model’ can be compared to a shape with many sides, with each side representing a different company value. For Payara, those values are Excellence, Initiative, Trust, Openness, Community, Growth and Passion. No matter your company’s values, at their core should be communication.
Ensuring that your business provides the opportunity for its entire workforce to be on the same page – whether that be through an intranet, frequent stand-ups, or even a newsletter – is fundamental. On the other side of this coin, it is as important to provide multiple feedback channels to give a voice, and ownership, to your employees.
In order to establish an engaged team, environment is key. A well-designed physical and non-physical (cultural) working environment will support all employees to perform to their highest potential.
This is more dynamic than a “fun” workplace: we often hear of superficial attempts to create an engaged workforce, with heavy investment in the physical environment to advertise new and modern offices, free food, napping pods, games rooms and the like as if these novelties were the answer to employees’ happiness.
While these “novelty perks” certainly can aid engagement, they can lose their novelty over time, after which the fundamental, non-physical work environment gains importance. One sentiment of those who have worked in superficial spaces in the long-term is that in retrospect these privileges come off as a smokescreen for workplace culture shortcomings.
Build culture from day one
Although pertinent, physical environment is just one facet of engagement. Just as important for your employees’ engagement are management style, recognition, health and wellbeing, opportunity for growth, contribution towards personal success and allowing them the channel to make a direct and positive impact on the business.
Every team within every business will experience disagreement at one point or another, but; the substantive culture that you have nurtured determines how disagreements are resolved both horizontally and vertically within your organisation.
This culture must be nurtured from the beginning of the employee experience, before negative disruption occurs. Investment in your company’s culture at all times is essential, as is promoting the healthy resolution of conflict whenever it inevitably arises, and in a way that fits your values.
Remote and agile working
It is a unique HR challenge to engage a team who are both office-based and remote, living across all areas of the country, and even across different time zones. If your business offers agile and flexible working options, it is imperative to encourage communication and autonomy within your workforce.
There are several ways to do this, including hosting regular company days or even weeks throughout the year. If you have remote workers in your business, consider providing an expenses-paid trip to join your office-based team, so that your employees (wherever they are based) will have the chance to form strong, positive relationships, build community and renew their passion in the brand. Hosting social activities and workshops within these get-togethers will allow employees to bond, discuss ideas and even present their solutions back to the business, reinforcing their ownership.
A long-term investment
Taking the time to employ the right people is a personal form of investment. When employees are shown respect as individuals and not just as “cogs” or KPI’s to fill, it leads to a type of satisfaction that translates into enthusiasm and passion.
If all employees feel that they contribute to the business equally, engagement will be a natural exchange, leading to increased profitability, productivity and higher staff retention as a result.