Top Ten Tips for... engaging with your workforce

Top Ten Tips for... engaging with your workforce

The Government’s taskforce, Engage for Success, recently said that only a third of employees feel engaged with their jobs. But a happy and engaged workforce is a more productive one – which means business is better for you too. That’s why businesses of all genres and sizes invest time, money and resources into engaging with their colleagues to find out what really makes work more satisfying and rewarding.

Here are our Top 10 Tips for engaging with your workforce. 

1. Communicate well

One of the signs of a good performing team is how honest and open their communication skills are. A lack of communication and engagement can easily lead to conflict. It’s important that when communicating with your workforce, you don’t just tell them what they should or shouldn’t be doing, or what you think they need to know. Good communication should motivate and inspire them as well as inform them.

2. Support learning and development

By having regular one-to-ones and team meetings you can glean valuable information from your colleagues about what they want to achieve and how you can help facilitate this. You should champion their ambitions to develop and improve, rather than seeing any gaps in their skills as a hindrance. For example, could you provide opportunities for them to work shadow a more experienced member of your team, to achieve a new qualification or allow time out to attend networking events? Providing a supportive environment will help you understand your team’s strengths and weaknesses, which in turn provides an opportunity to mentor each other. 

3. Empower your colleagues

Just like every office, school and living room in the country, your workplace will have a mixture of people with different personalities. Some people like to plot and plan every detail while working within certain boundaries and parameters. Others love the creativity and flair of a blank canvas. Giving your colleagues the opportunity to choose how they do their job without being micro-managed really helps to empower them because they feel trusted and respected. Of course, you need to be on hand to offer advice and monitor governance but giving people autonomy over their day to day working lives can be really rewarding. 

4. Develop a coaching culture

Companies with a high level of engagement also understand the benefit of having a ‘buddy system,’ a mentor or a coach. The best way to harness your employee’s ambition and sense of purpose is to coach them to help them achieve their goals. This could be linked to a particular project, a way of developing personal skills or enhancing performance across the business.Start with the basics and ensure there is an infrastructure in place to support coaching within your organisation.  Think about how it will be integrated so it’s considered business as usual.

5. Develop your mission, vision and values together

Whether you’re a large organisation or SME, you should have some strategic objectives which outline what your company or organisation aims to achieve. You may also have a mission to help steer your way and a set of values which encompass how you will behave while working towards achieving your goals. Your mission, vision and values should be developed in collaboration with your colleagues at all levels so they feel a sense of ownership and pride in the company. 

6. Be charitable

Developing your corporate social responsibility strategy with your colleagues is reallyimportant because it needs to be something that not only reflects the company’s values and goals but also that everyone feels passionately about too. Allowing your workforce to decide together how they can give something back to your community, or a charity or cause they all believe in, means they’re more likely to feel invested in any fundraising or volunteering activities.  Not only is this a great way to help your team to bond, it reflects well on your business too. 

7. Recognise innovation

Even if you don’t work in a typically creative industry, there are still ways that you can use your imagination to think innovatively.  Creating a culture where ideas are shared freely and where your employees aren’t afraid to give new ways of working a go – even if they ultimately don’t work out – is a positive way of boosting engagement. After all, there’s no such thing as a bad idea! And don’t forget to recognise people for showing their innovative streak. This could be something as simple as an ‘employee of the month’ or ‘bright ideas’ award which showcases how your colleagues continue to improve best practice.

8. Nurture talent

Whether in a job interview or a regular catch up with a mentor or boss, we’ve all been asked the familiar question, “Where do you see yourself in five or five or ten years?” But this can feel really difficult to answer if you’re unsure about what professional development opportunities, mentoring or training is on offer. Successful engagement can be on a one-to-one basis too. The best way to harness your employee’s ambition is to nurture their talents and coach them to help them achieve their goals. 

9. Be more sociable

Engagement is more likely to come naturally to a happy workforce who are able to communicate well with each other. So go out and have fun! Think about how you can get the work/life balance right in your workplace. It could be as simple as taking regular lunch breaks together, refurbishing your staff room to make it more welcoming, organising a lunch-time running club (or any exercise/activity you choose) or arranging regular night’s out or job sharing activities.  

10. And the survey said…

When was the last time you actually asked your colleagues how they feel about their workplace? Engagement can simply mean asking your workforce for feedback about what it’s like to work for your company. This could be during one-to-one sessions, at team building events or in an anonymous survey. It can be a lot easier for employees to express how they really feel anonymously, for example, via a simple Survey Monkey questionnaire. But you also need to be able to take the feedback in the constructive way it’s meant.  It could be a great way to learn what you’re doing right but also where your workforce expects you to lift the bar.

For more information about how to engage well with your workforce, contact cHRysos HR Solutions. 

Julie Gordon is the Managing Director of cHRysos HR Solutions, a Doncaster based HR training and consultancy company providing CIPD and CMI accredited qualifications nationwide, as well as HR Consultancy to SMEs.  Contact Julie on info@chrysos.org.uk or call +44 (0)1302 802128.

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