Why staff engagement is important to business growth

We’ve all encountered unengaged staff – perhaps in a shop where ‘no, we don’t stock that’ isn’t followed up with an offer to order it in or find an alternative product. The business loses a sale, and potentially a customer, for good.

Figures from US polling analysts Gallup show that highly engaged teams see 21% greater profitability.  This is because engaged employees are:

  • Highly productive as they are more inclined to go the extra mile
  • More engaged with your customers and an advocate for your business
  • Take less time off sick and are less likely to leave

Greater engagement means everyone pulling together to make the business more successful. It means increased sales in the sales team, greater efficiency in the operations department and better relationships with customers. These are all essential factors in helping a business to grow.

I’ve seen how engaged staff can make a difference at the large scale. While I was Head of Engagement and Internal Comms at multinational company Inchcape, we worked with Gallup on a management training programme that focused on engagement and the importance of engaging your teams for business success. I saw, first-hand, the step-change in engagement as a result of this work; the corresponding change in the employee survey results and improvements in results for the business units where engagement was higher.

So – how do you get staff more engaged with the business?

1. Make sure you allow them to be involved. That means sharing with them what you want the business to achieve, encouraging them to buy into it and making them feel that they’re on the journey with you.

2. Create a culture of empowerment by genuinely listening to staff and showing you are open to receiving as well as giving feedback. Allow your people to do the jobs that you employed them to do, as well as make decisions.

3. Communicate your vision and the company values. It’s particularly important in growing businesses that staff know where it is heading and their role in getting it there. Use staff meetings to remind people of the business strategy, core values etc, and reinforce it using other methods – such as an all-staff newsletter or email, to tell them what has been achieved this week/month/quarter and where that is taking the company now. People Puzzles often helps clients create a comms strategy specifically for this purpose.

4. Trust and empower staff to do what they’re employed to do. Managers who meddle constantly and over-manage will eventually lose their employees – I’ve seen it happen many times. If you are clear on their objectives and what they’re accountable for – and provide support when needed – then you should be able to let them get on with it! It may initially not be as quick as doing a task yourself – but if you invest that time in showing your staff how to do it, not only have you empowered them, but you also potentially never have to do that task again. It’s a win-win situation!

5. Coach your managers. In growing businesses, managers often recruit people into a role they’ve been doing for years. It can be incredibly difficult for some to step back from that role once the new person starts, especially if they’ve been doing the job for years. They also may not have had any training in managing staff. People Puzzles HR Directors often coach managers through various scenarios to improve their management skills and bring out the best in the people they manage.

If you’d like to hear more about how we help growing businesses improve staff engagement to help achieve their business goals, call us on 020 3633 6830.

Kerry Howard, People Director

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