October 24, 2019
Company Culture 22 August 2017
How to create a Positive Employee Experience
Livia Cretan
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At a glance (Data from WillisTowersWatson):

  • Only two in five workers in Asia Pacific are highly engaged at work.

  • The average operating margin of companies with sustainably engaged employees is three times as much as those with a low level of employee engagement.

  • Leadership is a key factor driving sustainable engagement.

Often times, I see and hear about employees leaving the companies they work for, even though the company seems in line with employees values. 

Why do they do this? Sadly, because people leave managers, not companies. Company turnover is often the result of bad management.

Being a manager is difficult. Having a bunch of employees under one's supervision, each with own career goals and beliefs, each with different lifestyles, expectations, and judgment is obviously difficult to manage. But not impossible!

Why do people leave companies? 

The number one reason for people leaving companies is disengagement. Victor Lipman describes in a Forbes blog post why people leave companies -  "Vast numbers of employees are disengaged. By “disengaged,” I mean not emotionally committed to the organizations they work for, and therefore in all likelihood not highly motivated and fully productive."

Research shows that 34.3% of employees are “engaged” (Gallup Data), whereas Towers Watson data shows 39% are “highly engaged.”

Today, the old ways of running a workplace (annual reviews, forced rankings, outdated competencies) don't bring the results companies really need. Leaders must gain clearer insights into employees' evolving wants and needs and constantly learn how to build an exceptional workplace.

What can be done? 

In this respect, managers having good relationships with their employees has become a critical topic that needs a special leadership attention. 

Some of us are born with a set of strengths (talents) that can help us to be good managers, but there is a vast number of managers who don't have this set of talents. In this situation, good practices of management to drive employee engagement can be learned. It is just a matter of experiencing as many situations and characters as possible, then trying to learn from each and constantly improving. 

5 strategies to raise employee engagement in the workplace. 

1. Do not overload your employees. 

Pay attention to how you split the work among your co-workers. 

Often times, managers are increasing the workload on some of their best team members because they are providing the best results. In the long-term, this will bring some huge disadvantages. Employees will collapse, or they will become demotivated even though you explain the situation to them. 

Moreover, make sure to have a good backup plan in place. Just because you don't have the budget to hire more people doesn't mean you are "allowed" to overload the existing ones. There are many ways you can avoid this situation: ask for help from other teams, ask for a temporary employee, ask for a budget for temporary contracts, etc. 

2. Offer competitive salary packages.

If you want to keep top talented people, then you’re going to have to pay them well! Entrepreneur notes that salaries are based on the following:

  • Employee skill and experience

  • Supply and demand

  • Geographical location

  • Worker seniority

Make sure to pay your employee what they're worth and be competitive with similar companies in your industry.

3. Talk to your employees.

Make them feel they can share their honest opinions and the problems they're currently dealing with. Do your best to help them sort things out, or if you cannot, find ways or other people to help. 

Having regular meetings that are not only focused on work-related topics and statistics, but also focused on them as humans is crucial to building their trust in you. Make them aware your doors are always open if they need to speak with you. 

Of course, based on what employees say, take proper actions. Address their complaints and inform them once you've solved their issues and also tell them which issues cannot be resolved and why. Be as sincere as possible. 

4. Review their work several times a year. 

Provide positive and where applicable constructive feedback whenever necessary. Do not wait 1 year to inform them how well they are working or if they need to improve in some ways. 

Share their good results with upper management and their peers, and don’t forget to reward them once in awhile! Rewards can come in many ways - from monetary rewards to diplomas, company branded gifts, extra vacation days, vouchers or team dinners. 

Having regular one-to-ones is a win for both parties - employees appreciate when they are heard and having someone really interested in their opinions. Another benefit is that managers can learn about their problems and take proper action. 

5. Hire selectively.

Hire only those individuals with whom you feel you can work with, not only those who have the best resume and work experience. 

Having the possibility to select from a bunch of applicants is great, but there are times when searching for a very specific/narrowed role you receive just a few resumes. Even in these cases, ask as many questions as possible just to be sure you'll be able to work with the person. 

For more ideas on increasing employees' engagement, visit my site. There, I have listed 10 other ideas that can help managers to increase their co-worker's motivation. 

Livia is the founder of the Work Ethics Blog which is mainly focusing on career development, best practices to be applied at work, performance and management tips. She has more than 10 years of working experience, currently being a project manager at a multinational corporation. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.