At the forthcoming Saba global annual user conference, @Work, several customers will showcase how they improved employee engagement at their organisation. It seems more and more are discovering how better engagement leads to improved productivity and lower staff turnover. That means a better bottom line. This is hardly surprising when a recent survey by income protection providers Unum indicated that staff turnover costs British business £4.13bn every year. The average fee for replacing a departing staff member is £30,614. That said, engaging employees effectively can still be a challenge. According to Gallup's recent State of the Global Workplace report, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. The report goes on to suggest how we may better engage employees. Based on that report, here are our five ways to improve work engagement:
- Focus on engagement from the top down. Real change in engagement only occurs when Company leaders set the tone from the top. They must weave engagement into performance at every level. This is why performance management systems are often so successful; they demonstrate commitment to engagement throughout the Company.
- Really support employee development. Make sure they have the right opportunities to learn things that will advance their careers. Of course, that includes formal training. But it is important to recognise other ways of promoting Learning, such as informal Learning, mentoring, coaching and more.
- Coach managers and make them accountable for employee engagement. Gallup discovered managers must understand why it is important to help build engagement plans with their employees. The most successful managers see performance management as a way of improving the way they manage, not just as a measuring tool.
- Properly define engagement goals in everyday terms. Leaders must make engagement goals meaningful to employees' day-to-day lives. That means making sure that performance plans are written in clear English with real world goals.
- Make sure employees get good feedback on performance. Employees need to know how they are doing. They need to understand if they are meeting expectations and how to improve. Combining a formal performance programme with regular feedback and coaching helps enormously.
Integrating performance management with Learning systems provides an effective way of achieving these goals. However there are even smarter ways of enhancing this, but more about that after the @Work User Conference in April.