Is employee engagement the elephant in the room? - HR Future helps people prepare for the Future of Work and is South Africa's leading print, digital and online Human Resources magazine.

Is employee engagement the elephant in the room?


Most employees never talk about employee engagement, like it doesn’t even exist, but it does and it is more important than people think.
The definition of employee engagement is a “workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organisation to give of their best each day with an enhanced sense of their own well-being.”

Employee engagement is essentially like keeping your employees emotionally employed and thereby increasing their dedication to your organisation and achieving your business product whether it is tangible or a service which you provide to your clients.

Can you say that you fully engage with your staff? Do they feel that you are committed to them as an employee? An employee’s commitment to the organisation is a key ingredient to employee engagement and has been shown to be related to employee turnover. It is quite obvious that the more committed your employees are, the more likely your organisation is to have a lower employee turnover and a higher staff morale. Higher staff morale goes a long way in producing higher profits.

Recruiting and hiring new employees is just the first step in creating and keeping a strong work-force. The most difficult thing nowadays is in keeping them. An organisation needs to focus on keeping its employees satisfied. If this is done it will help the organisation to function better and have lower employee turnover. This will also go a long way in helping an organisation’s reputation, and as you know the old saying does go, “You’re only as good as your reputation.”

It is up to the management of an organisation to keep employee engagement alive and this can be done in a number of ways.

Some of these include:

• Fostering an engaging environment by developing a targeted, proactive strategic communication plan;
• Offering a competitive benefits package that fits their employees’ needs;
• Using incentives to help keep workers motivated and feeling rewarded;
• Fostering employee development with open communication between employees and management;
• Involving management at all levels; and
• Effective communication of the business’s mission.

It can be concluded that the best workplaces give their employees a sense of purpose, help them to feel that they belong, and enable them to make a difference. Team-building activities can be used as an important tool to increase communication, fun, and engagement in addition to promoting and encouraging teamwork and collaboration. Organisations should bear in mind that in order to retain employees and increase engagement, management has to make the first move.

The usual eight hours a day sitting at your desk is a thing of the past. We live in an ever-changing, fast-paced world, and defining work in such a traditional manner doesn’t make sense to an employee. Accordingly, managers along with organisations should start considering introducing more fun, out-of-the-box activities in today’s workplace to increase employees’ engagement and improve overall organisational performance.

Lauren Apperley is the HR Manager at Hobbs Sinclair Chartered Accountants.

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