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Employee engagement, and how to approach it

Engagement can’t be viewed in isolation – it must be part of an organisation’s culture. Leadership style, inclusivity, valuing diversity and strengths-focused performance management are essential elements which must be strategically addressed to maximise engagement.

Technology has a place, but engagement can’t be pinpointed to a paper exercise or a digital survey. Ensuring there is suitable technology in place so people can communicate effectively is paramount, but rather than limiting this technology to online scoring, it should be an integral part of the organisation. Whether people work remotely, in one large workspace or spread across the globe, careful attention should be paid to the communication methods that allow them to work collaboratively.

The strategic leadership team needs to facilitate this by being very clear about the culture they want to create. An organisation that delivers a luxury service but expects employees to work in a dilapidated environment will never achieve positive engagement results, neither will financial services that operate outdated technology riddled with bugs, or creative agencies that impose strict dress codes. Company culture and communication methods need to be measured against strategic business goals to ensure that they accurately reflect the service or product they offer – if they don’t, people face a daily uphill battle in their roles, and will never feel fulfilled.

Strong leadership teams should consistently promote and celebrate successes and look for positive and constructive ways to tackle negative issues, with a strong focus on wellbeing initiatives. Positive leadership traits should be instilled in managers across the board, and it must be an organisational goal to create a culture where trust flourishes and suspicion is stamped out.

People can feel isolated even when they’re surrounded by colleagues, and if they’re not having the conversations they need to deliver results or develop personally, engagement scoring will reflect this. We need a 360 degree approach to creating a positive culture where everyone feels valued and has the opportunity to provide feedback about their roles and feel comfortable enough to be honest about that feedback.

An organisation whose values reflects its services, whose leaders ask questions about their teams’ roles, the challenges and the future aspirations of every individual, and who listen to the answers and deliver on promises is an organisation with a fully engaged workforce.