Research has established that employee engagement has a significant impact on a company’s bottom line. According to Gallup’s analysis in its 2017 survey, State of the Global Workplace, organisations with the highest scores for employee engagement showed 21% higher levels of profitability, an uplift of 17% in productivity and revenue growth 2.5 times greater than those in the lowest quartile. Of real concern to employers is the fact that the survey revealed that only 7% of UK employees are actively engaged at work.

Statistics like these speak for themselves, but what can employers do to improve employee engagement?

Define your culture

Studies regularly show that employees value culture above salary, so it’s crucial that employers clearly define their values and that the decisions of those managing the organisation are consistent with these values.

Conduct employee engagement surveys

It is important to benchmark engagement using metrics collected over a defined period of time. Ideally, employers should conduct surveys (or similar types of benchmarking exercises) on at least an annual or bi-annual basis in order to keep track of their progress. This ensures that employees have a voice and provides employers with valuable feedback on how its people are feeling. Keeping open and honest communication flowing between employees and managers will also help to create a culture in which people can learn and grow.

Put engagement on your agenda

Results from employee engagement surveys need to be analysed at board level and should have a strong influence on the shaping of the organisation's engagement strategy. The leadership team’s involvement in shaping such a strategy and commitment to delivering it will be a central determining factor in its success.

Train managers

Implementing or updating a leadership training programme to focus on developing and enhancing management skills will encourage leaders to listen, motivate and empower their teams. The statistics gathered in Gallup’s survey show that the relationship between manager and employee is central to engagement.

Recognition is one of the most important metrics for measuring employee engagement. Gallup found that companies can reduce staff turnover by almost 15% if managers provide continuous feedback relating to their employees’ strengths. A promotion and talent management framework is a great tool for employers to ensure transparency about what it takes to succeed within an organisation.

Invest in social events

Gallup's research has repeatedly shown the correlation between the amount of effort employees expend and their friendships in the workplace. Women who strongly agreed that they have a best friend at work are more than twice as likely to be engaged (63%) as those who don’t (29%).

It is therefore well worth employers investing time and money in encouraging teams to socialise (and work) together.

Review your benefits and incentives policy

It’s important that an organisation’s policies are fair, as well as being comparable with those of its competitors. Employers need to think about ways in which they can differentiate themselves from their competitors, perhaps by offering a more flexible approach to work in terms of flexible, home and/or agile working.

Employees are looking for employers to differentiate themselves and to ‘add value’ to the employment relationship. Organisations should consider making changes to the financial benefits that are offered to reward employees’ effort by implementing or improving upon a bonus or commission scheme. Many companies are also now considering the benefits for employee engagement of offering shares or employee ownership.