As the economy lurches out of recession and into growth, employers need to start thinking ahead and taking steps to rebuild trust and loyalty that may have been shaken during the harder years, to ensure a loyal and productive workforce.

As we leave another boom and bust cycle behind us, full of the optimism of greater sales and profits ahead, take a inure to think – how loyal are my team to my business, and if they start getting offered other jobs will they stay put, or leg it? From working with out current customers, I have noticed a real shift in conversations taking place across the meeting room table –  no longer am I being asked to plot how to help a business cut costs, but now I am being challenged with recruiting new people and retaining the current team as the war for talent starts to wind up again. As the number of vacancies continues to rise and unemployment reaches its lowest levels there is going to be a demand for good staff to fill vacancies as employers push for sales and growth, so all employers need to be seriously thinking about how to increase engagement levels in the business to ensure the staff stay put when tempting offers are put their way.

What is it?

Engagement is more of a concept than a real thing, but it basically works in the following way: Employee engagement is about discretionary effort, when you have high engagement you get lots of discretionary effort – employees doing things because they want to – e.g. staying late, taking work home, coming up with new ideas to increase efficiency and so on.  You can’t force an employee to do these things but they do it because they want to. Engagement is made up of the following factors:

  • Clear communication between managers and staff
  • Good understanding of where the company is going and how the employee fits long and short term
  • Transparent management cultures (not a lot of gossiping)
  • Clear, well communicated decisions
  • Good social relationships with colleagues
  • Opportunities to be included in what’s going on
  • Investment in training/personal development
  • Honest and regular performance reviews
  • Fair reward systems
  • Fair recognition of effort

If these are in place then employees are more likely to be loyal to the business and trust the business to look after them, preferring what they know and tryst over what maybe exciting and risky.