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How do I engage employees?

March 23, 2010

A recent Global Workforce Survey by an American recruitment company has concluded that the recession has drawn bosses and their employees closer together. They report that up to 28% of respondents (depending on age and location) felt more loyal to their organisations. The reasons cited for this change were more positive management, good company morale and more active communication from management. The study also asked what would make people more committed and the main factor (selected by 51%) was 'more interesting and challenging work.

The authors of the report suggest that it's the recession that has led management to start communicating more have built higher levels of trust. As long as this effort to engage with employees continues, they believe, the workforce will remain more committed and focused.

An interesting slant on the recession. But if you think about it the economic situation is a side issue: what these data seem to be telling us is that better quality interaction between managers and their people will lead employees to be more trusting of employers. It's also saying that employees will become more engaged if their jobs are more interesting and challenging. Not the most earth shattering conclusion, clearly, and not really much to do with the recession. But sensible, of course.

What this is telling us, yet again, that the basics of engagement aren't difficult and we don't need a global study to tell us what to do, recession or no recession. Interact with your people, listen to what they say about their life and work in your organisation, keep them up to date with what's going on in the business and make sure that you're doing all you can to give them interesting, stimulating work.

This means keeping in touch with them and regular engagement / opinion surveys are one of the best ways to do this. Respond positively by acknowledging what you've heard, and keep communicating.

Yes, pay and benefits are important, as are good working conditions. But it's the quality of relationships between management and the workforce which are key.

Time and again we find that organisations who use the survey feedback process to keep a finger on the pulse of the workforce - and then actively respond to the feedback they receive - are able to drive a steady increase in employee engagement, year on year. And we've got plenty of cases to prove it.

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