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How to engage your employees – 7 Dec 2006

Good people management is about more than just policies and procedures. It’s about understanding what really motivates people to go that extra mile for your business.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development commissioned a survey by Kingston Business School and Ipsos MORI focuses on attitudes in today’s workplaces.

The findings of the report, “Working life: employee attitudes and engagement 2006”, reveal that a motivated workforce needs line managers who recognise its needs.

It also shows that 26% of people rarely or never look forward to coming to work, 29% are dissatisfied with the opportunities they have to use their abilities, suggesting that managers are missing out on the chance to improve performance and create jobs that people enjoy. Nearly a quarter of people feel their job is very stressful, and nearly half say they face excessive pressure on a regular basis.

Our research shows that, to engage their employees, organisations need to focus on two key areas:

Management, leadership and communication

  • Keep employees informed about what is going on in the business so they have a clear understanding of what it is trying to achieve
  • Give employees regular feedback on their performance: they need to know what is expected of them and how they can improve
  • See that managers are committed to the organisation: this is key to engaging employees
  • Train your line managers to support their people, and address their training needs
  • Consult and involve employees in key decisions affecting their work.

Positive working environment

  • To raise levels of job satisfaction and improve retention rates, create opportunities for flexible working.This will also allow employees a degree of choice in terms of how they manage their work-life balance
  • Think carefully about job content – for many people a job that is meaningful is more worthwhile than a high salary
  • Foster a climate where bullying is unacceptable.

Work can be fun, challenging, stimulating, exciting and rewarding – employees should enjoy being at work, rather than regarding it as a painful necessity. A positive working environment and sound management practice are key to engaging staff and raising performance for everyone.

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