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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How to engage your workforce

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By Wendy Lin

If that Monday morning feeling seems to continue all week amongst your employees, then the chances are that they’re not very motivated. Now you might think that as long as they’re actually doing the job then this doesn’t matter much – but you’d be wrong. Very wrong.

There are now over 29 separate studies proving that an engaged workforce benefits the companies they work for in a multitude of ways. These include greatly improved staff retention, customer service, increased sales and profit, and quality of work. What’s not to like? So read on to find out how to motivate your employees for the good of your company.

Reduce the working week

Although this sounds debilitating to a company, studies show that reducing working hours actually increases productivity. Research has also found that on average 64% of employees waste an hour per day of working time, while 14% waste a whopping three hours.* Reducing the hours spent at the office then, ensures your workforce use their time productively. Not only that, but a greater work-life balance allows employees to spend time with families, enjoy leisure pursuits and reduce stress, resulting in a happier harder working team!

Ideas schemes

Companies from John Lewis to the Ministry of Defence have reaped the benefits of setting up ideas schemes, and statistics show that it can be lucrative. £156 million has been created in the UK through ideas schemes over three years.* Not only can it increase your revenue in terms of new product or cost savings ideas, ideas schemes have also been proven to increase employee engagement. Employees who are able to contribute in meaningful ways to a company feel valued, and as such, are happier, more productive and less likely to take time off or leave their job. Ideas schemes can be implemented through a cardboard box system, but ideas are more easily managed and implemented though the use of innovation management software.

Motivate with training and appraisals

No employee wants to be stuck in a rut, so actively encouraging them to aspire to success within your organisation will reap great rewards for the company, as well as the employee. Make sure that appraisals are a two way conversation, and encourage staff to open up about the positions they would like to see themselves in. You can then go about facilitating the training they require and help them achieve.

Involve the workforce

Employees who feel they have a vested interest in a company are far more likely to be engaged. The John Lewis partnership, where staff are rewarded through a share of the company provides a great example of this. It doesn’t have to be financial however. Keeping employees informed of where the company is going and what it is doing, as well as encouraging staff interaction with bosses and managers goes a long way to increasing a sense of responsibility and engagement at work. The very least you can do is be honest – keeping employees in the dark about changes is bad practice. So always aim for an open and forthright culture.

About the author: Wendy Lin enjoys her quiet life in the countryside of Reading, UK. When she is not traveling with her private consultancy company, she is spending time with her family and dogs.

Image license: Lusi, RGBStock royalty free