It probably goes without saying, but having happy, engaged employees will contribute to the success of your business. In the busyness of the day, employee engagement can often be put on the back burner. However, addressing employee engagement should not be a monumental task. In fact, it can often be as simple as sitting down and having a quick chat or cup of coffee with an employee. While overall compensation may play a role as to whether or not an employee stays with your organization, the degree to which an employee feels engaged will have a significant impact on retention. On the other hand, some unengaged employees will not seek other employment. In this situation, presenteeism – where the employee is physically at work but is otherwise “checked out” – will set in. This obviously leads to lack of productivity and will contribute to low morale. In other words, lack of employee engagement is a lose-lose scenario.

It is important to occasionally assess the engagement of your employees. For example, conducting a survey on a periodic basis (for example, annual or bi-annual) will give you a baseline for employee engagement and will also let you know if you are improving in this area or not. Follow-up measures can be implemented as needed.

Below are a few tips for creating a more engaged workforce:

• Meet with employees on a regular basis. This will help to build rapport with staff and will increase their feeling of connectivity to the organization.
• Involve employees in projects, etc. that are of interest to them, even if there is not a direct link to their current role. Growth opportunities and variety = happy employees.
• Be objective in your actions involving employees. People are pretty quick to pick up on behaviour that indicates preferential treatment.
• Although not all information can or should be shared with all staff, be as transparent as possible. This will be helpful in building trust.
• Where appropriate, empower staff in the decision-making process. As well, give staff the opportunity to provide feedback on new initiatives, activities, etc.

The above suggestions are just a few ways to increase employee engagement. While these initiatives are essentially cost-free and a small investment in time, the benefits that engaged employees can provide to your company will have a positive impact to your bottom line. Also, highly engaged employees are great from a public relations perspective – they will let family and friends know what a great company they work for, which is beneficial from both recruitment and marketing perspectives.

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