5 things to consider for your employee engagement strategy in 2024

26th March 2024

Your employees are at the heart of your business, so supporting their ability to thrive should be a top priority. But, despite this, research by Gartner has found just 31% of employees reported being engaged, enthusiastic and energised by their work last year.  

With employees and job seekers campaigning for better work conditions in recent years, so much positive change is already in motion. However, it’s clear that some firms are not taking the right approach to employee engagement.  

Having an engaged and enthusiastic workforce is crucial to driving all areas of the business, including colleague attrition and motivation, customer satisfaction, and a happier and healthier corporate culture. Not to mention, research by Deloitte has found that companies with highly engaged employees experience 2.3x the revenue growth of their competitors with low engagement levels. 

In this month’s blog, I’ll be discussing how to spot the signs of low employee engagement rates and 5 key questions to consider, to keep your teams raring to go.  

What are the signs of low employee engagement rates? 

The first, and most obvious, sign of low employee engagement rates is lower productivity levels that last. While ebbs and flows every now and again can be normal, if it lasts longer-term, it’s something you’ll want to address.  

However, there are many other more subtle signs to pick up on whether your workforce is mentally clocking out. These include: 

An increase in mistakes 

Employees who are disengaged are likely feeling drained. And with research by Deloitte and Workplace Intelligence reporting that burnout can lead to exhaustion, stress & overwhelm, and even mental health disorders like depression and anxiety, it’s far more likely for your disengaged employees to make mistakes.  

A strong resistance to change

Whether it’s implementing new processes to comply with regulatory change, or rejigging how things are done internally, when employees are already unengaged, you’ll find they’ll be most resistant to change.  

This is because if they’re already feeling fed up, they’ll be more inclined to look at change from a disruptive point of view, rather than see it for the benefits it’ll bring. And we all know, without employee buy-in, you’ll struggle to make sustainable change. 

A disinterest in corporate contributions

When an employee gets to a disengaged state, they’re unlikely to want to do much to contribute to the corporate culture within your business—most likely, because they’re planning to leave it soon! 

Although attending social events isn’t on everyone’s agenda, disengaged colleagues may begin showing less of an investment in the company—whether that’s through skipping events they used to be enthusiastic about attending or being resistant to help others. As many corporate contributions aren’t compulsory, disinterest in them can be harder to spot.   

An unwillingness to problem-solve 

If an employee is already feeling drained by their job, they’re likely to home in on the negatives more closely. And this will become obvious when they’re faced with problems at work. 

Instead of looking for a solution, they’re likely to hyperfocus on the inconvenience of the problem in the first place, making it unlikely for a quick resolution. While this can of course have damaging impacts on your business, it could also negatively affect the employee’s self-esteem and confidence at work, so needs to be addressed delicately.  

5 things to consider for your employee engagement strategy 

Keeping your employees happy and engaged is the right thing to do as a leader and when done well, it can bring commercial benefits to the overall business. So, treating employee engagement as a tick-box exercise can do more harm than good.  

Although people differ in their needs and expectations at work, there is some common ground across most workforces. So, consider asking yourself questions like:

1. Are you carrying out regular performance and career development reviews?

One of the top reasons that employees reach a stage of demotivation and disengagement is due to a lack of career progression, with statistics from Zippia finding that 76% of employees are looking for opportunities to expand their careers.  

Neglecting to find out what your colleagues’ personal work goals are, and not helping them to set a plan of how they’ll achieve these can therefore be detrimental to the engagement of your team. To combat this, team leaders should be regularly scheduling in 1:1 meetings with each team member to discuss their performance and goals, and to establish a clear route with actionable steps of how to get there.

2. Are you emphasising the importance of learning and development?

With statistics from Ciphr finding that nearly a third (28%) of people won’t apply for a job with an employer that doesn’t invest in training and development, failing to do so can mean you miss out on attracting great talent—and drive current employees out of your business.  

Blocking out a set time in your teams’ calendars each week can ensure they properly dedicate their time to enhancing their skills in line with their aspirations. You could even use this hour to gather your team to have a training session together. 

3. Are you advertising roles internally first?

Nothing can be more demotivating than working hard towards a new role, and seeing the company you work for go straight to the external job boards to advertise it instead. Although you may want to welcome new talent into the business, advertising roles internally first helps to boost a sense of community and value and gives those already within the business, an opportunity to grow alongside it. 

But, with research from The Josh Bersin Company and AMS finding that internal hiring rates have fallen to their lowest rate in years—to 24%, down from 40% in 2020—firms clearly aren’t realising the impact it can have on employee engagement. This is a simple action, and while it won’t solve the issue of employee disengagement on its own, it can certainly help. 

4. Are you committed to fair pay?

Competitive pay has become somewhat of a buzzword within the jobs market, with many firms using it to attract talent. But this isn’t enough for modern-day job seekers who are committed to working exclusively for companies that have good morals and operate ethically. It’s now all about fair pay—and rightly so. 

There are a few ways leaders can ensure fair pay for all employees. These include: 

  • Avoiding salary disparities before taking on new hires 
  • Reviewing any employee compensation or bonuses on a regular basis 
  • Disclosing salary ranges for different positions and levels 
  • Creating panels to review salary increases in line with performance 
  • Setting pay equivalent to the work performed, rather than to titles

5. Is your benefits package inclusive and appealing?

Don’t get caught up with the idea of replicating perks packages you see other successful firms offering without asking your people first-hand what they would value from their benefits package. For example, while you may offer fantastic maternity and paternity policies for your colleagues who are expecting mothers and fathers, if you’ve got a high number of junior colleagues, you’ll need to find a perk that appeals to them also—whether this is flexible working, or access to a good discounts platform. 

Prioritising employee engagement is something that should be on every leader’s agenda this year. Not only can it help to boost your business, but making your people feel valued and respected in the workplace is the right thing to do.  

Here at Davies, we are big on our people—that’s why I’ve made it one of the core pillars in our new ESG report. You can find out more about it in my previous blog: People, Planet, Purpose: Introducing our new ESG strategy, or stay tuned for more of my monthly ESG blogs where I’ll be delving deeper into the topics covered in our report.   

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