Thanks to increased everyday workloads, digital distractions, growing stress levels and evolving client demands, team engagement and motivation levels can wither. Employees are increasingly looking for a holistic approach to how organisations partner with their team members, meaning the overall experience is more important than ever if businesses want to maintain and develop their people.
So how can employers enhance team engagement levels?
A phenomenon that has withstood the test of time, mentorship schemes can provide a number of significant benefits for your firm, both for your junior and more senior members of your team. It is often said that 80 per cent of all learning is informal, meaning that mentoring should be considered essential when looking to keep your staff engaged, regardless of seniority.
Mentoring can also help to improve team satisfaction levels; the Journal of Vocational Behaviour highlights that people who have the opportunity to participate in a mentorship scheme report greater job satisfaction and a higher commitment to their employers.
You can even use technology to help bring this to life, by mentoring across virtual meeting rooms such as Google Meet and Skype to help encourage cross-location communications.
Knowing what’s needed
According to research from HR software firm Breathe, 30 per cent of the UK workforce have never had meetings about their personal development, a figure that is quite shocking, particularly as 75 per cent of employees believe personal development to be very valuable.
However, reviewing development and conducting appraisals should be more than just a tick-box exercise. To truly engage your staff, you need to understand what they want and what your business is able to offer them, and be able to identify key areas for training, not for compliance sake or to meet industry-specific guidelines, but for true personal and professional development.
Showing some appreciation
While many individuals will begin their professional journey as highly engaged and motivated, it’s important to encourage this attitude continuously for their benefit and that of your business. One way to do this is through employee recognition schemes. This doesn’t always have to be a monetary reward, but internal recognition in team communications or a small prize can help to drive the employee experience and show them they are valued.
According to a 2015 survey cited by the Harvard Business Review, seven out of 10 employees who received appreciation for their work said they were happy with their jobs, in comparison with 39 per cent who hadn’t received recognition.
Development does wonders
Introducing an effective training and development programme is a brilliant way to both strengthen your workforce and ensure your employees feel valued, by demonstrating that you consider them and their abilities a worthy investment. Organisations that promote development typically have higher staff retention rates thanks to their nurturing approach. Research has shown that firms offering employees continuous learning opportunities will improve staff satisfaction, as it shows dedication to their personal and career development.
Additionally, a study by IBM revealed that 84 per cent of employees at the best-performing organisations are receiving the training they require – an aspirational example for others.
Building strong relationships
A professional network will be important to your employees throughout the course of their careers. After all, the importance of building strong peer-to-peer relationships and professional connections cannot be ignored. This is because they can help to develop a shared understanding with a wider range of industry and business-specific knowledge.
Professional connections can be built through various methods such as public training courses or networking events, both of which can help to enhance confidence levels in an external environment. Networking opportunities can provide a great sounding board for additional advice and sharing experiences, and can also help to create a sense of belonging within a chosen industry.
Over the course of their careers, your teams will develop enormously both personally and professionally, and it’s key that they remain engaged and encouraged to ensure they do not lose focus on key business goals and their role within these. Above all, it’s important that your team has the time and space to allow them to thrive in their roles. Not only will this benefit them as individuals, nurturing a talented workforce, but it can also help improve your businesses’ retention levels and overall productivity.
Jody Tranter is head of Kaplan Altior