58% of UK employees only sometimes feel appreciated at work. A further 11% never feel appreciated at all. These stark stats from our recent survey indicate that many employees are feeling underappreciated, adrift, and disengaged.
For many UK workers, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a shift in priorities. In what economists have dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’, workers are switching jobs in droves. For some, it’s to pursue a dream job or switch careers. But for many others, the decision to leave came as a result of feeling disengaged at work.
In today’s post-pandemic world, companies need to put their employees' needs first. For many workers, it’s not about obtaining higher salaries—it’s about having the flexibility, work-life balance, and professional development opportunities that make people feel excited to be at work.
It’s time to take action and focus on what employees care about. In this article, we’ll provide you with four employee engagement strategies to keep your teams feeling happy, motivated and engaged.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, UK L&D investment was lagging behind other established economies. Now, in the post-pandemic world, resources and budgets are even more stretched than before. Our survey found that 49% of respondents said L&D teams and budgets remained the same after COVID-19, with 15% having a reduced headcount and budget.
Despite having to do more with less, UK L&D leaders continue to push professional development because of the critical impact training has on employee retention. But, how should you approach the creation of a professional development programme?
Traditionally, corporate companies have opted for a top-down approach, meaning management or L&D teams determine training needs. The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t consider what employees themselves want to learn or care about as they go about their day to day work. The result? A learning culture where employees feel unappreciated.
In contrast, a Collaborative Learning approach focuses on democratised learning. With this type of culture, L&D teams can empower employees to declare their own learning needs. In practice, this means anyone on the team can make a request or create a learning need and other employees can use their unique skill set to create courses to fulfil those needs.
A democratised learning culture also empowers employees to learn about new areas of the business. This is critical during periods of change when management teams need to find new workforce strategies for post-COVID-19 recovery, as it gives people the opportunity to reinvent themselves at work by transitioning to different business functions.
As we begin to implement new workforce strategies, we also need to consider new ways to keep people connected.
Related: How L&D and Operations Can Empower Talented People to Reinvent Themselves at Work
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, everybody switched to remote working practically overnight. But as offices start to re-open, we’re facing a new challenge—hybrid work. You need to ensure your employee engagement strategies cater to distributed, remote and in-person teams.
A major part of keeping employees engaged in this new environment is setting the right format for when you do come together. You want to ensure you stay connected in a consistent way and encourage both physically present and dispersed employees to have meaningful, authentic interactions.
Asynchronous communication is one way to do just that. At 360Learning, we limit meetings and work asynchronously where possible. This helps us ensure everyone has access to the same information, and nobody is kept out of the loop, whether they’re in the office or working remotely.
Another way to connect is through the power of active learning. This approach gives learners a chance to relate what they’re learning through group interactions, applied thinking and answering questions. This permits team collaboration and in turn has a positive impact on employee engagement.
These practices can help your teams to remain present and motivated as we transition to a new way of working. If you’re looking for more tips on how to keep your teams engaged in the world of hybrid work, get your copy of our team engagement cheat sheet.
In addition to staying connected, you need to consider how your employee engagement strategy can promote a transparent and open workplace culture.
If employees don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes, they can’t fully invest themselves in their work. That’s why it’s important to encourage people to be as open and candid as possible. This supports recent findings which showed 87% of employees want to work for a company that is transparent—no water cooler talk or backdoor meetings here!
Documented processes and communication is one way we can all encourage transparency. Written communication available for the entire company to see—salaries, incentives and performance reviews included—promotes a truly transparent culture.
Another way to embody transparency is to keep meetings to a minimum. Meetings limit the level of transparency due to their ‘closed off’ format. Instead, you can consider developing an information-sharing repository using a project management tool such as Trello. For instances when meetings are a must, ensure you follow up with written details and action points that other team members can see and feedback on.
When your employees are aware of what’s going on and are given the platform to offer feedback on key business decisions, they immerse themselves in the company culture you’ve worked so hard to create. Consider transparency as one of your top employee engagement strategies and you'll reap the rewards.
One final element to your employee engagement strategy? Strengthen your culture of professional development, team connection, and transparency within your core company values.
Written communication available for the entire company to see—salaries, incentives and performance reviews included—promotes a truly transparent culture.
Dysfunctional company culture costs the UK economy a staggering £23.6 billion per year. In contrast, good company culture increases morale and relationships as well as customer satisfaction. That’s why your core values should be the heart of your company culture and clearly explained to every employee as early as possible. Consistently reaffirming your values to your teams also creates a positive work culture that encourages employees to form an emotional connection to your organisation.
At 360Learning, we distilled our distinctive practices and values into a framework: Convexity. It guides everything we do, including the journey from onboarding to ramp-up and beyond. To ensure we uphold our Convexity culture, we encourage employees to become owners of these values and find new ways to improve habits, processes and ways of working.
Embedding our values into our recognition feedback process is another way we uphold our core values. We use a feedback platform to recognise employees in how they demonstrate a core value. This keeps us accountable for living by our values every day and also enables us to publically recognise when an employee does a good job. Both of these practices significantly increase employee engagement— and they could for you too.
Lastly, building a learning organisation that aligns with your core values will have a big impact on employee engagement and retention. For UK organisations, well-developed professional development programmes have the potential to drive business growth, particularly now, when upskilling, reskilling and career mapping workforces are key initiatives.
In this article, we’ve highlighted the top four employee engagement strategies UK L&D leaders need right now. From professional development to upholding your core values, these strategies can help you offer an inspiring, stimulating, and engaging workplace environment–no matter where or how you’re working today.
As a final takeaway, it’s important to recognise that a great learning and development strategy is one of the best ways to keep your employees engaged. By investing in the long-term success of your employees, you can ensure they’ll stick around and help your business to grow and thrive.