It’s commonsense, backed by research, that if staff feel engaged they’ll work harder. Rather than watching the clock they’ll be keen to get on with the task at hand and do it to the best of their abilities. Academic types like to call this “discretionary effort” and it’s in the interest of every business to get a slice of it.
Naomi Simson from Red Balloon Days says making sure an employee is engaged is not the same as making sure they’re happy. Often managers will spend a lot of time trying to make sure your workforce is having a good time, often to the detriment of productivity.
Key to engagement is the feeling of involvement. In large organisations that means effective internal communications is vital. Darren Briggs remembers the old days of the staff newspapers that went largely unread. Today, multiple channels can be used, but what’s important is the message itself. Each message, he says, needs to be inspiring.
Most companies — perhaps yours included — don’t see engagement as an issue. How do you know, says Rodney Gray, if you don’t measure it? He believes benchmarking and constant research is essential to understand the impact internal communication is having on the workforce. Yet most companies don’t do it, or don’t do it well.