Are you getting the best out of your employees?

A recent study from Aon Hewitt revealed that among 250 international organizations, those that reported the highest levels of employee engagement demonstrated a 58% higher return for shareholders. With results like this, employee engagement seems to be the key to a successful company. However, a similar report by the Hay Group revealed that low employee engagement is costing the UK £340bn per year. As many as 8% of employees surveyed identified themselves as “completely demotivated” with another 24% identifying as “coasting.

It's no surprise that the more employees are engaged the more they will put in. High rates of employee engagement impact upon performance, profitability, retention rates, levels of sickness absence and so on. If I put my employment lawyer hat on, it has always been clear to me that legal risk is significantly reduced where high engagement is achieved (happy people tend not to sue you!).

So how do you maximise engagement? There is no one simple answer. Of the advice in the Guardian article below, I would put my money on 'Call Forth the Best in Others'. It is all about understanding the people around you, valuing their contribution, appreciating their differences (we are all different after all!), providing good support and not applying a one-size fits all management model. If you are to build meaningful relationships in the workplace the most crucial element of all is trust. If people think more carefully about how they can build and maintain trust, conversations about engagement and getting the best out of people will not only feel more natural but are also more likely to deliver results. What you do and say (and how you do and say it) has a huge impact. People also observe how you respond to situations and take note of the small stuff. For example, if your team see that you always make a personal effort with each and everyone of them, it can go a long way to building rapport and creating trust.

There is no 'one right answer' to employee engagement - but thinking more carefully about it is a good place to start.

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