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What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is about creating a high performing workforce, where your employees care about your organisation, and strongly believe in your mission, purpose and values.
Engagement isn’t just about how happy or satisfied your employees are – just because they’re happy at work doesn’t always mean that they are working productively. Engaged employees have an emotional commitment to working towards your goals – they aren’t just working for a pay check or promotion.

It’s clear that employee engagement goes beyond simple job satisfaction and motivation. Your employees need to engage for success, all working towards something they truly believe in.
Westfield Health Human Resources and Wellbeing Manager, Vicky Walker, explains why an employee engagement strategy is important, how to establish a culture of employee engagement within your organisation, and outlines 5 top actionable tips to engage employees.

Our top 5 actionable employee engagement tips

1. It’s not always about money
Employee engagement activities don’t always require a significant financial investment. It’s more about taking the time to listen to your staff so that they feel seen, heard and recognised. By taking the time to talk to your people, you can gain valuable insight into how making simple changes in the office environment can increase engagement and boost morale, and a lot of these ideas require little to no financial investment.

2. Give staff flexibility
Allowing staff to be flexible about their working hours can often mean that they are less stressed at work because they have a more positive work-life balance, and in return employees are more productive and engaged.

If family life is impacting on employee productivity and performance, then it’s important that you listen to your staff, taking into account the changing demands of modern working life, and then develop your policy on flexible working accordingly. Not offering suitable ways of flexible working can lead to leaveism, where employees work outside of hours and during annual leave, and often they can become burnt out with stress as a result.

3. Look after your employees physical health
The mental health and physical health of your staff are equally important and you need to actively support the overall health and wellbeing of your people. The obvious benefit to this is that healthier employees are absent less often, so by encouraging and promoting a healthy workforce you are reducing sickness absence and making substantial cost savings.

Healthy employees are also more motivated at work, at less risk of long term illness and recover more quickly if they do become sick. Promoting healthy living by providing resources and encouraging healthy eating habits such as encouraging staff to drink water and providing free fruit. In winter months, you could consider providing staff with a flu jab to help prevent winter illness.
You can also provide your staff with a health cash plan to help cover their medical costs, and gain access to treatment and screenings faster should they need it.

4. Support mental health
With mental health issues affecting 1 in 4 of us in the UK each year, it’s increasingly important that workplaces are offering the right support and taking a positive approach to mental health awareness. When your employees know that they can comfortably discuss issues relating to their mental health, they are more likely to be engaged.

Line managers are best placed to spot potential signs of employees who are struggling. Offering mental health training, such as Mental Health First Aid, to line managers enables them to spot the early signs and take action. Being able to provide early intervention means that you are able to offer the right support to your staff before things escalate, which can often turn into long term sickness absence.

It’s also important that staff know how to support employees who are suffering with mental ill health, and that HR staff are familiar with best practice when carrying out a mental health related return to work plan.

5. Mindfulness and exercise classes
Stress can affect us all and it’s important that employees know how to deal with stress, and that they feel they can reach out for support if things do get too much. Being stressed at work can have an extremely negative effect on engagement, so offering stress-busting resources and workshops is a great way to help your staff deal with and prevent stress.

At Westfield Health, employees can take part in yoga sessions twice a week, plus a weekly exercise class with a personal trainer. We also offer on-site massages and provide a series of expert-led workshops each month, covering specific topics from managing stress to developing motivation and confidence.
Amongst other benefits, these workshops and sessions help staff to relax and overcome stress which can be detrimental to not just engagement, but also to productivity and performance and most importantly their health.

It’s also important for employees to stay active at work to combat the sedentary office lifestyle, which has been proven to have detrimental effects on our health regardless of how much we exercise outside of work.
Creating a culture of employee engagement inevitably means happy customers. By listening to your staff and investing time and effort into employee engagement, you are creating a higher level of service and higher customer satisfaction, which leads to increased sales and higher levels of profit. However, more importantly this leads to a happy and loyal workforce full of employees who share the organisation’s mission, purpose and goals.

Your organisation’s success depends on your people. It’s about taking your people with you on your journey and in return they will be more productive, loyal and engaged.

If you want to find out more about supporting your staff through health and wellbeing, and learn more about the exclusive Westfield Health offers available to you as a Chamber member, please get in touch with Sam Holdaway on 07921 067 858 or at sholdaway@westfieldhealth.com.

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