How to engage employees so they deliver their best

August 2019

There’s a lot of evidence out there about why job satisfaction is key to driving productivity. With only 13% of employees around the world engaged at work, it’s time for employers to take action.

Employee happiness and business success are linked. According to Forbes, the stock prices of businesses on Fortune’s 100 ‘Best Companies to Work For’ list rose 14% a year between 1998 and 2005. That’s compared to just a 6% stock price increase of those not on the list. The link isn’t difficult to decipher. When employees feel satisfied at work and supported by their employers, they’re more likely to work hard. When employees are working hard and productively, a business is more likely to enjoy success. Simple. But what makes employees feel fulfilled and engaged at work? Is it simply a love for their roles or something more profound?

Positive reputation

Over two million people apply to work at Google. Why? Because it’s a well-known company with a reputation for being innovative and an enjoyable place to work. Reputation is the key word here. Employees who feel proud to work at their company are more likely to make an effort. In a research poll, 96% said it was important for a company to have a good reputation to apply for a job. If a company has a good reputation, it’s far more likely to attract the people who are motivated by the work it does and its aims, rather than those who simply want a job. A good reputation isn’t just down to having a big company with a recognisable brand. It’s about being known as a good place to work – which can be just as compelling for an SME as it is for an international business.

Companies have to practise what they preach to build a good reputation. If they want to be seen as good employers, they need to support staff with opportunities, recognition and rewards. They should also work on creating a ‘human’ brand – one that people can relate to. Even simply having a succinct and engaging mission statement can attract and motivate employees.

Happy employees = happy customers

There’s a reason why companies with happier employees are shown to have 147% more earnings per share than their competitors. It’s likely to have something to do with customer satisfaction. When employees are happy, they’re more engaged, positive and enthusiastic. Their demeanour will be more welcoming and they’re more likely to go the extra mile for customers. Happy employees may also build stronger relationships with customers, helping to retain them. Your employees deliver real value when they become brand ambassadors. A Gallup survey found that only 41% of employees strongly agreed they knew what their company stands for and its USP. Whether you’re selling a new software or stationery, your employees should know why yours are best. It could be value for money, bespoke options or just great quality. Take the time to train employees about products. Give them samples to use themselves and show them the alternatives on the market.

Friendships at work are good for productivity

Humans need friendships – they are said to boost self-esteem, lend support and help us move out of our comfort zones. Studies suggest that people who have close friendships at work are seven times more likely to engage fully with their work. Given that we spend 37.5 hours a week with other people, it is understandable why we benefit from having a companion to share our worries, woes and sense of humour with. Businesses can foster friendships in the workplace. From organising social outings to providing communal areas for lunch and after-work drinks; these are simple ways to make the workplace more friend-ly. Two of our Fora workspaces have restaurants for friends to enjoy a meal, as well as for hosting clients. All of them have designated places where people can chat over a drink. It’s about encouraging friendship without making it feel forced, which can have the opposite effect and make people withdraw.

Taking the pressure off outside of work

93% of employees admit to doing their personal admin tasks at work. There is a question mark over whether this is because they’re not engaged at work or they find their home life too demanding. Switched on employers will encourage open conversations with their team to find out more about their pressures outside of work. If their staff are stressed by their home-life tasks, they may allow more flexibility to help people tackle them, such as letting people start and leave work an hour later. Another option may be to give people an extra free hour they can take any time during the week to do some tasks.

Keeping employees active and motivated

Exercise is known to motivate people and improve mood by releasing the happy chemicals, endorphins. Despite the benefits, 37% of people in the UK admit to doing less than one session of vigorous physical exercise a month. The same study cited a lack of time as the main reason for not getting active.

Employers can help their team to feel more alert by helping them do exercise. Some provide showers to make it possible for people to get washed after exercising during lunch breaks. Others offer gym memberships as part of salary sacrifice schemes, which make it easier for people to attend gyms close to work. At Fora, we help people enjoy a work-life balance with our wellness suites. They are small gyms with some free weights, cardio machines, mats and resistance bands. It means people can fit in exercise around work.

Uplift your surroundings

A final way for employers to boost mood at work is by improving the setting. 76% of people in a workplace survey said they valued their surroundings. All it takes is a few changes. A fresh lick of neutral paint can help light bounce around a room, while plants clean the air and provide some welcome colour. Comfortable chairs, inspiring pictures and small personal touches can all help people feel relaxed at work, which is essential for productivity.   Like the sound of these ideas? Come and see for yourself how we’ve created Fora workspaces to improve productivity and make the working day more enjoyable.