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12 Steps To Creating A Culture Of Engagement

Sep 19, 2023

The rise of remote working and the growing adoption of hybrid working, has thrown a virtual spanner in the works of creating a culture of engagement.

"It’s a Holy Grail for the corporate world – a healthy work culture".

A culture of engagement is fundamental to the success of an organisation. 

Having a culture of engagement creates more than just engaged employees. It can also increase productivity, enhance employee wellbeing, and better align employee behaviours with company goals.

The health of a company's culture and employee engagement is influenced by a combination of factors, such as its recruitment practices, messaging from management and the effectiveness of team-building activities. While these methods may seem straightforward, the rise of remote working has changed how a culture of engagement is established and maintained. 

For insights on how to effectively create a culture of engagement, read our 12 simple steps.

What is a culture of engagement?

A culture of engagement refers to an organisational environment where employees are not only deeply involved, but also motivated, and committed to their work and the organisation.

This environment is characterised by high levels of employee engagement, resulting in increased employee satisfaction, motivation, and a sense of belonging.

Both company culture and employee engagement play a central role in an organisation’s culture of engagement. 

What is company culture?

Company culture lies at the heart of all organisations. It refers to the values, attitudes and behaviours that are demonstrated by both leadership teams and junior employees on a regular basis.

Company culture shapes the employee experience and plays a significant role in attracting and retaining employees, as well as driving performance and productivity.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement refers to the emotional and behavioural connections that employees have towards their organisation. 

Engaged employees are committed to their organisation and show enthusiasm to their role. By being motivated and committed, engaged employees tend to have a higher job satisfaction rate, which in turn, can have a significant influence on an organisation’s performance.

Why is workplace culture important?

A healthy workplace culture is important because it contributes to an enhanced employee experience and can increase employee wellbeing and retention rates.

Just some of the advantages of having a positive workplace culture include:

Improved employee engagement and productivity

A healthy workplace culture considers and reacts to the needs of employees. In doing so, it fosters an environment where employees are engaged, motivated and satisfied. 

Research has shown that nearly six out of ten employees are ‘quietly quitting’ which means that employees are quitting work on a psychological level. When you factor in those who are actively disengaged, the collective impact of disengaged employees on the global economy amounts to $8.8 trillion dollars, or 9% of global GDP.

These figures highlight the economic implications of company culture, showing the importance to companies of creating and maintaining a healthy culture of engagement.

Increased employee retention

Employee engagement goes beyond just enhancing productivity; it can also increase employee motivation and satisfaction. This, in turn, can increase employee retention rates. 

Research has shown that there is a correlation between employee engagement levels and turnover rates. Teams with lower engagement experience turnover rates 18 - 43% higher than those of highly engaged teams. 

This highlights the importance of creating a healthy employee culture. Workplaces that prioritise employee engagement can benefit from increased employee wellbeing and lower turnover rates, both of which are factors in the success of an organisation.

How does remote working impact company culture?

Remote working can create both positive and negative effects on company culture. On one hand, it offers increased flexibility and improved work-life balance. However, it can pose challenges for employee wellbeing.

While remote working may present challenges when it comes to creating a thriving workplace culture, it is important to acknowledge that a company culture is a living, breathing presence that's underpinned by a consistent set of principles that allows it to flourish even in the shift in working environment. 

The key to creating a thriving workplace culture in a time of remote working is to balance the positives of remote working with strategies to combat the challenges.

How to create a culture of engagement

While there is no set way to create a culture of engagement, here are our 12 steps, based on the BI WORLDWIDE New Rules of Engagement Research, you should follow to help your culture thrive:

1. Give employees meaning in their role

Rule: Give it meaning

A quality that is shared by organisations with high employee engagement is that their employees understand how their job fits in with the overall mission.

Research has found that 9 out of 10 people are willing to accept a lower salary for more meaningful work, whereas tasks that lack significance lead to disengagement. Through cultivating a sense of importance, employees become more motivated and content in their roles, which can increase productivity and create an organisational culture of engagement.

To understand your organisation’s stance, consider whether your employees understand their purpose. If they don’t, take the time to explain and demonstrate to them how their role forms a crucial part of the overall business strategy.

2. Deploy a recognition and reward programme

Rule: Magnify their success

Employee recognition doesn't just celebrate successes; it fuels company culture and engagement. 

By appreciating the efforts shown by employees, you show a genuine interest in them. This not only ensures that desired behaviours and organisational victories are repeated, but research suggests that employees who are recognised are twice as likely to drive innovation.

Simple thank-you notes and firm-wide award ceremonies are just two ways you can build a culture of recognition as a means to boost employee engagement and empowerment.

3. Use 1-1s to have meaningful conversations

Rule: Make it personal

Having meaningful conversations and a genuine understanding of individual employees can significantly improve employee engagement.

By having meaningful conversations with your employees, you can gain insights into their work preferences, aspirations, and abilities. Additionally, making time for these conversations shows that you genuinely care and it gives you time to address any factors which may be causing disengagement. In fact, research has shown that individuals who have fewer 1:1s are more likely to be disengaged.

By making the effort to have meaningful conversations with each team member, you can create engaged employees who are motivated and committed to the success of the organisation.

4. Form bonds between teammates

Rule: Unite them

Employees are more likely to go the extra mile if they feel that their colleagues share this same sense of commitment.

With the rise of remote working, the need to foster collaboration has become even more important. Make sure you’re always looking for fresh ways to promote interaction and inclusion.

When did your company last do some form of team building or off-site experience day? Virtual hangouts are also a great alternative for creating and maintaining connections in a hybrid workplace.

5. Empower individuals to make decisions

Rule: Let them lead

Empowerment is pivotal in improving employee culture and engagement.

However, true empowerment within an organisation goes beyond just providing employees with a platform to express their ideas. Rather, true empowerment is when these ideas are considered and supported, even if they don't go to plan.

Consider creating an environment that promotes problem-solving and idea sharing to fuel innovation. Offer training to managers to ensure they can display empathy when mistakes happen. Similarly, you can empower employees by introducing a diverse committee that reflects your workforce and acts on its behalf.

Through fostering an environment of idea sharing and empathy, a company culture of employee engagement can be created as individuals feel more satisfied and empowered in their work.

6. Foster a sense of belonging in the workplace

Rule: Foster belonging

Fostering a sense of belonging within an organisation is the strongest driver of employee engagement.

When employees feel connected and have a space in the conversation, regardless of their background, they are more likely to have a positive perception of an organisation. This positivity can significantly enhance their level of engagement.

A sense of belonging can be nurtured through a variety of means, including the job description, onboarding process, and internal practices. A well-thought-out job description and a considered, tailored onboarding process can establish a sense of connectedness from the outset. Additionally, making it clear how a role aligns with the company vision, encouraging inclusion through social events and recognising positive contributions are further ways to make employees feel valued.

7. Listen to, and act on, employee feedback

Rule: Be boldly transparent

Embracing the ideas of employees not only shapes the future vision, but enhances employee engagement.

Ensuring that employees feel heard creates a sense of openness, creativity, and idea-sharing. Provide employees with a platform to express themselves, whether that’s through suggestion boxes or town hall meetings. 

Recognise whose ideas are adopted to show employees that they have influence within the organisation. This act of acknowledgement makes workers feel valued, which is a significant factor in employee engagement.

8. Create and promote personal development opportunities

Rule: Realise their potential

Encouraging employees to learn and develop not only allows them to reach their potential, but it can also nurture the growth of an organisation. In fact, 94% of employees stated that they would remain with a company if the company invested in their career development.

As well as offering essential role-based training, it is important to offer development opportunities geared to an individual’s broader needs. Whether that’s online tutorials, work shadowing or personal development vouchers that can be used to pursue a hobby or interest.

By empowering workers to realise their full potential you can create an environment where individuals feel valued and supported which can ultimately enhance engagement.

9. Actively discuss future career paths

Rule: See their future

Organisations that actively assist employees to chart their future within the organisation will be rewarded with their best work.

Career paths rarely follow a straight line and can include lateral moves. Therefore, it is important to gauge interest in internal opportunities. The ideal candidate could be right under your nose, happy at the company but seeking a new challenge. Meeting their interest with encouragement and training could prove fruitful for both parties, with research suggesting that employees are 75% more likely to remain at an organisation if they could make an internal move.

Having a clear understanding of career aspirations ensures that individual career paths are aligned with the overall company vision. This, in turn, creates engaged employees who feel valued and an employee culture centred around development and achievement.

10. Create a healthy work-life balance through flexible working

Rule: Help them thrive

In order to improve company culture and employee engagement, it is important to recognise that work, personal life, and health are inextricably connected.

Organisations and managers that actively encourage and demonstrate support for work-life balance are more likely to thrive. Research has even found that in 2021/22, 36.8 million working days were lost in the UK due to work-related illness and workplace injury.

Introducing practices like flexible working hours and initiatives such as days off for birthdays, gym discounts, on-site massages and volunteer days can all contribute to an improved work-life.

These initiatives do more than just enhance employee wellbeing; they can also create a healthy company culture that values, supports and motivates employees. 

11. Challenge employees with meaningful objectives

Rule: Challenge them

Your best employees are likely to be eager to accomplish something extraordinary, so why not challenge them with objectives and KPIs?

Not only do ambitious objectives and targets trigger innovation and high performance, but they also empower employees to surpass their own expectations. By exceeding their own expectations and knowing you have full confidence in their abilities, employees will be motivated and driven to take on similar challenges in the future.

By placing trust in the talent of your team, you can foster engagement and create a motivated workforce that feels appreciated and valued.

12. Make money a non-issue for employees

Rule: Make money a non-issue

When it comes to creating engaged employees, monetary rewards only get you so far. While money matters, it is not everything, and mishandling this can magnify the issue.

To enhance employee culture, understand the motivators for each individual. Demonstrating genuine interest in the wellbeing of your workers fosters a sense of connection. When you also address their motivators, it not only improves employee engagement but can also increase motivation, satisfaction, and overall well-being.

Understanding what motivates the individual is key to engaging them. Are they more interested in:

  • Personal development
  • Having responsibility
  • Achieving great results
  • Job security

Frequent catch-ups can offer insight into what makes employees tick. As well as pay reviews, schedule more regular general reviews to capture their non-cash drivers.

Improve your company culture and employee engagement with BI WORLDWIDE

Of course, some of the steps for creating a culture of engagement are quicker wins than others. But by investing the time, effort, and sometimes money into introducing and maintaining the 12 steps, you’re well on your way to engaging with your employees and creating a positive experience that, in parallel with other factors, can help your company culture to flourish.

At BI WORLDWIDE, we specialise in creating specialised employee engagement programmes that are tailored to the individual needs of your business and your employees.

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