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Engaging your employees is good for their health and your bottom line

It won’t surprise anyone to know that employees with higher levels of engagement do a better job than those who just turn up and get paid but now, a recent survey says they are also likely to be healthier than their slightly more lackluster workmates.

Results from the CIPD’s latestEmployee Outlook survey suggest a “significant link” between an employee’s engagement with their job and their well-being, showing that engaged employees score higher on the OFS “Happiness Index”.

Now, not only is that great news for the individual but it’s good news for their employers too as happier and healthier employees are not only more likely to work hard, go the extra mile and contribute positively to their team and the work environment, they are also less likely to take time off sick.

While the number of working hours lost to sickness has been slowly declining over the last five years it still stands at the equivalent of around 2.8% of working time. That might sound like a small percentage but that’s well over a week per year per employee, and that can make a huge difference to a company’s bottom line.

Summing up their report,  the CIPD said “It is in employers’ interests to be interested in the well-being of their staff – not just because they have a duty of care towards them, – but because of the link between well-being and employee engagement, as well as lower risks of accidents and lower levels of stress and absence.”

The good news for everyone is that employee engagement is on the rise. The bad news, it still only stands at 39%.

So, if you’re looking to improve employee engagement in your organisation, here are some tips based on the findings of the report:

Have strong, capable and confident leaders

One of the major things to come out of the survey was a strong link between an employee’s level of trust in their senior management and their well-being. If employees don’t trust those in charge of the company, if they don’t feel confident in the way the organisation is being managed and where it is heading, they are more likely to be worried about their own future and less likely to be engaged with that of the company.

Ask for their opinion, get them involved

Uncertainty and fear are two emotions that are guaranteed to lead to disengagement. By telling your employees what is happening and asking for their opinion you can make them feel like a valued part of the organisation, someone recognized as contributing towards the success and future of the company. It can also be a great way to dispel negative rumours or gossip that can break teams, damage internal relationships and cause all sorts of other problems.

Think about the work/life balance in a slightly different way

People talk about the work/life balance all the time, mostly because it is very important, but the debate tends to focus on things like flexible working hours and additional benefits. It’s not always about how much time is being put in or how much money you can get. Instead, maybe give some thought to providing the best and most suitable working environments, concentrating on results and productivity instead of hours and attendance and developing an understanding of your employees individual strengths and weaknesses.  If you understand what makes your employees tick it’ll be an awful lot easier to get the best out of them!

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