The secrets to having a highly engaged team

Less than a quarter of people have received training from their current employer
Use internal talent to train and don’t forget old-fashioned thank yous.
Only A third of UK employees are highly engaged at work. That’s according to our recent report, Employee Engagement: How British business measures up. It also revealed that line managers are the key to how engaged staff are at work. We all know managing people is no mean feat. But we’re also aware that the more engaged a member of staff is, the more productive they will be. Happy employees really do equal happy customers. So what can you do to keep your staff motivated?

ENCOURAGE DEVELOPMENT

We found that highly engaged staff have certain things in common: a manager who cares about them, someone who encourages their development, and opportunities to learn and grow.
Engaged staff feel that what they do at work makes a difference and contributes to the overall organisation. Give your employees a chance to speak their minds and be heard, allowing them to see that their work counts and makes a difference. If their ideas are implemented into the business, make sure you celebrate their actions and communicate the success across the company too.

SKILLS INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF WORK

It’s obvious that training is important in every job. However, we found that 21 per cent of people have never received training while being at their present company.
Giving opportunities to master skills regularly inside and outside of work has a huge impact on engagement. Out of the employees who had training within the last six months, 53 per cent were highly engaged with their work. Significantly, the high engagement figures drop dramatically for training taking place on a yearly (17 per cent), bi-yearly (7 per cent) and tri-yearly basis (10 per cent).
Come up with a six-monthly training plan for your employees, and communicate communicate this plan to them. If budget is an issue, look at other ways you can fulfil training needs. For example, use in-house employee skills, instead of recruiting someone externally.
It’s also important for staff to master skills outside of work, and for you to support them in doing so. These opportunities don’t even have to arise too often to have an impact – an afternoon or two off to give them a chance to learn a new skill of their choice on a yearly to bi-yearly basis will suffice.

THE VALUE OF THANK YOU

Just 18 per cent of all British employees have received a verbal thank you from their manager in the last 12 months. The research also found that, while 80 per cent of highly engaged staff received some form of reward or recognition for work well done, just 35 per cent of those who have no engagement at work received such treats.
Recognising hard work can make engagement go from moderate to high. Reward employees with something meaningful and memorable, such as a meal out or a weekend away. This will keep your employee motivated for longer as they’ll talk about their reward before, during and after the event. However, it’s important to remember that a good old fashioned handshake and a faceto-face thank you is probably one of the most rewarding things you can do – never underestimate a simple thank you.
Bill Alexander is the chief executive of Red Letter Days for Business.

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