How to navigate employee engagement in a new business landscape and create high-performance teams
By Michael Doolin, Group Managing Director of Clover HR
There is no doubt that the business landscape in the UK looks very different than it did a few years ago. Having undergone a surge of new challenges, from Brexit and skills shortages to a global pandemic; business leaders have had to navigate many obstacles. These include evolving return-to-office policies, high employee turnover rates and a lack of skilled workers.
According to the CITB, the average employee turnover in 2023 for UK workers currently sits at a staggering 35.6%, and the Office of National Statistics reported that 13.3% of businesses in the UK are suffering from a shortage of workers, making it an extremely competitive market.
In this difficult hiring environment, business owners must take proactive measures to attract and retain staff through initiatives such as improving employee engagement and teamwork. The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology at Work, reports that an engaged employee is 87% less likely to leave their organisation. Furthermore, in a study reported by Gallup, engaged teams generate 21% more profit than their disengaged counterparts.
In order to fulfil recruitment demands and hit growth targets, businesses need to concentrate all efforts on attracting, encouraging and engaging with employees, with a focus on cultivating high-performance teams.
What is a high-performance team?
A high-performance team is a group of employees from diverse backgrounds, experiences and expertise, that come together to work toward achieving ambitious goals. These teams provide a superior working dynamic, cultivated around opinion sharing, expertise, and a drive to succeed. This enables them to tackle complex issues and unlocks the door to a wider range of potential business and new growth opportunities.
These teams provide a thriving and motivated atmosphere and are the real embodiment of the expression ‘teamwork makes the dream work’. Moreover, a good team is essential for encouraging and promoting positivity and job satisfaction. According to Gusto’s research, 37% of employees state that they stay at their workplace because of a great team.
To fuel company growth, business owners must invest in the performance of their team and ensure that they provide opportunities that facilitate collaboration. From coffee mornings and idea generation meetings to project planning and team alignment meetings; presenting opportunities for employees to work together, can be a real game changer for business success.
Engaged employees improve performance
The success of a business cannot be solely reliant on talented individuals, it must also ensure that it provides the correct work environment and processes, that can transform them into engaged and high-performing teams.
Engaged employees are key to unlocking success in regard to team performance. In fact, a recent study by Dale Carnegie study discovered that engaged employees outperform low-performing teams by more than 202%. It also indicated that highly engaged employees are 38% more likely to go above and beyond in terms of productivity, to help their team succeed.
Investing in employee engagement initiatives such as career progression opportunities and training, can instil a sense of value for employees, that their best interests and development are taken seriously, which in turn, does wonders for improving employee engagement. It is worth noting that these initiatives should be seen as a long-term investment, but, when done right, the result is a “win-win” for a company’s bottom line and the well-being of employees.
Communicate to motivate!
One of the biggest challenges facing business owners has been navigating hybrid and remote working while also effectively supporting collaboration and managing employee engagement through a screen or remote setting.
Communication is key to building engagement within individual employees and teams. Setting regular meetings to discuss personal and career development, scheduling weekly catch-up calls, and quarterly reviews can be essential tools for managing employees effectively both remotely and in the office. These meetings are also a great way to mitigate feelings of low morale, highlight any concerns and instil a personal connection between employees and the business.
Regularly showing gratitude can go a long way towards creating a positive workplace and an engaged, motivated team. It doesn’t have to be a big deal – small gestures such as an extra hour lunch break, or a cold glass of wine or pint ‘on the boss’ after a challenging day, can be a great way of encouragement.
If working remotely, there are other ways to express employee recognition, such as implementing a reward scheme. It’s important that these schemes are not performance-related, but based on team leadership, commitment, and a drive to succeed. This creates an equal playing field where employees feel that they are recognised and valued for their work, rather than just noticed for what they achieve.
When people feel valued, they’re more likely to work well together, be open to different perspectives, and feel comfortable and safe at work. This creates a culture of appreciation and value, instilling confidence, loyalty and respect between the boss and workers.
So what’s the bottom line?
In today’s fiercely competitive business landscape, where companies strive to attract and retain the best talent, the role of employee engagement cannot be overstated. It serves as the catalyst for creating high-performance teams, which, in turn, unlocks the door to sustainable business growth while fostering both employee retention and attraction.
The concept of employee engagement isn’t merely an HR buzzword; it’s a fundamental strategy for thriving in the modern corporate world. By prioritising employee engagement, organisations can break free from the shackles of high staff turnover, recruitment challenges, and underperforming teams. Instead, they can create a cycle of excellence, where engaged employees not only drive business growth through their dedication and productivity but also act as magnets for new talent who are drawn to a thriving, dynamic work environment.