Guest blog by Neil Pickering, Marketing and Industry Insight Manager at Kronos
Very little makes you think more seriously about making changes at work than returning from a summer holiday and going back to work. Holidays can be a great time for reflection and employees who were slightly disengaged with their current employment may have returned with new passion or plans to make changes.
Of course, by October the holidays are long forgotten, the planned changes have usually gone on the back-burner, and for those who failed to put their well laid plans into action, productivity and motivation have the potential to drop as quickly as the leaves and the temperature outside. There is, as yet, no party season and no sunshine to lift the spirits. It’s a crucial time of year for businesses to focus on employee engagement, to support retention and keep productivity levels high.
There are a number of workforce management techniques which can help to engage, and in some cases re-engage, employees;
Empower the Workforce
Recent Kronos research found that 41 percent of employees regard flexible working as the main reward they look for in employment. Offering perks such as flexi-hours, employee self-service and self-rostering can all help to make employees feel more valued, empowered and engaged. It will also take the sting out of coming back to work following annual leave if they already feel they have a healthy work/life balance. As a result, engaged employees will be far more productive and loyal to your business, and drive an increased output during the time that they are at work.
Keep learning at the forefront
There is nothing worse than feeling stuck in a rut at work to make the allure of pastures new seem more appealing; which is why it is so important that the ongoing development of employee skills, one of the most significant drivers of improved business performance and profit margin, is not overlooked. Properly managed training programmes can help ensure employees develop the necessary skillsets to drive the business forward, whilst at the same time keeping them challenged and motivated. Ongoing professional development has also been proven effective in retaining top talent, maintaining quality levels, and achieving competitive advantage.
Show your employees they are valued
People begin to seriously question if they are in the right job when going to work feels like a chore. If an employee is disengaged, it is usually because they do not feel valued and see no signs of change on the horizon, after all, it is part of human nature to want to do well and to be acknowledged for our achievements. In fact, not feeling valued in the workplace was the main reason employees consider resigning (60%). Therefore, it is essential for managers to work with employees to help them understand the critical role they play in the company’s success, what the overall company goals and objectives are and how their specific role helps contribute to that. Managers and employees who proactively form closer relationships are more likely to be able to ensure good work is rewarded and equally raise and address any issues before they escalate or cause problems. By doing this, managers will help to encourage loyalty and high quality output from employees.
Overall, communication is key
It takes conversation and collaboration to create an engaged workforce culture and tackle the challenges that cause employees to look for alternative employment. Organisations must commit to building trust and engagement amongst the workforce, in turn creating an environment in which employees are motivated to deliver their best. Whether that’s offering a system of flexi-working, understanding the training needs of an individual employee, or just being able to recognise when work has been done well and provide the appropriate rewards; open, honest communication and visibility is the key to success. Organisations need to make more strategic investments in workforce management technologies, focusing effort on people and people-related processes, in order to understand where issues and opportunities lie. Those that have a well-balanced, communicative environment, managed by a fit-for purpose workforce management system, should quickly be able to see a direct correlation between higher productivity and employee engagement levels. This approach will pay dividends in the long run in terms of boosting productivity and sparking the innovation and inspiration that is crucial to gaining and sustaining a competitive advantage in the final quarter of the year.