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Engage your workforce to build your business

Engaging your workforce to build your business

Finding and keeping good staff can often be more challenging than creating the next ‘big idea’. So how do you improve employee engagement and motivate people to come with you on your business journey?

An engaged workforce is widely accepted as the key to a company’s success. Gallup’s 2012 research confirmed a high correlation between employee engagement and performance scores in customer ratings, profitability, productivity, turnover, safety indications, theft, absenteeism, patient safety incidents and quality.

The good news for Aussie businesses, according to Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace report, is that Australia has the world’s second-highest proportion of engaged workers at 24 per cent, behind North America at 29 per cent.

On the flip side, 60 per cent of Australians hover in the ‘not engaged’ category, meaning they don’t care one way or the other if the company succeeds. And 16 per cent are actively disengaged, which Gallup says costs the country an average of $54.8 billion per year.

These statistics are far from dire on a global scale, but there is clear room for improvement to convert those middle-ground workers into happy and productive members of staff.

So how do companies get it right?

Brilliance attracts brilliance

The winner of BRW’s 2013 Best Places to Work study, Dutch-owned algorithmic trader Optiver, credits its win to providing an environment for creativity to flourish. Chief executive Paul Hilgers says that working with “brilliant minds attracts brilliant minds”.

Gallup’s research shows that playing to employee strengths is far more effective as a motivator than improving upon their weaknesses. Staff members who use their stronger skills will feel more successful and valued – and are more likely to collaborate with coworkers whose strengths are different from their own.

You can improve employee engagement and reduce staff turnover by providing your workforce with clear direction and expectations, as well as developing and supporting your staff to enable them to do their jobs well.

A little appreciation goes a long way

Another way to look after your workers is through rewards such as gift certificates, regular social outings and experiences that will motivate them to put in extra effort to achieve success.

But rewards don’t have to cost a lot of money. Even something as simple as saying ‘thank you’ can go a long way to making your employees feel valued and committed to your business.

Whichever methods you choose, fostering switched-on employees leads to a focus on customers, higher productivity and innovation and the return outcome of loyal customers who become advocates for your business.

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