The best solution to workplace performance is employee engagement

Employee engagement
© Gabriel Robledo

From Richard Branson to Stephen Covey, it’s a widely shared belief that people are a company’s greatest asset – it is simply not possible to build a prosperous business without good people

But the real question is, once we’ve found them how do we keep good people? Each new hire costs upwards of $4,000 USD on average. Once you’ve invested in hiring the right person, how do you build them up and get the best performance out of them? 

The solution is engagement. Successful businesses implement strategies that actively build and encourage employee engagement. Fostering a strong mental and emotional connection between workers and their job, team and organisation to maximise performance and minimise turnover.

Unfortunately, deeply engaged employees are rare. Research shows that only about 15% of workers worldwide are engaged with their work. As many as 13% are actively disengaged and a further 51% are mentally disconnected from their jobs and the companies they work for.

From engagement to prosperity

A truly engaged team leads to higher productivity, lower turnover, better service quality, lower rates of absenteeism, improved employee health and a reduction in workplace injuries. 

High levels of engagement have been shown to:

  • Reduce turnover by 43%, 
  • Increase productivity by 17%
  • Lower absenteeism by 41%.                 

Engagement also has a direct impact on safety. Workers who are actively engaged are: 

  • 2.5 times more likely to report injuries and safety incidents
  • 5 times less likely to have a safety incident
  • 7 times less likely to have a safety incident involving lost time. 

Not only do engaged workplaces have 70% fewer safety incidents but highly engaged teams lead to a 23% increase in profitability

What are the 5 key drivers of engagement?

The best way to improve engagement is to understand the underlying factors that influence it and build strategies to foster it. 

Engagement is directly linked to the way in which employees are managed. Good management builds and keeps good people. We know that a lack of feedback and recognition, limited investment in resources and technology, a company culture that does not value employee wellbeing and managers who lack empathy triggers disengagement. 

So how can we avoid these mistakes and actively grow engagement? Let’s look at the five key drivers of employee engagement

Creating purpose and allowing development

Engagement starts with culture. Leadership from the top down modelling positive culture, building a clear purpose and direction for everyone that motivates dedication. We all want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and a company that provides each employee with a clear purpose engages that innate human sense. 

People also want development; the opportunity to grow personally and professionally. Companies that invest in training and provide clear pathways for growth, engage workers in their own development, strengthening the bond between them, their job and their organisation.

Caring management and ongoing conversations

No one wants to work for a company that doesn’t care about them. Workers who feel that they are valued become the champions of engagement. Caring management is built upon flexibility, autonomy and empathy. Managers who understand and adapt to the unique situations of each worker, encourage and trust them to take ownership and responsibility for their work and who act with genuine care and empathy inspire loyalty and, as a consequence, engagement. 

Deliberate and regular two-way conversations with employees facilitates empowered communication. Giving workers a voice and actively listening engages them in their role. This ongoing conversation makes them feel trusted to provide input; knowing that their contribution matters.  

A focus on strengths

Everyone wants to feel like they are positively contributing to the work that they do through their strengths. Research shows that workers with managers that focus on their strengths are much less likely to be disengaged. A focus on weaknesses or, even worse, being ignored is much more likely to create disengagement. Thus, regularly praising and talking to employees about their strengths fosters stronger engagement. 

The role of wearable safety tech

One great, simple strategy for building engagement is to invest in technology that delivers on each of the five key drivers of engagement such as safety wearables. 

AI-driven wearable technology is shaking things up seeing organisation’s around the world weaving wearables into their processes. Solutions to assist workers to learn more about their movements, understand them, and help reduce their risk of injury – permanently.

Small lightweight wearable devices designed to monitor the behaviour of workers and alert of any hazardous movements that could lead to back or shoulder injuries. These alerts improve awareness and reduce the overall risk of injury. Track progress, complete training modules, analyse data and produce visually appealing reports through mobile apps and centralised dashboards to target and reduce ergonomic risk. 

Not only does this technology teach workers to move better, improve safety and reduce injuries but it also ticks all the boxes for building better engagement across the board.

Safety wearables give workers purpose and direction as they focus on clear, achievable safety goals. Actively encouraging improvement, safety wearables are an investment in development that shows a company commitment to workers and their growth.

It also provides an opportunity for management to show that they genuinely care about the wellbeing of their workers. Safety wearables are designed with the worker in mind; a tailored experience unique to each worker that empowers them to have informed conversations with their managers. Workers are engaged in the process with autonomy to follow and track their own progress, compare results with co-workers, complete in-app manual handling training tutorials at their own time and pace (increasing learning retention) and make sustainable changes to their behaviour.

AI-driven wearable safety technology also facilitates the chance to highlight and praise the strengths and achievements of every employee. With reliable metrics that show progress, it is easy to focus on improvement and move away from talking about weaknesses. Some platforms even integrate gamification into their wearables, making the whole process fun, collaborative and constructive.

Information provided by Anina-Marie Warrener from Soter Analytics


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