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How to build a work culture that promotes employee engagement

02 Nov, 2017

The kind of culture in any organisation has the ability to influence employee engagement whether positively or negatively. High employee engagement means that employees are emotionally invested in the organisation’s goals and are therefore actively involved in working towards the goal.


Employee engagement is therefore responsible for higher productivity, lower turnover, better customer relations and overall employee satisfaction.  Focusing and working with the insights is part of establishing the Performance Management process.


Even though everyone plays a role in building work culture, it is the role of leaders and managers to set a pace regarding the nature of culture. However, this has always been a challenge for managers with 87% of managers citing building of an engaging culture as one of their biggest challenges. 


A strong work culture reduces turnover with organisations with a strong work culture experiencing turnover rates of 14% while in companies with poor work culture employee turnover can be as high as 48%.  Knowing how high turnover rates can be expensive to an organisation, it is the interest of leaders to keep them low by building a strong work culture. 


Here are ways managers can build a work culture that promotes employee engagement:

1. Communication & Feedback


It is important that employees receive clear information in a timely manner. This means giving clear guidance on what needs to be done such that there is no ambiguity. This makes employees understand their roles and execute without any qualms. Lack of clear communication often leads to confusion and low morale. Feedback is also important coming from the manager to the employees.


After work is done, timely feedback is important to make employees feel valued. In the cases where the feedback to be given is not positive, managers should find a way to deliver this feedback in such a way that an employee does not feel cornered but instead, feels that they are being corrected with their interest at heart. Employees should perceive feedback as directed to improve them for their own good.


An important aspect of feedback is also to establish a process routine like monthly feedback talks, year and half year reviews. Another angle to communication is though making clarities and avoiding grapevine. Should there be some form of uncertainty at the work place such as restructuring, periodic changes or layoffs, leaders should always communicate the situation as it is to avoid suspicion.


When such information is withheld, employees mistrust management and are not emotionally invested in the organization reducing engagement and performance. 


2. Empower employees


This can be achieved by shifting power from power to employees through decentralisation. Further, encouraging employees to voice their ideas and opinions as well as participate in decision making makes them feel empowered.


Collaboration builds a culture that does not have an ‘us’ vs ‘them’ mentality between employer and employee but instead, they feel they are one group. Empowerment also comes with some autonomy that can be given to employees to make some decisions. In today’s work place, financial rewards only are not enough to keep employees satisfied.


Employees want to feel a sense of purpose, understand the organisation goals and feel that they have a role to play to help in achieving that role. Empowerment can also be achieved by allowing then growth opportunities through development courses or growth within the organisation. When they feel they have something to strive towards, they will be driven to work and achieve it. 


3. Taking individual interest on employees


Recently, transformational leadership has been gaining popularity being credited as one of the most effective leadership styles. This is because this style of leadership focuses on the each follower individually, a style known as individual consideration which acknowledges that each person has different abilities, learning styles, different motivators and hence needs to be guided and led individually.


Personalising human resources is gaining popularity such that individuals are placed in jobs that they are really good at. This brings about understanding different learning styles and considering ways through which employees can effectively learn hence tailor make learning in such a way that each individual derives the best learning.


Understanding different motivators for individuals also helps the organisation create and prioritise on individual needs to improve employee satisfaction. For example, one employee will feel that a perfect reward would allow them flexible working time while another will prefer a day off. Individual consideration is important to build a positive work culture as each person feels that their individual needs are of interest to the organisation and they become emotionally invested to the organisation.


Conclusively, employers can achieve higher emotional engagement of employees to the organisation through building a work culture that provides employee satisfaction. It is the role of leaders at various organisation levels to set a pace towards creating a strong work culture through communication, empowerment and individual consideration.  This is the base of Performance Management.


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