1. Managing expectations – clearly set out what is expected from your employees and what they can expect to receive in return. This forms part of the psychological contract, which is closely linked to behaviours. Where employees feel their employer is keeping to the promises, positive behaviours will follow for example organisational commitment, increased job satisfaction and increased productivity. Where employees perceive that employers are breaking their promises employees can feel disengaged, dissatisfied and de-motivated.
2. Goal setting – Literature on goal setting suggests that goals should be difficult enough that they push the employee to perform at their best but not unrealistic that they are beyond their capability and in turn de-motivating. Goals should also be specific with clearly defined outputs and be measurable to ascertain whether they have been achieved or not.
3. Performance management – high performing employees want to stay with high performing organisations. A performance management culture is necessary to identify development needs to ensure they are performing at the required level. Employees who are appraised and who are given specific and objective feedback are less likely to be defensive if the feedback is negative.
4. Work-life balance – organisations are coming around to the idea that jobs are not just about the 9 to 5. Employees are increasingly seeking employers that offer flexibility in working hours and location. With the advancements in technology allowing for virtual teams and home working, work-life balance is becoming easier to achieve.
5. Reward – not all employees are motivated by financial incentives but the key is to ascertain what financial and non-financial reward programmes work for your organisation. Equity theory purports that employees expect rewards, which are in proportion to the amount of effort they put in. Thus it is not always the size of the reward but its relation to the work that has been done and whether it is perceived as fair.
6. Justice and fairness –perceptions that managers treat their employees in an inconsistent fashion is directly linked to job dissatisfaction. Managers should be highly skilled in dealing with people and have a management style that is consistent for all employees.
7. Transparency of organisational values – organisations that are viewed as market leaders are often perceived as those with high integrity – those that have strong organisational values and are seen to walk the talk. Organisational leaders should be seen to practice the values, which they expect of all their employees.
8. Career development prospects – not all employees strive to become the next chief executive but for those that are looking to move up the career ladder, having transparent career development opportunities is critical to engagement. Those who do not perceive opportunities available to them will withdraw commitment and motivation and in most cases will seek opportunities at other organisations.
9. Training and development – training is not necessarily about career progression. Giving your employees the skills to do their jobs is key to engagement. Setting expectations or goals without providing the right tools and resources which equip them to meet these objectives are futile.
10. The employee voice – an employee satisfaction survey is just one of the ways of giving employees a voice within the organisation. Other methods are employee self-appraisals, key stakeholder groups representing different parts of the organisation or even committees. What these groups have in common is the identification of issues and the development of solutions. The key to engagement is to ensure the organisation is seen to adopt and implement the recommendations made - where possible.