It is increasingly well understood that a happy workplace is a profitable workplace, as employees who are engaged and interested in the work they do are more likely to strive for excellence. Productivity in the UK remains a cause for concern, however, and there are now an increasing number of global initiatives designed to improve conditions in the workplace.

Companies worldwide are beginning to take notice of these wider trends. ”When we think about employee engagement, there are four areas to take into consideration,” says Cathy Brown, Executive Director of Engage for Success, a growing, dynamic voluntary movement to promote employee engagement. “The first is this: do employees actually understand the business strategy and the purpose of their organisation? Do they feel emotionally connected to it?

 

Good leadership

 

“Second, do managers and leaders lead well? Do they treat their employees as human beings, exercise good management practise and are they capable of dealing with all sorts of different types of behaviours? Thirdly, do employees have a voice in what’s going on in their working environment? Are their views welcomed and do they feel safe speaking out about issues in the knowledge that they won’t suffer negative consequences? And finally, are the values of their organisation adhered to? If a business says one thing but then does something else, the people who work for it will lose their trust in it. Of course, there are pressures in every organisation and on the one hand you have leaders and managers dealing with sometimes pressurised situations, while on the other, you have employees wanting the freedom to act in their own way, but are all these conflicting scenarios resolved or not?”

 

Workplace concerns

 

Changes in company practices are already beginning to come through. For a start, monitoring social media can be used to judge the level of employee satisfaction, as well as providing a comeback on the business’s own practise. “You can monitor behaviour and then you can help to change it,” says Cathy.

What is more difficult to deal with is the impact of economic and social uncertainty, especially regarding issues such as Brexit. “These issues risk making a significant impact,” says Cathy. “On an organisational level, uncertainty can promote short termism, cost pressures and rapid changes in technology. All of these are exacerbated by a volatile and uncertain world and they can place business leaders into their default behaviour of command and control. That in turn results in an increasingly stressed and concerned workforce and management should be extra careful to make sure they remain engaged with staff.”

By being aware of these issues and changing behaviour towards employee benefits accordingly, the company itself will prosper. Be conscious that mental and physical health are directly connected to employee engagement and that in turn will show up on the company’s bottom line.