Engaging your Workforce for Business Success

Business Insight

If there is one key piece of advice that any business owner or senior manager should adhere to, it is for them to view and treat staff as ‘people’ rather than ‘employees’.

One in 4 people will experience a mental illness, and real-world shocks and stresses, such as mourning, family matters, unhealthy relationships and general life pressures, can affect workers adversely in varying degrees. There is a causal link between unhappiness and decreased productivity which can have a lasting effect of about two years.

A study conducted by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy demonstrates that ‘happy employees’ are up to 20% more productive and sales improve by 37% for ‘happy sales people’.

Treat your workforce how they want to be treated - not how you think they need to be treated. There are lots of personality profiling tools out there to assist you in this. If you don’t know what makes someone tick, their dominate personality type or how they interpret information, there can be a lack of rapport, lack of communication and ability to work together.

Profiling tools such as DISC profile are among my preferred options for understanding your employees and what motivates them. If you have one member of a team who is naturally a D (Dominate) who talks in a dominate style to someone who is naturally S (Steadiness) this can have ineffective consequences. Engaging the workforce means understanding individuals and how they work - not treating everyone with the same brush.

It’s also key to celebrate success, and so often it’s easy to focus on ‘what went wrong’ and spend a lot of time analysing the performance of staff, departments and processes. Of course, this is needed to improve business effectiveness but how often are successes appreciated and celebrated in public and to individuals? How much more motivated would staff be if successes are honoured and shared, making them feel they matter and giving them recognition.

Create a positive environment through reframing - choose the culture of the business by the language the business uses. Managers and leaders need to be effective with their communication to lead and inspire, and this starts with the language they are using.

Instead of asking ‘what went wrong?’ Start with the questions ‘What went well?’ and ‘What could be even better?’ The outcome and analysis of the situation is still being done but just from a positive place where everyone can grow and improve.

Keep the energy high and create variety in the workplace. There’s nothing worse than going to the office, the same staid atmosphere, the same conversations, the same energy. Find ways of engaging staff through activities and events that encourage interaction in ways they are not used to and with members of staff that they don’t usually talk to. Set up events where they can show other parts of their personalities other than just the job role they have.

Involve the people who are actually doing the work - so often directors and senior level staff scurry into meeting rooms to discuss what needs to happen next and then simply enforce it on the workforce. Who knows the real pressures, needs and points of failure other than the people doing the tasks or responsible?

Directors should direct, but there is nothing more demotivating to staff than not being involved in discussions and process development that directly involves them. Even just hearing their side and opinion will make it more likely they will accept what needs to change, as they have had a chance to input and feel like part of the team (and more engaged) rather than simply ordered to do something.

Help your employees grow as people by taking care of their mental wellbeing through coaching or personal development events designed for them to be become the best they can be in all aspects of live - this will impact their worm effectiveness.

By Suniel Makh, a fully accredited mindset coach, supporting individuals and businesses nationally and internationally, to ‘be the best they can be.’