The war for talent is hotter than ever and organisations need to strengthen workplace environments and increase engagement levels to hold onto it.

The key to winning is not to forget about your current employees. What are you doing to retain the talent you already have? Those same employees who are constantly being courted by your competitors? These are the people who will shout about your employer brand, therefore having engaged employees can be a powerful weapon in the war for talent.

There are various different drivers that all contribute to overall levels of engagement. One of those drivers, and perhaps the first and most important part of employee engagement is ‘role’ and job-person fit. The business world has been hugely affected by advances in technology, and nearly every job has felt this impact as we continually try to find ways to do more with less and increase productivity. Research shows that despite these pressures, when we enrich people’s working lives by giving them more autonomy, clarity, challenge and freedom in their roles, levels of engagement increase and so does the positive impact on the bottom line.

It’s time to get serious about engagement

We’d all prefer to enjoy the work we do, and studies prove that when we are engaged and passionate about our roles, we deliver optimum results. That said, we still need variety; if we are bored to distraction through the repetition of similar projects, it's only natural that we can become slightly disengaged. So as a leader, how do you get this right to reach a level of employee engagement that creates an infectious culture and makes your organisation an irresistible place to work?

Here are our top tips:

  • Get your recruitment strategy right – getting the right people in the roles which best suit their talents is the key to helping your new starters to be engaged and successful from the outset. Work closely with your marketing department to ensure that you are sending out a very clear message to your candidates. Examine your current workforce to identify any characteristics that contribute to better performance and engagement, and whether a particular profile is suitable for the role or organisation culture – use this information to help build your job/person specification.Are current assessment and recruitment processes in your organisation effective in matching people’s talent with their job role?
  • Don’t forget your current employees – do you have employees who are less engaged than others? Is it because they aren’t in the role that is best suited to their skills? Before you start to recruit for new roles externally, take a look at your current talent pool and consider whether you already have the skills internally.Do you have a succession plan? Do you examine the talent that is closest to the role you could be filling in three, five, ten years’ time?
  • Make work meaningful – give your people the tools and autonomy to succeed. People crave challenge and the freedom and opportunity to complete their work in a way that allows them to enjoy it and their unique fingerprint on the finished product. Challenge opens an opportunity to develop and express individual talents, and in doing so, employees maintain and raise their status in the organisation. Providing a challenging work environment also increases the chances of employees returning if they do choose to leave, especially if their new job doesn’t measure up to their old one.What flexibility does the organisation offer staff in planning their work?
  • Freedom - whilst it is important to be accepted as part of the group, most people have a strong drive to declare their individuality through freedom and autonomy.Does/could the organisation operate effective flexible working?
  • Give them clarity – clarity of the role and purpose will help your employees to maintain a sense of security and reduce any anxiety that can occur when expectations are not clear. Also ensure that individual goals are aligned with those of the organisation so that everyone is working towards the same ultimate success.How do senior managers share the organisation’s strategy and vision for the future and do managers negotiate and agree clear targets and objectives with staff?
Boost engagement levels in your organisation with our free, downloadable whitepaper here.

Martin Reed, CEO of Thomas International