We asked Vasco de Castro, Business Development Director at Fruitful Office, for his tips to increase employee engagement. Here’s what he said…
Employee engagement is one of those nebulous topics that can be difficult, as a business leader, to truly get your head around. For one, employee engagement is not the same as employee happiness. An employee could be happy at work because they are being paid over the odds for doing very little work. That is not an engaged employee. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Employee engagement is the emotional attachment they feel towards their place of work, their colleagues, their position in the company and the company’s culture. This positive emotional attachment has a knock-on effect on productivity and well-being, which can help to bring overall business success. That is why many employers view an engaged workforce as a competitive advantage.
While a competitive advantage can, in some respects, be relatively easily achieved, i.e. by investing in the latest machinery or technology, increasing employee engagement is much more difficult. Employers often use any number of measures and initiatives to boost employee engagement, often without much success.
Putting theory into practice
Survey after survey has found employee engagement is not something British businesses do particularly well, so we spoke to someone who has achieved high levels of employee engagement over the last ten years. Vasco de Castro is the co-founder and Business Development Director at office fruit provider Fruitful Office, a company that delivers fresh office fruit to over 5,000 companies every week in five different countries. These are his three top tips for boosting employee engagement…
- Hire the right staff in the first place
When a business is growing rapidly you can find yourself recruiting for new positions every couple of weeks. During this time, the temptation can be to cut corners and just get people on board to fulfil the orders. However, it’s these early hires that can go on to dictate the culture of the company, so it’s extremely important to be careful about who you pick.
As de Castro says: “Surrounding yourself with the right people and ensuring they share your passion and vision is key”. Rather than cherry picking the very best candidates, some businesses ‘panic buy’ new employees, only for this short-termism to come back to haunt them.
- Empower your team
Employees who are able to see how their efforts directly impact the success of the business will feel more empowered to work hard, come up with new ideas and keep the business moving forward. To do this, employees need to be given the tools to really make a difference.
At Fruitful Office: “The company’s culture is very entrepreneurial, which means that people are empowered to make suggestions and take action. Making a difference is incredibly motivating and rewarding”.
- Give employees ownership
Employees respond well when they are given ‘ownership’ of a project. In fact, research has found that the feeling of ownership, i.e. being solely responsible for a process or task, is actually more of a motivating factor than having a share option in the company.
Psychological ownership is defined as the extent an employee feels their organisation is theirs and that it forms an important part of their self-identity. As de Castro explains: “Feeling a sense of ownership must be present right throughout the business – from packers to senior management”. The most effective way to increase this sense of ownership is to trust employees and give them more responsibility.
Do you agree with de Castro? If not, what are your tips for increasing employee engagement? Please share your thoughts with our readers below.