Five Steps to a Happier, More Engaged Workforce

High levels of employee engagement in an organization are often linked to superior business performance including increased profitability, productivity, employee happiness and retention, and customer metrics. While 82% of employees in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region claim to feel very engaged at work – as revealed in the Bayt.com ‘Employee Engagement in the MENA’ poll (March 2014) – employers still have a long way to go when it comes to instigating true corporate citizenship among their staff.

 

In this article, the Bayt.com team describes five creative ways to encourage employee engagement in the workplace:

 

1. Hire great leaders. Leaders’ own attitudes, beliefs and behaviors have powerful trickle-down effects in any organization. Leaders of great workplaces don’t just talk about what they want to see in the future; they model it and keep practicing to get better at it every day with their teams. By displaying a little vulnerability, sharing information and working on improving themselves, they signal that such engagement is the only way to truly get ahead and achieve goals. Bayt.com research has shown that 4 in 10 managers in the MENA always do a good job of sharing information, with only 25% rarely hitting that particular benchmark.

 

2. Get the best HR people. Great HR people have a gift for influencing, teaching, and holding managers accountable. According to the Bayt.com ‘Employee Engagement in the MENA’ poll, 64% of MENA professionals believe that senior management across the board is held accountable for achieving goals, though 76.4% strongly believe that employees are the ones who bear the weight of achieving goals. HR experts can teach managers to stretch and develop employees in accordance with their natural capabilities, thus laying the foundation for more delegation of tasks and responsibilities.

 

3. Manage performance. Results from the Bayt.com ‘Employee Engagement in the MENA’ poll reveals that 52.2% of professionals in the MENA ‘always’ receive feedback to help improve their performance at work. Another 49.7% have regular career discussions with their manager, whereas 32.3% have the same on an irregular basis. Companies with the highest engagement levels know how to use performance appraisals as a powerful incentive currency. In fact, a hallmark of these great workplaces is that they conduct fair and action-driven appraisals on a regular basis. These companies see recognition as a powerful means to develop and stretch employees to new levels of capability. They also see tolerance of mediocrity as the enemy. Any action or inaction that doesn’t produce appropriate consequences adds to workplace disillusionment and corrodes commitment.

 

4. Build a people-focused culture. Companies that reap the benefits of an engaged workforce understand that people are their greatest asset. Find out the responsibilities of your employees and consider initiatives that enable them to balance work and life more easily. Encourage employees to balance hard work with socializing and fun. Promote the sharing of ideas, suggestions and improvements. A work environment in which people feel valued and heard, and where a sense of camaraderie is prevailing, is critical to employee engagement.

 

5. Give your employees a purpose. Engaged employees believe that the work they are doing is important and has value. They believe they are contributing to a higher purpose and take pride in the results of their efforts. As a manager, it is crucial to frequently reinforce the importance of your employees’ roles. Help them to see the direct connection between their activities and company success. Set goals and challenge your employees to meet them to promote a sense of purpose. Grant them the autonomy to improve the way things are done, and involve them in decisions to help them feel a sense of ownership over the direction of the company. In the MENA, 88.7% of professionals claim to have a good understanding of the mission and goals of their organization, and 95% understand how their work directly contributes to the company’s overall success. The majority (93%) are involved in decisions that impact their work.

 

Our research shows that a job has the potential to be at the heart of a great life, but only if its holder is engaged at work. Many companies do invest time, money and effort for a more engaged workforce, but many of them still fail. The best companies will find that establishing emotional connections with their staff is the only way to have an empowered, engaged workforce. It isn’t easy, but if you focus on these five ways from our team of experts, you too can create a company where people love their work.

 

About Lama Ataya:

Lama Ataya heads the Marketing department at Bayt.com and within that role is also responsible for communications, content, community experience, and corporate social responsibility.

 

About Bayt.com:

Bayt.com is the number 1 job site in the Middle East with more than 40,000 employers and over 20,000,000 registered job seekers from across the Middle East, North Africa and the globe, representing all industries, nationalities and career levels.

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