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May 3, 2016

A universal truth in the world of HR is that employee engagement is the foundation upon which many other successes are built. Last year, research from Deloitte revealed that engagement and retention are business leaders’ second-highest priority while an Entrepreneur article even went as far as suggesting that employee engagement is more important than customer experience in terms of overall success.

The benefits of engaged staff are evident; they are truly committed and are willing to go above and beyond for the organization’s bottom line. An engaged workforce has the ability to improve business performance with respect to profit and revenue growth, productivity, and efficiency. However, although 90% of leaders acknowledge the importance of employee engagement, only 25% develop an engagement strategy. This is where performance management steps in.

Engagement can be greatly boosted with the introduction of an effective performance management system. A good HR department can utilize this system to ensure that the following measures are put in place, all of which have a direct bearing on engagement, productivity, and morale.

Career Development

Shifting attention from past work performance to the employee’s future development is vital. Performance reviews can be used to provide an employee with constructive suggestions regarding what knowledge and skills to hone and how to develop them. This will indicate to the employee that the company is invested in them, and will motivate them to improve and advance within the organization.

Flexible Working Environment

Use your performance management system to incorporate a degree of flexibility into the working day. Permitting them a measure of flexibility can show your employees you have faith in them to get their jobs done whilst juggling other commitments. An incredible 54% of employees believe that a good work-life balance increases staff engagement. Permitting staff flexi-time, or the opportunity to work from home, shows you committed to supporting them as people, not just employees. Ultimately, their time spent while at work will be more productive as a result.

Meaningful Goals

Setting clear, fair, and achievable goals is an excellent way to ramp up engagement. Employees like to know exactly what is expected of them. This is particularly true during performance reviews. Avoid vague sentiments such as “work harder” or “work quicker” and instead communicate quantifiable means of judging performance. When employees manage to reach or surpass these goals, they understand their importance to the company and get a genuine sense of satisfaction.

Continuous Feedback

HR has seen a recent shift toward continuous performance management. Yearly reviews are experiencing an overhaul, and top companies are opting instead for continuous feedback and regular check-ins. This means that employees have a more solid idea of their current performance level and are able to constantly adjust when required. As a result, employees are better able to achieve goals, which consequently improves engagement.

Recognize and Reward

This is by far one of the most key elements of good employee engagement. Employees do not work for money alone. They want to feel that their contribution and hard work is being acknowledged and appreciated. It has often been shown that recognition has a significant impact on productivity, retention, and morale. Conversely, failing to appropriately encourage and appreciate staff can have a devastating effect on engagement. Appreciating your staff is something that even small businesses can do and it can come in the form of an afternoon off or a free lunch.