What does it mean to put your people first?

You’ve heard the truism – ‘people are the most important asset of any business’. So why is just one employee in three fully engaged at work?

Most organizations recognize that their staff are crucial, not just for their output but because of the contribution they make to brand, culture and innovation. Yet it seems C-suite leaders aren’t communicating that sense of value effectively, because one in three of those valued employees are not engaged in their work, according to Gallup and Effectory International.

So, what’s the key to positive employee engagement? And what does an engaged employee look like?

The importance of workforce experience

Businesses are paying more and more attention to the experiences they offer customers, recognizing that personalization, ease of use and brand identification are all crucial to winning repeat business and creating positive brand associations. You may have worked hard creating personas, segmenting your audience and developing a strategy for maximizing customer satisfaction.

But do you know as much about your staff – and their experience of work – as you do your customers? It’s a vital question to ask, because employee experience is a significant contributory factor when it comes to engagement levels.

An employee’s workforce experience comprises every touchpoint within their organization, from their job search and interview process through to what happens when they leave the business, whether they’re on a fixed contract or transitioning from a permanent position. Workforce experience also extends to staff of all kinds – temporary staff, self-employed partners and members of the growing ‘gig economy’.

Experience is a cumulative picture of many things – from a pleasant workstation and a co-operative, high-functioning team, right through to the standard of food in the staff restaurant and whether its cost is subsidized. And positive experience plays directly into positive engagement.

What does positive employee engagement look like?

What do people want from work? Research suggests there are four key things:

  • a compelling company culture
  • an optimal work environment where they are free to work and perform
  • exceptional leaders
  • inspiring immediate managers

Engaged employees feel passionate about their work, enjoy what they do and feel personally invested in a job which they feel lines up with their personal values. They make a big contribution and are keen to develop their skills, not just for personal advancement but because they care about doing a good job.

Engagement is often seen as a top-down education process, with employees given brand values and mottos to follow. Or it’s viewed as a buyable commodity – something that results from incentives like bonuses or benefits. But workforce experience is like customer experience. It’s holistic, cumulative and self-evident in the way an employee feels about your company. It hinges on authenticity, and it’s influenced continuously throughout the employee life cycle.

Know better, do better

To make employees feel recognized, valued and engaged, you need to know who they are as people. Sage People enables you to know and understand your people better by keeping all your people information in one place, not scattered across multiple systems or files.

Our software is designed to make people processes smooth and seamless for everyone involved. It provides a single point of access where employees can use self-service to add and maintain their own HR data, communicate quickly and easily across the organization, give feedback and receive it.

It can also help People professionals build a detailed, data-backed picture of each employee’s strengths, skills and values, the better to create workforce experiences that will help bring out their potential and strengthen their relationship with your business. As the software is configurable, you can tailor it to work the way you work, automating HR processes. You can also better engage your people through integrated internal communications, support for working on the go, and delivering great workforce experiences.

Meet the people leading people science

Meet the people scientists putting people-first business into action in the Tech HR 100 edition of Hot Topics, sponsored by Sage People

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