Why business success cannot be achieved without an engaged workforce

As we enter 2022, maintaining employee engagement will be pivotal to achieving business success. The global talent shortage remains a key concern for organisations across the globe, with a recent Deloitte survey finding that CFOs cite labour shortages as the greatest risk to their business moving forward. So much so, that hundreds of UK employers have now shifted their recruitment to school leavers, as a means of diversifying hiring streams in the face of severe skills shortages.

In addition to recruitment struggles, employers are also facing dissatisfaction among their existing workforce, contributing to increased turnover. Right Management research found that 48% of workers changed their career plans in the last two years, with more employees now looking outside their organisation, while a recent poll found that just 9% of respondents believe their company shared their values – highlighting a disconnect between employer and employee that is directly contributing to increased resignations.

It boils down to the fact that workers are now demanding more from their employers. 56% of employees are expecting a pay rise in 2022, while two-thirds say they will leave their job if not rewarded fairly. On the most part, businesses are responding in kind, as wages for new starters grew by 2% last year, and 39% of businesses plan to increase pay in 2022 to keep up with rising inflation.

But it’s not just about money. It’s important that business leaders don’t rely solely on monetary incentive to engage and motivate their employees. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach to employee engagement risks alienating members of the workforce who are looking for more than just an enhanced salary – with ongoing learning opportunities, flexibility and a healthy workplace culture all in-demand.

Implementing a comprehensive workforce career management strategy remains crucial to ensuring businesses remain aligned with the expectation of all their employees.

The dangers of an unengaged workforce

Without a career management strategy that addresses all the potential needs and expectations of a workforce, businesses are more likely to find employees disengaged from their work and the company as a whole. And it’s this lack of engagement that presents serious risks to business performance, retention and overarching success.

Disengaged employees are less likely to work hard and according to research, cause 60% more errors than their engaged colleagues. A lack of effort combined with consistent mistakes will inevitably have a negative impact on overall productivity, both at an individual and organisational level, making it harder for businesses to meet targets.

Unengaged employees are also more likely to leave their organisation. Whether it’s because of low morale, unhappiness with pay or benefits, or a poor cultural fit, employers nationwide are reporting an increase in attrition. Regardless of the reason behind poor employee engagement, the result remains the same: an exodus of talent.

How business leaders can enhance employee engagement

Managers acting as coaches: Employees no longer want a boss, but a coach who can support them in unlocking their potential. There might be individuals lacking in motivation following the Christmas break, or others who have spent time over the holiday season reflecting on their career – deciding they’d like to upskill or move in a different direction.

Managers who are trained in coaching techniques and having constructive career conversations will be far better equipped to understand the individual needs of their direct reports, and support each team member on a 1:1 basis – ensuring each employee is aligned to the organisational goals and motivated to contribute towards success.

Ongoing learning and development: For employees in 2022, having access to continuous learning is a key driver for engagement and overall job satisfaction. 64% of learning and development (L&D) professionals agree that L&D shifted from a “nice to have” to a “need to have” in 2021 – a trend that’s predicted to continue for the foreseeable future.

Having access to these opportunities helps employees maintain steady development within their careers, and identify the actions they need to take in order to achieve their goals. They can quickly see where they need to up- and re-skill, while utilising feedback during career conversations with their line manager to self-motivate and remain engaged with their work.

Improved career mobility: Another key driver for employee engagement is career mobility. 51% of L&D professionals say that internal mobility is now more of a priority for employees than before the pandemic. Employees are looking for opportunities to explore different career paths and develop new skills; whether through a temporary secondment to another department or a stretch project within their existing role.

Greater career mobility means workers are able to continue learning and growing as professionals, feeling engaged and motivated to continue bettering themselves in order to meet personal and organisational targets. Businesses that provide this culture of career mobility are far more likely to maintain high levels of employee engagement and satisfaction.

By implementing a comprehensive workforce career management strategy, businesses can continue 2022 knowing their workforce is engaged, motivated and committed to achieving results.

To learn more about how Right Management can help you support your workforce, click here.