Article: Building an engaged workforce: Aligning values and practices

Employee Engagement

Building an engaged workforce: Aligning values and practices

Underlining the vital importance of aligning organisational values with practices to cultivate an engaged workforce, strategies encompass prioritising employee needs, implementing comprehensive onboarding, and managing change effectively.
Building an engaged workforce: Aligning values and practices

It is truly inspiring to hear stories of employees who have dedicated their careers to a single organisation. These individuals speak highly of their career growth achievements and opportunities and feel valued and understood by their colleagues. We can learn much from their experiences and the foundational values guiding their work. However, it's important to remember that true success is reflected in the day-to-day practices of an organisation and how they contribute to a thriving workforce. 

According to Forbes, 44% of companies must provide compelling career paths to their employees. This is something that many consider the bare minimum, which is why it is essential to understand the process behind nurturing a welcoming, fruitful, and inclusive environment and how it can guide business leaders toward strategising better for the upcoming financial year. That being said, taking these learnings with a grain of salt is also essential. What worked for some may need to be updated for others based on cultural and economic shifts.

Differentiating needs vs. wants:

Workplace trend-chasing is a one-trick pony. There will always be a new phenomenon that business leaders rush to grapple with every few months. During the Covid-19 pandemic, everyone had to adapt to operating remotely. And despite initial apprehensions, getting work done remotely was relatively easy for most job roles. But as soon as the restrictions started to lift, there was a rush hour to implement back-to-office plans and strategies.

In this case, going remote was not a trend, but a necessity based on external conditions. Strict return-to-office rules, on the other hand, was a hassled decision. The reason is that several companies should have consulted their workforce and considered their needs, resulting in great resignation. While in-person work creates a sense of community, most roles aren’t dependent on being in the same room to get work done anymore, thanks to digital innovation technologies.

Taking reactionary measures based on assumptions and 'what other businesses in the industry are doing' is a myopic approach. Assessing the work culture and values to check business strategy alignment before jumping to conclusions will always yield better results. A better-suited long-term approach is to engage the workforce continuously, scheduling sessions where team members can collaborate beyond work and provide ample opportunities for the employees to learn and achieve their fundamental aspirations. Training sessions, learning and development seminars, and top-to-down learning methods can ensure employees feel enriched, whether working remotely or from the office. This type of approach addresses the critical needs of the workforce, and it is likely to be overcome by external factors.

Taking onboarding seriously

Comprehensive onboarding makes employees 33% more engaged at work. Therefore, cultivating a healthy work culture needs to start way before an employee's first official work day. Welcoming new employees into a company starts with accepting the job offer, and the engagement continues through onboarding. Regular sessions that allow potential employees to interact with their future leaders and acquire important information about their new employer demonstrate the organisation's eagerness to have them on board. This also motivates new staff members to get up to speed quickly and become familiar with their new workplace.

To make employees feel connected to an organisation beyond just a workplace, it's important to prioritise their feelings. Doing so allows them to see themselves as part of a community with shared values and goals. This can be achieved by creating a work environment that emphasises a sense of community. Moreover, companies with highly engaged employees are 21% more profitable, and the employees are 17% more productive.

Change is the only constant

The business landscape and employee expectations evolve. Holding on to dated practices and processes will harm the organisation's reputation and hinder its retention and hiring rates. Continuous feedback mechanisms, surveys, and open communication channels are vital for understanding the workforce's needs and adapting strategies accordingly.

On the flip side, Forbes reported that over 45% of employees in 2023 felt burned out by organisational changes. To ensure the success of any implementation strategy, it is essential to consider how to manage change fatigue. Introducing too many new processes, policies, and objectives can prevent employees from feeling overwhelmed and disconnected. While change is necessary for growth, it should be presented deliberately and systematically to be effective.

Also read: Employee recognition strategy: Crafting solutions to shape culture and drive business outcomes

It can also be helpful to retain timeless principles that the business has always stood by. It’s worth recognising and honouring the foundational values that have stood the test of time while integrating innovative practices that align with the modern-day workforce. Preserving these elements can contribute to a stable and harmonious work environment.

The journey to building a better-engaged workforce is a dynamic and ongoing process. Employees are three times more likely to explore their options if they feel they need more support. The foundation of a thriving workplace lies in constructive, consistent, and collaborative actions. This underscores the importance of aligning values with people practices and investing in employee engagement to build an ecosystem where individuals can find professional fulfilment and contribute wholeheartedly to the organisation's collective success.

Read full story

Topics: Employee Engagement, #HRCommunity

Did you find this story helpful?



How do you envision AI transforming your work?