Employee engagement – Why does it matter?

author Brett Dixon, February 7, 2017

From micro businesses with one member of staff to massive global companies with thousands of employees – a business is built on people. Your employees are your strongest advocates, and they can be your greatest resource. Whether your employees are sat next to each other in the office, or you have a digital workplace with staff communicating across the world – they all have something valuable to say. Gaining input, insight and ideas from your employees is one of the best ways to improve a business, and taking in different perspectives from different staff members can lead to a more efficient and all round better business.

 

In many companies with large infrastructures, the customer journey can often take place in many locations, at different times and with different members of staff. If you’re organising huge deliveries to hundreds of locations, your mind is going to be focused on that aspect of the business. If you’re serving customers and selling face to face, your focus will be on this instead. In large businesses, these distinct roles often never meet, yet they are both crucial to the business. They could both offer valuable information to the other, and to the business as a whole on the area they spend every day getting better at. Having a great infrastructure is essential for communication between employees. Specialised intranet software allows your team to share knowledge and insight efficiently, especially in digital workplaces.

 

Innovation is key to success and finding the next idea for your business is challenging. Consumers are increasingly aware of the power they hold and brand loyalty now needs to be earned. Your customer facing staff are often the first place a client goes to, whether online or on in person, and they are keen to suggest how they think your product or service could be better. If a waitress is constantly asked whether you serve diet drinks, maybe that’s something you should start serving, if you work in an art shop and people keep asking for a shade of blue paint you don’t stock – why don’t you start providing it? That great, useful information is often passed from customers in a quick conversation but it can be vital in providing clients with the products and services they are looking for. It is important they can communicate this to you with a great intranet and clear communication channels. Your employees will know the questions they get asked, what products their customers are looking for and how things could be done better.

 

By encouraging employees to be active in communicating customer feedback you can tailor your business more directly to your clients. If your hotel staff know that elderly people stay during March, maybe that idea could be passed to your marketing department and a special offer could be created and marketed. Often your staff themselves can provide you with valuable market research. If you’re a young, online fashion retailer, and your employees are young online fashion devotees, they’re perfectly placed to know what you can do to compete with similar businesses. They’ll be able to tell you what marketing channels are best to reach them on, what features they value the most and what they would spend.

 

It’s not just the positive either – your staff are often the first people to hear complaints. If there is an issue that is making customers unhappy – you need to know about it so you can fix it. By talking to staff and asking if there have been any issues brought up by customers you can iron out any problems. By discussing problems with the whole team, you may find a totally unique solution from a totally different team member who has a different way of thinking. By communicating via your staff intranet you have a detailed record of your employees thoughts and messages, which is great for referencing it in the future. Knowing that you value your team, take their concerns seriously and try to rectify them is one of the best ways to grow a great business. By listening to employees views on their work, and how they think the company could be improved, you might save whole lot of time, money and effort.

 

Your staff are a gold mine of useful information and skills, and it’d be a waste not to make the most of their ideas for improving the business, correcting any issues and introducing new ideas. There are so many ways you can boost your employees engagement in the business, it just needs a little thought. Set up conversations on communication apps, schedule staff meetings that are about listening to your employees. Have a place in the office for post-it note ideas and thoughts or a digital version on your staff intranet. If staff are in different countries – you can easily set up an online alternative system, or how about an email quiz or a questionnaire for staff to complete monthly or yearly? Schedule time to read the responses and put together a plan of how you are going to respond to the new suggestions. Most importantly, make sure your staff know how important they are to the success of your business.