Increase your engagement this summer

The high temperatures in the summer can affect us, even when trying to stay cool indoors. Add these to engagements results and you are starting to wonder. Will we achieve the sales goals set for the quarter? Will we finish the projects we’ve been working on? No company can afford a slow summer!

Gallup’s research found only 15% of employees globally or 14% of employees in the Middle East engaged at work. These individuals are the ones who drive your organisation forward. Either number is substantially below what any company requires to succeed. It’s therefore a must for any organisation to review their not-engaged population. Easier to identify than the sabotaging actively disengaged employees, not-engaged employees do just enough to keep their job. They won’t go the extra mile or are indifferent towards customer needs or company requirements.

The 3 types of employees according to Gallup’s State of the Workforce (figures for the Middle East):

  • Engaged employees (14%) work with passion and feel profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organisation forward.
  • Not-engaged employees (64%) are essentially “checked out”. They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time – but not energy or passion – into their work.
  • Actively disengaged employees (22%) aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged co-workers accomplish.

The research conducted by Gallup further found once again the direct link between engagement, productivity, sales and consequently bottom-line results. Highly engagement organisations have reduced their safety incidents by 70% and increased profitability by 21%. As publicly traded organisations, they’ve further grown their earnings per share by 115% compared to just 27% by other companies.  Can you afford to lag behind your competition? This summer, start making small changes to increase your employees’ commitment and dedication to their work and your overall success.

Localise your global initiatives

In a region as diverse as ours, many initiatives from headquarters based in the US or Japan may not work here. You’ll need to identify what your employees here value and what motivates them. This can be done with formal employee surveys or informal conversations, whether between the manager and employee or within team meetings.

Encourage new ways of meeting

Walking meetings in the winter time are a great way to get up and moving. Not just physically but also mentally. Summer temperatures are limiting many teams to continue. Conduct a standing meeting. Is your company already active, go further: Hold meetings on out wobbly boards or stationary bikes at your corporate gym.

Provide flexible working schedules

During Ramadan, many companies not only work shorter working hours. They also provide alternative work patterns. Continue offering different start/finish times while implementing core working hours. You can extend your availability for your clients and allow your employees to arrive without the daily stress caused by busy traffic and school drop offs.

Allow employees to switch off

Due to our geographic location, it doesn’t come as a surprise that this region is one of the most connected ones in the world. Many employees don’t feel they have the right to switch off after work. They regularly check their mobiles after work and on weekends, often out of fear to miss an email from their boss or client. Western companies switch off email deliveries to allow their employees to enjoy their time away from the office, resulting in “better conversations”.

Invest in wellbeing

Long commutes, some of the longest working hours in the world plus the increasing cost of living put a strain on employees. As a company, encourage employees to take breaks, eat balanced and healthy meals as well as being physically active.

As part of your wellbeing strategy, team up with your health insurance provider and offer meditation classes. They have been proven to reduce stress and strengthen resilience. Apps like Insight Timer can support the employee while at home or on travel.

Combine physical team activities

Playing sports together has shown to positively improve relationships and increase open communication at work. Employers are using this insight when hosting cricket matches or arranging family fun run days. During the summer, organisations should look at alternative indoor options. Host a summer stairs challenge. While more strenuous at first, climbing stairs is gentle on the joints. Participants will notice their fitness levels improve faster compared to steps challenges.

Do you want to take your team out of their regular place of work to boost morale, find new perspectives and come up with fresh ideas? Take the team to cooler places! A snow hike in Ski Dubai and ice skating in Dubai Mall may sound like fun. Just like the obstacle course at Adventurezone in Times Square, everyone in the team can lift up other members and help them accomplish the course.

Volunteer together

Supporting a cause aligned to the company’s values has numerous advantages. Your written statements come strategically to live by acting on them. Similar to team sports, employees volunteering together form deeper relationships. Companies that are engaged in the local community rank higher in attracting candidates, resulting in lower recruitment costs.

Charities like Dubai Cares organise various open campaigns during the year. If you prefer to hold a company/cause specific event, providers like Gulf for Good can also support you creating these while staying compliant with the UAE charity regulations.

Create more meaning

More studies are conducted showing the relationship between an employee’s values, their role and their engagement levels. The more meaning an individual sees in their job, the higher their engagement and commitment. In the past, this may have been expected predominantly in the charity sector and is no longer this exclusive. Regardless of industry, applying personal interests and finding a purpose in the role has been seen as the number one driver for employee job satisfaction and engagement.

Be an authentic leader

This outlines the importance of line managers understanding the individual’s motivation, values and aspirations. Whether they use daily chats or formal feedback sessions, a line manager can learn a lot about their team members by actively listening and showing genuine concern for them.

Recognise the employee. A simple “thank you” is effective way to acknowledge an individual. It’s surprising to see it as an underutilised tool despite it being linked to an employee’s intend to stay and commitment levels. Paul Mastrangelo and Karen Barbera’s article in CEB’s CHRO Quarterly Q1 2018 identified employees feeling trusted and valued as one of the strongest engagement drivers.

Provide them with formal and informal learning opportunities to develop their skills further. It doesn’t always need to be an external training organisation that delivers a course. Allow your employees to share their knowledge for their own team or for another department.

Support the individual when taking personal development courses outside of work. Continuous development can provide employees with the tools to manage their current role more effectively and prepare them for future roles.

As such, your training and development policy may provide a financial contribution towards the course fees. Alternative schedules as mentioned above and special assignments where theory can be put into practice can boost the individual’s learning and result again in higher engagement.

While not every organisation has the funds for extensive training programmes, global assignments or fancy sports initiatives, introducing even little changes can result in increased motivation, drive and commitment from your employees. Can you afford to not make these enhancements to your current practice? Contact us today and learn how your organisation can benefit from lower absenteeism, higher productivity and overall sales.

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