Engagement through job significance and organisational culture

Employees who are committed to the company raise team performance, create a positive and energetic working atmosphere, and project a good employer image to others. Engagement is part of every HR team’s agenda, but its importance is particularly highlighted in challenging labour market situations, even if employee turnover is lower due to an uncertain market. Challenging situations such as change negotiations, layoffs and redundancies also lead the best performers to consider their next career options, says a Harvard Business Review study.

Indeed, 2023 was a more moderate year in terms of recruitment and there were not as many new job vacancies as in previous years. However, the recruitment market is expected to level off in 2024, with an increase in the number of new jobs. Competition for skilled workers will therefore increase, and organisations should consider how to keep their own employees engaged for as long as possible.

What does engagement mean in practice?

Engaged employees are motivated to work towards common organisational goals and to do their best in their jobs. They have a positive attitude towards work and the work environment, which also contributes to the overall workplace atmosphere. Engagement therefore does not refer to performance on tasks, but to emotional commitment, to the investment that employees make in their work, their colleagues and their organisation.

We believe that any HR professional can also tell you that engaged employees deliver better business results. Engaged and motivated employees have a lower turnover rate in the organisation and this reduction in turnover also minimises the cost of new recruitment.

It is also worth considering the differences between a satisfied and an engaged employee. An employee may be happy in their job and enjoy their role, but that doesn’t mean that if a more interesting or better opportunity comes along, they won’t jump at it. But how can employee engagement be improved?

How to improve employee engagement and prevent employee turnover?

Several studies show that employee engagement is not influenced by a single factor, but is the sum of several. Managers should pay attention to factors such as work culture and atmosphere, pay and rewards, job security, training and development opportunities, community support and management styles. But how do these translate in practice into engagement strategies?

1. Ensure the meaningfulness and relevance of the work

As we said earlier, there are many factors that influence engagement. However, an employee’s daily tasks have a major impact and should therefore be motivating and challenging enough. An effective organisation recognises individuals’ strengths and guides them towards tasks that match their skills and interests. Most importantly, however, tasks should be meaningful, where the employee feels useful and understands the importance of the tasks they are doing to the team and the organisation.

Tasks that are not clear to the employee about their relevance or the results they produce can prove to be unmotivating. Low motivation can lead to poorer results and, over time, to a lack of commitment, which is reflected in higher turnover rates. For this reason, an employee, with the right guidance and support, can perform even the simplest and most repetitive tasks with motivation, once their relevance is understood and internalised. For this reason, active discussion of job performance and its impact is very important, at all levels of the workforce.

Tip: Make sure that the significance of the job is clear to the employee and try to take into account their interests and preferences.

2. Help employees develop

A meaningful working environment and routine also motivates employees to develop. However, support for career development is still very superficial in some organisations, and not enough attention is paid to development from an engagement perspective.

In discussions, employees’ wishes about the direction of their development should be taken into account and career paths tailored accordingly. Conversations can be opened up by considering what kind of skills are desired and whether they are more focused on technical skills, or on leadership learning and soft skills development, for example.

Technical skills can also be supported by offering courses, webinars and certificates. For example, mentoring schemes can be a quick way to ensure continuous development and learning.

Tip: At the next development meeting, discuss where the employee would like to develop and how the organisation can best support these goals.

3. Ensure that the working atmosphere is conducive to engagement

Managers and supervisors have a key role to play in driving engagement. A positive working culture is created and ensured by people-oriented and understanding front-line staff. A positive and supportive atmosphere creates an environment where transparency, respect and support for others are also emphasised.

Every employee needs a sense of achievement, reward and attention. These, as part of the work culture, ensure satisfaction and thus commitment to their role and its importance in the organisation. So it’s worth considering how common feedback is in your team, publicly or in one-to-one conversations – even a simple message of congratulations or recognition of good work can have a big impact.

So try to foster an open discussion about successes, but also about potential challenges. Even challenging issues at work should be openly discussed, and the employee should be able to get support and help when needed. It is important for employees to know that they can ask management for help and that support is available.

Tip: Consider the culture of the organisation and how it takes into account not only successes at different levels, but also challenging situations and the amount of support available in those situations



Ota yhteyttä

Matias Saarni
040 359 0156

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