Keeping your workforce engaged

Employers are finding new and improved ways to engage their employees at an increasingly disconnected time.

Written by Editor Medibank

In 2021 it’s easy to understand why employee engagement is at risk. Lockdown fatigue, a worsening mental health crisis, and a stubborn pandemic all take a serious toll on our ability to engage at work, let alone perform highly.

This issue is compounded by the fact that 4 in 10 employees say their employer isn’t offering any benefits or programs to support their wellbeing, according to Buffer’s State of Remote Work 2021 report.

When employee wellbeing suffers, so does employee engagement, then performance, and so on. The question is: what can employers do about it?

Key contributors to employee engagement

Employee engagement isn’t won in a day, or with a single initiative. Employers seeking to maximise workforce engagement should consider long-term investments in a broad spectrum of workplace policies, procedures and practices.

New research published in the Journal of Public Affairs lists the following as key ingredients for better employee engagement:

  • career development prospects
  • encouragement and recognition
  • communication
  • flexible hours
  • fair pay structures
  • transparent and open work environments
  • employee participation in decision‐making
  • health and wellbeing programs.

A recent white paper by Medibank on workplace connection looked at how some businesses are already investing in these engagement practices, and what the results have been so far.

Health and wellbeing in action

Let’s take health and wellbeing as an example. At Lululemon, the company’s ‘sweaty pursuits’ program provides its employees with a monthly allocation of funds to support their health and fitness goals.

In another example, Who Gives a Crap gifted its employees a week off for mental health and self-care in July 2020 in recognition of the trying circumstances the pandemic had put them in.

Low and no cost options abound as well. Employers can set maximum meeting durations to help reduce meeting fatigue, encourage walking catch ups, or set health and fitness goals within teams or departments.

Case study: Medibank

At Medibank, our Future Fit way of working is divided into four squads: places we work, how we work together, connection and engagement, and policies and procedures.

As the COVID-19 pandemic forced us physically apart, Medibank doubled down on its efforts to connect its employees with each other, their business unit and the Medibank culture.

This was achieved by:

  • connecting employees who live geographically close to each other
  • ensuring each team unit had a clear operating rhythm
  • scheduling in-person team meetings, when safe to do so
  • organising moments that matter well in advance
  • keeping the workplace engaged through employee stories and regular communication from business unit leaders
  • maintaining our commitment to employee health and wellbeing.

Ready, set, engage

If you’re looking to increase employee engagement at your workplace, we can help. Medibank offers a range of services for corporate customers, such as onsite messages, smoothie stands and virtual dance classes to connect and engage your employees.

Email your account manager if you have one or get in touch at corporate@medibank.com.au

READ MORE: The benefits of a connected workforce

Written by Editor Medibank

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