Business Environment centre manager at Basingstoke,Nicola Parsons, explains how the Hampshire office works to engage employees.
Keeping staff happy in the workplace is something that should be a top priority for employers. We all know that happy, enthusiastic and engaged employees are more willing to perform at work. So why do so few companies invest time in engaging with their employees?
At our business centre in Basingstoke, we understand the correlation between engagement and performance. Although it can be difficult to measure, employees here at Basingstoke tell me that feeling more engaged with their employer improves commitment to their role and job satisfaction. This must be true since we have a 94% retention rate across the business. It’s something we’re particularly good at, with Business Environment featuring in The Sunday Times ‘Top 100 Best Small Companies to work for’ Award for the fourth consecutive year in 2011 – gratifyingly, the awards are judged from employee responses regarding their satisfaction at work.
So if we know that engaging employees can improve work performance, how do employers go about it? At Business Environment Basingstoke, we are constantly working and developing ways of achieving this, as we better understand what suits our staff.
We provide new staff with comprehensive inductions; setting the right expectations at the recruitment stage, letting them know what support is available to them and clarifying job expectations. I communicate regularly with the team by holding daily half an hour ‘huddle’ meetings. We find this helps to resolve problems as they arise and ensures teams are kept in the loop at all times. Sounds simple, but it’s surprising how little some employees know about the business where they work.
We have a small team of five Business Environment staff here at Basingstoke, which creates a family-like atmosphere in the office, and I also hold monthly one to one sessions. This provides an opportunity for staff to find out how they are developing and to also raise any problems they are experiencing in complete confidence.
I also find that rewarding staff with team socials and benefit packages can work wonders for engagement. Whilst the Basingstoke centre always gets involved with Business Environment’s annual family fun day, we also aim to have our own social event once a quarter. Basingstoke’s Business Environment team most recently went Go Karting on its evening outing. This was a fantastic night out which certainly revealed everyone’s competitive streak! Team socials such as this help colleagues to get to know one another outside of the office and I’ve found that this has a positive impact on our working environment.
Another area where we support employees is giving them time off to volunteer and get involved with local community activities. We encourage our employees to support charities that have a personal connection to them and allow them time within their normal working hours to do this. Here at Basingstoke, we are currently discussing which charity we plan to support next.
Employee engagement is something that needs to be planned and worked out. It requires effort and commitment but I believe that a good employee engagement strategy can really do wonders for any sized business.