Employee engagement

Improving employee engagement begins with a human touch

June 5, 2023

Employee engagement is about more than appreciation and reward programmes. Improving employee engagement involves enriching employees’ overall quality of life. Invest in understanding your employees’ needs and identify your key levers. Here are some insights on how to get started.

Get emotional about employee engagement

Let’s start simple. Improving employee engagement must start with improving individual people’s emotional states. While it may sound like an obvious truism, this can be the first stumbling block for many companies. Measuring engagement is measuring something that is less about how employees do something and more about how they feel doing it, either in terms of job satisfaction or alignment with company values.

When it comes to relating to an organisation, it pays to focus on values. When the company’s values are clear, it is easier for employees to identify and align with the company, the connection must be clear, collaborative, transparent and inclusive.

Do you know what your employees need, and…? 

There is often a gap between what managers think their employees need and what their actual needs are. Some of this is attributable to poor communication. Much of it stems from diverging expectations, generational change and new social trends.

Mental health has become an at-work wellness hot topic, and yet our UK research shows that workplace mental health challenges are increasingly common. 33% of UK employees report being affected, and nearly half (46%) are concerned that bringing up these challenges would lead to stigma, or impact their job security. Young workers were disproportionately likely to have taken time off work for mental health-related reasons, also highlighting differences between employee populations. Employees must feel safe and comfortable in the workplace.

Interestingly, when asked which additional benefits they would most like to receive in connection to this issue, the number one additional benefit requested by employees was flexible hours. Well-being days and access to mental health resources were also sought-after solutions. It’s food for thought for organisations, as the benefits are manifold: alleviating stress and giving employees a greater sense of autonomy improves both self-confidence and overall well-being, contributing to an overall improvement in the workplace.

Do your employees know what you can do?

The rise in cost-of-living is felt globally. In the UK, research shows nearly half of employees say it has had a negative impact on their mental and financial well-being.

Again, the youngest generation is the most impacted, and it’s significant to note that 53% of employees aged 18 to 34 say their sense of loyalty to their organisation is correlated with feeling supported at work. 46% of them think their employers could do more to alleviate their financial burdens, though less than one in five take full advantage of their benefits. And they are not alone: just 11% of all UK employees make full use of their benefits.

So, every organisation should investigate the extent of a potential disconnect between employee needs and the benefits on offer, and remedy lacking information. It’s a twofold solution: communicate meaningfully, and clearly, and provide more tailored benefits.

Mutual benefits = a concrete difference

Meal vouchers are a simple but effective offer to support through the cost-of-living crisis, and increase employees’ purchasing power. Gift vouchers have similar value, while also offering a recognition that makes work feel more meaningful. Another avenue to explore is showing you value your employees’ time by increasing and mandating time off, and reducing work demands during off-hours.

These benefits are also a way to help employees make the most of their downtime: meal services, for instance, are not just about food but also time saved both at work and at home.

The right partner to truly maximize the impact of your benefits 

So we agree, tailoring benefits to employees’ specific needs is important. It’s the logical conclusion from our initial insight: the need to focus on an individuals’ emotional state regarding their work.

But if this sounds a little abstract for your taste, we have the science to back it up! Our partnership with The Happiness Index puts neuroscience and data to the task, to make it easier than ever for organisations to measure what makes their people happy. This kind of approach – based on listening, offers tailored services, while leveraging the latest cutting-edge tech – is our core approach at Pluxee. At Pluxee, we believe we should all live joyful, and that includes your life at work.