Employee engagement aka are your people happy?

Image for Kate Bastable By Kate Bastable

Do your employees love coming into work? Do they feel supported and happy in your agency? Or are they dragging themselves in because they’ve got bills to pay? Everyone has the odd off day, but you do need to look to your employee engagement to see what’s really going on under the surface.

After all, keeping your people happy keeps them productive. And that’ll keep you happy, so everyone’s a winner.

On average, agency shelf life can be two to four years, so this is a good benchmark to use for your turnover. If you track this, how much is what you’d call ‘regretted loss’ of people you really wish had stayed. And, crucially, what more could you have done to keep them?

Salary is often a reason, especially if it’s not on a par with industry standards. Or it could be they were seeking promotion or development opportunities. Could you have offered these?

Looking after your staff

You do have a duty of care as an employer to offer your staff a safe, healthy working environment. When did you last review your policies? Places that are considered supportive employers include policies on flexible working, sickness and absence, and mental health, among others. What is your wellbeing offering? This could be an extra attraction to candidates, so it’s worth getting it right.

I often say that people choose to work for you, as well as you choosing to hire them. But would they recommend you as a great place to work? Here staff surveys and Employee Net Promoter Scores (eNPS) can act as great measurement tools to really dig deep.

Manage the managers

Good management is often the difference between happy and unhappy teams. Make sure you carry out regular reviews and offer the right support. How effective are your managers? And does this impact on engagement and retention within their teams?

Developing managers is sometimes overlooked, but these are key figures in your agency. A leadership programme can help them to engage better with their teams and drive performance.

Listen and learn

Gathering feedback is great. But letting it gather dust isn’t. Agency life is a constant learning curve. If you’re given some informal feedback, listen and action. After all, if someone tells you something and it’s ignored, why would they then offer formal feedback?

Similarly, exit interviews can be full of rich information. But there’s no point doing them then doing nothing. Listen to the feedback, why has the person decided to leave? Could you have enticed them to stay, could you have done anything better? People do move on and it might be out of your hands. But surely it’s worth knowing for future reference?

Rewards and recognition

Agency work can be exhilarating. But it can also be hard going and demanding. Keep up the thanks, the recognition, the positive feedback – it will pay dividends. Look at things like team building and company socials, employee of the month, ad hoc thank yous, incentives like an extra day off. The key is to making your people feel a real part of the agency as a whole, not just a cog in a wheel.

Agencies ignore employee engagement at their peril. After all, these are the people who make the agency. It’s not a production line, but it can be a hive of productivity, a fun, friendly place to work. And that’s how reputations are built…

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