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Four Steps to Improving Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement

What makes employees more productive, enthusiastic and innovative? Employee engagement is said to be the “secret weapon” that contributes to the success of an organisation. A Gallup study shows less than 25% of employees in Australia are engaged. In the U.S. almost half the workforce is not engaged. Worldwide only 13% of employees are engaged!  

Disengagement of employees can cost companies in a big way! If you are asking yourself why you need to invest in employee engagement, read on!  

What harm can disengagement do? In more than a decade, employee engagement levels in Australia have stayed at the same levels of less than 25%, according to the Gallup study. Close to 16% of the workforce is “actively disengaged.” Active disengagement is when the employee is working “against” the company’s vision rather than being aligned with its objectives. So, what happens when employees are not engaged?  

Employees who are not engaged at the workplace are disgruntled and feel “unloved.” Studies show disengagement is the top reason for employees to quit. More than 50% of those surveyed in the Gallup study said they were actively looking for other opportunities. 

Absenteeism, depression, lack of productivity are some negative consequences of employee disengagement. For companies, the cost of not engaging employees is close to $70 billion every year! Businesses that can engage their employees to improve their sales and profit margins by 20%! Teams that are highly engaged within a company outperform others when it comes to innovation and productivity. When employees feel valued and loved at work, attrition rates are lesser. How can companies engage employees?  

Often confused with employee happiness, employee engagement is not well understood. While many businesses invest a lot of money into employee engagement surveys, the focus has to shift to putting a strategy in place.  

1. Understand the definition: The first step is to recognise the deeper meaning of employee engagement that goes beyond just keeping employees happy. It is defined as the ‘the level of an employee’s psychological investment in their organisation.” Managers and employees across all levels need to understand what employee engagement means and how each one of them can contribute towards achieving it.  

2. Improve communication: De-structuring from a traditional linear hierarchy to a more horizontal layout can help foster a better flow of communication between managers and teams.  

3. Invest in wellness: Holistic wellness programs go a long way in achieving better mental, physical and social health of employees.  

4. Focus on resources: Provide employees the resources and the support they need to polish their skills and do better at work. A great way to engage employees is to involve them in the process. Ask them to provide inputs and ideas on how to improve engagement levels.  

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