Two female and two male collegues collaborate in an office

High employee engagement makes for a productive workforce. They are also generally happier, less stressed, and are more likely to stay. You’ll read a lot about engaging employees, but what you really should be focussing on is inspiring them.

Sure, engaged staff are 44 percent more productive than satisfied staff. But inspired employees are 125 percent more productive than satisfied staff, according to a 2017 Raconteur report.

How do you do this? It’s a basic ingredient list – a pinch of culture change, a dash of transparency, and a cup of the right technology and devices.

1. Make it easy to work

Work reflects life in the sense there will be challenges, busy times, and difficult projects. What can make this easy are the tools used.
Based in London, Wavemaker is a global advertising company. It was formed from the merging of two companies, meaning there were two different IT systems and ways of working coming together.

“We cannot continue to deliver work in old ways and sustain our profits, our margins, and the quality of work we deliver to customers. We have to change,” says David Kaganovsky, Global Chief Technology Officer.

They decided to move everything to the cloud. “It gives us a level of agility we didn’t have before. If we want to transfer a 100-megabyte file, we just put it in OneDrive—we’re not running around with thumb drives, or, worse yet, using unsecured free file-transfer methods on the internet,” says Kaganovsky.

They took the opportunity to encourage new ways of working and do things more efficiently. Moving to the cloud, they leveraged Office 365 and saw the potential of OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, and Teams to establish new and collaborative ways of working. By making it easier to work, they’ve positively impacting their employee engagement.

“We’re making work more meaningful and that’s making our people happier. And making them happier makes them more creative, more productive, and more excited to be part of Wavemaker. That’s a great thing to be able to give them,” says Kaganovsky.

Tips to make work easier

2. Talk isn’t cheap

You may think team communication is harder now as mobile working is getting more popular. But with collaboration tools such as Teams or Skype, it’s easier than ever to send a quick message, have an online meeting, or collaborate which is what Three discovered.

“The real advantage of Microsoft Teams is that you’re more productive because you don’t have to constantly switch between productivity apps,” says Gary Walker, Head of People Digital Tools at Three. “With Microsoft Teams, it’s contextually evident when to use the different Office 365 services—Skype for Business Online to start a meeting, OneNote to organise meeting minutes, and SharePoint Online or Microsoft OneDrive for Business to save your document.”

One of the easiest ways to increase employee engagement is to have a culture of open communication. Be communicative in your business goals and values. Listen to and reward for feedback and ideas from all parts of the company. It might even help your bottom line, as Centrica, an energy and services company discovered.

Using Yammer as their social media platform, any Centrica employee can post an idea. One employee suggested allowing customers to text back during complaint processes. Once implemented, it has a projected saving of £5 million from call reduction, and a rise in customer satisfaction.

“We’ve seen a lot of success with about 100 ideas implemented since the start of last year. This is much higher than any previous schemes and just goes to show that it really works,” stated Jenny Jarvis, Employee Insight Analyst.

Tips to inspire collaboration and communication

3. Encourage creativity

Most workplaces are open plan–which is great for collaborating, but bad for concentration. It’s important, if you want a creative workforce, to encourage everyone’s individual way of working.

A creative workplace is a multi-functional, tech-ready space. It will have space for that open plan communication, break-out rooms for focus work, meeting rooms, and even a relaxation area. The best thing to do is listen to your employees. Do some need a standing desk? Who prefers a window seat?

Have great place to work and your employees will want to do great work.

Landsec completely reimagined their workplace, creating variety of spaces with Surface Hubs and equipping their staff with the Surface Pro. They enable and trust people to work where they want. Employee engagement and productivity have skyrocketed as a result, and staff retention and acquisition are higher than ever.

“We’re very mobile within our own space. We can work where we want to work, and we can work in spaces that match the activity we’re doing at the time,” says Danny Nicholson, Solutions Architect. “We can meet and collide on a more dynamic basis and the ideas shared in that moment are captured immediately on the Surface.”

Tips to inspire creativity

4. Work-life balance

12.5 million working days were lost last year due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety. Therefore, a poor work-life balance affects more than just work productivity and employee engagement. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 40 percent of employees are neglecting other aspects of their life.

While encouraging flexibility is important, it won’t work if you don’t have an open, communicative, and supportive organisation with flexible tools and devices that make it easy to work and collaborate.

“We want our people to have a good work-life balance,” says Kaganovsky. “This project is giving us the flexibility—and Office 365 is enabling the mobility—so they can find that balance. People can now work from home, or a coffee shop, or an art gallery, or wherever they want to be. They couldn’t do that before, and it helps them be more creative.”

Tips to encourage a healthy work-life balance

Find out more

Hear from the experts on employee engagement
Empowering ways to keep your business productive
Drive collaboration in your modern workplace
8 tips for a less stressful work-life balance