Expert Advice

Engage or estrange: why don’t bosses listen to what matters to their staff?

B2B Editor13 May 2016

Engage or estrange: why don’t bosses listen to what matters to their staff?

Do your line managers know how to motivate and engage staff at work? A new report on staff engagement by recruiting experts Hays found a disparity of up to 13% between what people say engages them and what employers think engages their employees.

We surveyed 1,196 employers and employees and found that being valued, recognition for a job well done, and understanding how their success will be measured are the top three engagement factors for employees. Yet employers believe that ensuring staff understand how their role contributes to the organisation’s success, how their role helps the organisation achieve its objectives, and feeling valued are most important.

This explains why 97% of employers believe staff engagement is important yet just 40% say their staff are engaged.

In our Staff Engagement report we share practical strategies, covering both intrinsic and extrinsic factors, you can take to improve your organisation’s employee engagement levels, including:
Intrinsic factors
Intrinsic factors come from within, and start with a sense of purpose. We all want to understand what we are working towards so communicate objectives and strategy, and employees’ role in achieving them.
Employees also want to be valued, know what achievements constitute success, and be recognised for good work. Of course, people need to be respected and treated fairly by a manager who is dependable, trustworthy, and who they can work collaboratively with.

Employees want to feel that their emotions are respected too, so consider emotional intelligence and become aware of your own feelings and those of your team.
Extrinsic factors
Extrinsic factors come from outside an employee, and generally employers have a greater influence over them.
For instance, no one forgets a difficult adjustment period. Therefore provide an effective induction, and use on boarding to engage staff with your organisation’s culture and values.
Performance management is important too, and crucially your employees must also have a voice in this process. Reverse appraisals can then make their voice louder – provided you take feedback seriously.
Next, embrace diversity of thought to create a workplace where people feel they can be themselves, share different perspectives and provide an honest opinion. This helps people feel their opinion counts.
In employee engagement terms it’s also important to consider how technology can have an impact, such as through the online delivery of training and gamification or using collaboration tools for business.
Learning & development, an annual salary review, the office environment and flexible work practices are important too. Finally, an off boarding process helps departing staff stay engaged – important when their opinions on company review sites like Glassdoor impact the perceptions of future candidates.
Interested in learning more? Please see our report Staff Engagement: Ideas for action at


Jim Roy, Regional Director
5th Floor, 54 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra
T:02 6112 7663 | F 02 6257 6377 | E [email protected]