There is a clear correlation between employee engagement and ongoing business success. But what do you do if your workers are just not engaged?

According to a recent Gallup global workplace study, a whopping 60% of Australian workers are not engaged at work. An additional 16% of Aussies take it even further, falling into the 'actively disengaged' category.

These numbers mean that for every four workers in Australia, only one is truly inspired by their job. With employee engagement so important to company growth and success, it is imperative that the percentage of engaged workers rise.

Here are five steps to help inspire your team and increase employee engagement:

1. Communicate who you are


Have you clearly communicated your company values and vision? What is the fundamental purpose of your business, and what does it hope to become? Communicating who you are and, just as importantly, where you are going, enables employees to buy into these goals and invest in their outcomes. It paints a bigger picture of the work they are doing and ensures everyone is working toward success.

2. Show employees where they fit

It is not enough to simply paint the picture. Every employee needs to know how he or she can contribute to achieving these goals. From entry-level employees to senior leaders, your entire workforce needs to know where they fit, and how their own work helps achieve common business goals. It is empowering for employees to recognise their contribution to a greater goal and enables a sense of personal satisfaction that goes beyond merely getting the job done.

3. Empower employees

Build a culture where your employees are encouraged to take risks and try something new, even if that means failing on the way. If you want to engage staff and encourage innovation, you need to empower them to be comfortable with both. From technology hackathons to a designated ratio of staff 'innovation time' and staff meetings where everyone is openly encouraged to contribute freely, remove any fear around suggesting a different way of doing things. When you show faith in an employees’ vision, they tend to reciprocate in kind.

4. Reward and recognise risk

It’s universally understood that rewarding good behaviour promotes good behaviour. Once you’ve got your employees engaged and prepared to take risks in pursuit of business growth, you can sustain that engagement by ensuring their efforts are recognised and rewarded. The reward doesn’t always need to be financial, as for many employees, the act of recognition from a boss is reward enough. Publish an acknowledgment in the monthly newsletter, or quietly leave a gift card on an employee’s desk. A simple show of your appreciation for an employee’s contribution, letting other staff see that great work does not go unnoticed, will go a long way.

5. Celebrate

In addition to rewarding individual performance, provide a culture where milestones and collective achievements are celebrated, and work is occasionally put to one side. Celebrating together makes teams more cohesive and promotes a workplace where people genuinely enjoy each other’s company. From end-of-quarter lunches and office Christmas parties to celebrating team members’ birthdays and personal milestones, encourage a workplace that knows how to get the job done and still have fun. The reality is that despite only 24% of employees being positively engaged, Australia sits at the high end of the scale (Gallup puts the global figure at a paltry 13%). One in four motivated employees per office is a start, but there is still a lot of work to be done.