Would you say that your employees are engaged at work? It might be time to think again. According to the Gallup study of employee engagement, chances are that they aren’t. Only 24% of Australians reported being engaged at work, meaning that they are involved in, enthusiastic about and innovating in their work and workplace. The other 76% are either not engaged (60%), meaning that they are not motivated and have essentially ‘checked out’, or actively disengaged (16%), making them likely to jeopardise work by acting out on their unhappiness. Considering that this is costing the economy an estimated $54.8 billion a year, it would be fair to say that we are experiencing an engagement crisis. Although many organisations are conducting some form of employee engagement survey, with little progress being made it seems that there is a focus on measuring engagement as opposed to actually improving engagement by implementing change. The good news is that there are 4 simple steps you can take to start inspiring engagement within your own team. 1. Involve your employees and show trust The best way to encourage your employees to consistently give their very best on the job is to create a partnership. Let each employee feel recognised as a valuable member of your team by giving them a degree of autonomy to make decisions and do their work as they see fit. This will encourage them to take more ownership of their work. 2. Let your team in on the plan Be transparent with your employees, whether it is by keeping them engaged with regular company updates or sharing your successes and losses. Let them in on any long-term strategies that you have and give them a better idea of their role in the big picture. In sharing this, you are showing your employees their importance in the broader vision of the company. By encouraging your employees to become more involved in helping the company achieve its vision, employee and company goals are much more likely to align. 3. Recognise employee accomplishments Let employees know that you have taken notice of their hard work by acknowledging their accomplishments. This simple step, which is all too easy to implement, can make such difference. A global survey conducted by Boston Consulting Group of over 200,000 employees found that employees ranked ‘appreciation for their work’ as the top factor for on-the-job happiness, beating an attractive salary (which surprisingly came in at 9th place). When employees show initiative and take action to solve problems, keep customers happy, improve processes, or create growth, your recognition is what will encourage them to do the same in the future. However, this does not mean that there isn’t room for failure. If failure isn’t accepted, then your employees aren’t going to be prepared to take risks that are often needed for innovation, growth and disruption. So, make sure to recognise your team’s big wins, but don’t be afraid to celebrate the failures too. 4. Develop a winning culture The most successful workplaces are ones that are open, trusting, and most importantly, fun. A study conducted by the University of Warwick measuring the impact of happiness on employee productivity found a 12% spike in productivity among happy workers. Start by being open to new ideas and suggestions that come from your employees, and show them that their voices are being heard. Regularly set time aside for team-building exercises and meetings, and make them fun so that your employees actually look forward to participating rather than looking for reasons to ditch them. Joel Ramirez, GM and Co-Founder of Financials 365, couldn’t agree more and this ethos is certainly reflected in his approach to management: People’s mindsets play an important role in pushing past the ceiling of what they think they are capable of. I’m very conscious of this and have experienced, firsthand, what people can achieve in a startup with minimal resources, when they know they are loved, appreciated, have a sense of purpose, are trusted, given transparency, flexibility and the freedom over how they work. It’s magic! You can write strategy all you want, but without a winning culture, there is no growth. What do you do that keeps your employee’s engaged? Let us know in the comments below. Read more on what Joel has to say about workplace culture in his full interview with KPMG High Growth Ventures.