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Demand is high and supply is low for skilled professionals in Canada. That is what makes employee engagement so significant.

The business case is clear. A 2013 study completed by Kenan-Flagler Business School found that organizations with highly engaged employees had a three-year revenue growth rate that was 2.3 times the average. Other studies have shown that engaged employees are higher performing and tend to have much lower turnover rates. They also tend to have lower absenteeism rates and fewer workplace accidents. Given that payroll is an employee-facing role with the potential to support employee engagement, it clearly cannot be ignored.

Employee Engagement Tips You Can Implement Now

There are many things employers can do to help engage employees and minimize disengagement. Given the integrated position of payroll, you are perfectly positioned to help. Here are seven practical ideas you can start with today:

  1. Review the roles and responsibilities within your organization. Ensure the demands placed on each employee are reasonable and do not lead to overwork, stress or burnout. Also, provide line of sight for employees in terms of how their roles fit into the organization’s overall objectives.
  2. Ensure the total rewards package is fair and competitive. Benchmark your compensation packages against industry standards. Implement rewards and recognition programs for employees, and assign work that plays to each employee’s strengths, if possible.
  3. Improve communications and information sharing. Ensure organizational communications are authentic and transparent. Payroll staff in particular need to be empathetic, helpful and committed to accurate and timely service delivery. Also, provide and obtain regular feedback, and develop action items where necessary.
  4. Provide meaningful learning and development opportunities. Provide information on career paths and ensure managers have ongoing career discussions with their direct reports. Allow for a certain amount of risk-taking, and encourage employees to learn from failure.
  5. Empower employees to make decisions that affect their jobs. Provide opportunities to give input into company policies, programs and priorities. Ensure managers are supportive, available and approachable.
  6. Create a culture where it is safe to speak up. Disengaged employees often feel they lack a voice within the organization. It is important to listen to them and provide them with an outlet to give honest feedback without fear of reprisal.
  7. Maintain a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand with better engagement. Look for diversity in sex, religion, ethnicity, family status, age, perspective, personality, life experiences and more. Ensure inclusion in terms of work environments that enable each and every employee to perform at their best, regardless of their unique and individual differences. Consider whether your workplace is welcoming for everyone, and whether you have flexible programs to suit employees’ needs. Have managers get to know their team members on a personal level and ensure they take a genuine interest in their personal well-being.

While the above ideas can be helpful in engaging all employees, there are several things payroll managers can do specifically to help engage their direct reports. Because payroll often struggles to be recognized for the important role they play in organizations, payroll managers should provide recognition to their direct reports and work to enhance their visibility within the company. Acknowledging hard work and efforts that go above and beyond the call of duty is particularly important. Also, look for opportunities to celebrate achievements and milestones, and provide down time after particularly stressful periods, like year-end. Ensure there is a focus on-and budget for-continuing professional development. Payroll legislation and technologies are constantly evolving. Staying up to date is important to ensure accuracy and compliance. The National Payroll Institute offers a wide range of online and in-person options to fit your budget and schedule.

Employees who are engaged are motivated to do their best work every day and stay with the organization. By investing in employee engagement now, you will be able to increase productivity, retain top performers and ensure success in the future.

This article is adapted from Dialogue Magazine, a benefit to members of the National Payroll Institute.

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