By Legal Futures’ Associate Kaplan Altior 
Thanks to increased everyday workloads, digital distractions, growing stress levels and evolving client demands, team engagement and motivation levels can wither. Research shows that this can impact productivity and overall team satisfaction levels, so it’s crucial to keep your team engaged to encourage loyalty and help to ensure career longevity. However, employee engagement needs to be genuine and individual-focused, rather than a tick box exercise. According to Forbes , employees are increasingly looking for a holistic approach to how businesses partner with their team members, meaning that overall experience is more important than ever if businesses want to maintain and develop their people. Jody Tranter, head of legal and professional training firm, Kaplan Altior , explains how organisations can look to maintain and enhance team engagement levels.
- Mentoring matters
Although not a new phenomenon but certainly one that has withstood the test of time, mentorship schemes can present a number of significant benefits for your firm, both for your junior and more senior members of your team. Research shows that 80%  of all learning is informal, meaning that mentoring should be considered essential when looking to keep your team members engaged, regardless of seniority. In addition, it can help to improve team satisfaction levels, with the Journal of Vocational Behaviour  highlighting that people who have the opportunity to participate in a mentorship scheme report greater job satisfaction and a higher commitment to their employers. You can even utilise technology to help bring this to life, with mentoring conducted across virtual meeting rooms such as Google Meet and Skype to help encourage cross-location communications.
- Knowing what’s needed
According to research from Breathe , 30% of the UK workforce has never had meetings about their personal development, a figure which is quite shocking, particularly as 75% of employees believe personal development to be very valuable. However, reviewing development and conducting appraisals should be more than just a tick box exercise. To truly engage your team, you need to understand what they want, what your business is able to offer them and be able to identify key areas for training not for compliance sake or to meet industry-specific guidelines, but for true personal and professional development.
- Showing some appreciation
While many individuals will usually begin their professional journey as highly engaged and motivated, it’s important to encourage this attitude continuously for their benefit and that of your business. One way to do this is through employee recognition schemes. This doesn’t always have to be a monetary reward, but internal recognition in team communications or a small prize can help to drive the employee experience and show them that they are valued. According to Inc,  seven out of 10 employees who received appreciation for their work said they’re happy with their jobs in comparison with just 39% of team members who hadn’t received recognition.
- Development does wonders
Introducing an effective training and development programme is a brilliant way to both strengthen your workforce and ensure your employees feel valued, by demonstrating that you consider them and their abilities a worthy investment. Organisations who promote development typically have higher staff retention rates thanks to their nurturing approach. Digits reports  that offering employees continuous learning opportunities will improve staff satisfaction, as it shows dedication to their personal and career development. Additionally, a study by IBM revealed that 84% of employees at the best performing organisations are receiving the necessary training they require, leading an aspirational example for wider firms.
- Building strong relationships
A professional network will be important to your team members throughout the course of their careers. After all, the importance of building strong peer-to-peer relationships and professional connections cannot be disregarded. This is because they can help to build a shared understanding with a wider range of industry and business-specific knowledge. Professional connections can be built through a variety of methods such as public training courses or networking events, both of which can help to enhance confidence levels in an external environment. Additionally, according to Forbes , networking opportunities can provide a great sounding board for additional advice, sharing experiences and can help to create a sense of belonging within a chosen industry.
Over the course of their careers, your teams will develop enormously both personally and professionally, and it’s key that they stay engaged and encouraged continuously to ensure that they do not lose focus on business key goals and their role within these. There are a number of measures that you can put in place to ensure that this happens including a mentorship scheme, regularly evaluating development, encouraging networking opportunities and more. But above all, it’s important that your team has the time and space to allow them every opportunity to thrive in their roles. Not only will this benefit them as individuals, nurturing a talented workforce, but it can also help to improve your businesses’ retention levels and overall productivity.