You need to start taking engagement seriously. After all, the chances are you haven’t – and that is a mistake.

There has been a lot of chatter around the topic of customer engagement, where organisations need to interact with their clients in the modern age of collaboration and social media.

The theory suggests that an advocate for your business is your most valuable asset. A social advocate, with a positive tale to tell about your processes and products, will help boost confidence, trust and sales.

Although a popular theory for dealing with external clients, the engagement approach has not taken such a hold for internal staff. This deficiency is both surprising and disappointing.

Maybe the wider belief is that an employee is either engaged or not engaged, and that any approach to increase commitment is a waste of time? If that is the case, your business needs to think again.

Like training, engagement is not simply a nice-to-have that offers intangible benefits that can be cut when times are tough; engagement is a business essential.

There are three, fairly simple and cost effective, software-based measures that can help you engage with your workforce. First, no one likes being paid late for work completed – use a flexible payroll system to ensure workers receive their cash on time.

Second, bad eggs cause wide resentment – integrate payroll technology with time and attendance tools to help monitor attendance in a transparent and fair manner. Third, good communication creates value – HR software can be used to push finance and performance reports to managers, for example.

Taking such an integrated approach to employee engagement will help you to keep workers informed and happy. Potential benefits include improved productivity, loyalty and performance.

There is also a strong governance angle. Following the MacLeod Review, the government has launched new guidance on employee engagement (see further reading, below). The guidance aims to help employers engage their employees and improve business performance.

As you implement software in line with the broader guidelines, think about the next stage of employee engagement including how you can use development and incentive schemes to motivate staff. HR analytics tools also become vital as you move onto the next stage of engagement. Such tools help you to effectively measure and report on employee engagement in relation to key company metrics.

The result? Your own staff become your firm’s strongest advocates – and what could be better than that?