Employee engagement drives productivity and revenue - Business Works
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Employee engagement drives productivity and revenue

by Doug Mackay, MD, Collingwood Executive Recruitment Unless, like me, you have recently returned from holiday, where electricity and access to the internet was almost non-existent, you will have seen articles published on low employee engagement says Doug Mackay, MD of Collingwood Executive Recruitment. During my catch-up, one article in particular caught my attention from the Harvard Business Review Map: The Sad State of Global Workplace Engagement.

Following worldwide research, Gallup published their State of Global Workplace which reported that only 13% of employees, across 142 countries worldwide, are currently engaged in their jobs. This leaves 87% of the workforce, who are either disengaged or actively disengaged, averaging an operating margin of just under 10%.

It is well known that employee engagement has a direct impact on high productivity something that most organisations seek to achieve. So, why are so many organisations failing and whose fault is it? Employer, manager or employee? Actually all three have a part to play in engagement.

Jim Harter, PhD, Chief Scientist at Gallup believes that "many organisations measure the wrong things, or too many things, or dont make the data intuitively actionable. Many dont make engagement a part of their overall strategy, or clarify why employee engagement is important, or provide quality education to help managers."

Engagement is a dynamic interpersonal relationship that changes and needs to be worked at by both parties.

I have known organisations that have spent significant time and money on conducting employee engagement surveys and analysing the data, only for it to be published on their company website in expectation that managers will read it and do something about it. Then question why the level of engagement has fallen further the following year!

Fortunately, I have also worked for great leaders, who have made a concerted effort and taken the time to talk with every employee irrespective of their role or size of the department. They have shown a genuine interest in each member: focussing on their tasks, actively encouraged ideas, but perhaps more importantly, acknowledged and supported their recommendations for improvement. By taking 30-40 minutes out of their busy schedule and displaying sincere recognition, the outcomes were far greater than those in other departments of the organisation.

Organisations with engaged employees not only achieve higher productivity (on average 22% than organisations with disengaged employees), but also double the rate of success and customer satisfaction and attain lower rates of absenteeism, reduced staff turnover, theft and safety incidents.

the cost of disengagement to the UK economy may be as high as £26 billion

So many organisations concentrate on their objectives and KPIs, with little or no time invested on their most valuable asset their employees. With the CIPD reporting that the cost of disengagement to the UK economy may be as high as £26 billion, clearly organisations need to escalate engagement as a priority in their business strategy.

In the world of HR, there is always a trend to be followed 'energizing employees for sustainable engagement', 'gamification', etc. However, you do not need to be a follower-of-fashion, to make a positive impact on your organisation.

Based on research and experience, the following recommendations should help improve engagement in your organisation:

CONVERSE E-mail may be the preferred method to communicate, but face-to-face conversations are proven to be the most effective method for building relationships and managing situations. Conversations need to be a positive, two-way dialogue between line-manager and staff member that happen regularly.

INVEST Managers / supervisors need to take time out of their personal schedule to focus on their staff get to know what 'makes them tick', agree tasks and check-in on the progress. Dont leave it until the annual appraisal its not enough.

PURPOSE Staff need to feel valued and know what they are working to let them know that their role is an important contributor to the bigger picture. (Public Sector staff are currently more engaged than in the Private Sector which highlights that, long-term, money is not the key factor for motivating people.)

LISTEN Often people performing in the role are the best people to recommend efficiency savings / improvements. Likewise, employees need to listen to line-managers and colleagues to minimise problems and mistakes occurring.

FEEDBACK Irrespective of your personal opinion, feedback needs to be constructive, factual, specific and fair.

I wont lie, whichever method you apply a great deal of commitment and dedication is required, as the outcomes will not be evident overnight but persevere, the investment is worth the return.

For further information about Collingwood Executive Recruitment, please visit: www.collingwoodsearch.co.uk

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