Why Employee Engagement is critical

Emily Perry [square]By Emily Perry 

Emily Perry is the Marketing Director of Purple Cubed who are experts in simplifying HR strategy through common-sense advice and great technology. @EmilyBPerry

 

Most executives recognise the power of having an engaged workforce; increased motivation, heightened productivity and improved loyalty. When cultivated in the right way, all of these benefits can have a direct impact on the bottom line. In fact management consultants, Hay Group, in their ‘Are you missing something?’ report, found that companies with highly engaged employees experienced 2.5 times more revenue than those companies without.

 

Whilst it can be argued that the happiness of employees is just one indicator as to the levels of engagement within a business (and thus the strength of an organisation), we believe it is provides very good insight. This is why each year we review data from over 45,000 employees to establish people engagement, happiness and satisfaction trends.

 

This year our 2014 Talent Toolbox: Review – 2014 people engagement trends report found employee happiness was on the up, increasing 7% since May 2013 and coinciding with the positive growth of the UK economy.  More interesting, however, is that these levels improved despite a 34% increase in the number of challenges experienced by employees – two-thirds of the workforce are facing barriers when delivering their roles over the last 12 months. These centred on a lack of mentoring / coaching, underperforming colleagues and basics such as poor time management.

 

With workforces much more learning-savvy thanks to one-click access to information through the internet, they recognise that classroom learning is not going to support their development and are therefore looking to on-job learning and mentoring to gain experience rather than technical skills based ‘training’.

 

However during the recessionary years, many organisations opted to reduce their investment in developing softer skills such as listening, coaching, planning and leadership, though didn’t put any creative low-cost learning tools like secondments and mentoring in place to fill the gap. Now, with employees citing a need for this type of learning, it’s clear that taking a short-term, cost reduction approach has backfired.

 

To get over this, we must act now. Stop sheep-dipping our people into the same standard learning programmes each year and instead ask them for their input – what’s proving a challenge, how can it be resolved, what do you need from us. Then together create contemporary, creative and cost-effective solutions for which they are accountable and fully engaged in. That way next year we won’t need to wonder how much more happiness could have increased, and therefore our bottom-line, without a load of barriers surrounding our people…

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