We all know that if we get high levels of customer engagement our businesses thrive through referrals & testimonials, so reducing our cost of sales. So why don’t all businesses treat their employees as customers? After all, your people are probably your highest cost and potentially, as your most valuable asset they should be driving your businesses forward with the enthusiasm generated by their belief that your business values them and listens to their ideas.
Well, according to Office for National Statistics figures, in 2015 UK Workforces were 31% less productive than those of the US and 17% less productive than the rest of the G7 countries. This is despite workers in the UK working similar hours to elsewhere.
These figures seem to correlate with the low employee engagement statistics produced by the global research company ORC International which placed the UK 18th out of 20 countries with only Japan & Hong Kong below us.
So why is this? Employee engagement can only improve if the employees feel valued and are given reasons other than money to come to work. This is not rocket science and once employees feel valued productivity rises.
Factors which affect employee engagement stem from the top management of a business or organisation and are to do with the culture of the business.
- Are employees allowed to give feedback, and if they are is it acted on or just dismissed out of hand?
- Are working hours flexible to cater for employees needs or rigid to company “requirements”?
- Are employees made to feel a valuable part of the business with regular updates and reviews on how the company is performing?
- The list goes on……..
For the proof of how positive employee creates great companies you only have to look at Google, Virgin, American Express, Hyatt etc who succeed because they have strategies in place to drive employee engagement forward.
So what can you do about it? Start with asking your employees how they feel at work with questions like:
- In your work role when was the last time you had an appraisal where your manager asked for your opinion?
- In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?
- Do you know what is expected of you at work?
- At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
- In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?
- Does your boss, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?
Armed with the answers to these and other questions you are starting to understand how your people feel about how you value them & their opinions, hopefully it will be positive and you are delivering or moving forward with employee engagement. Alternatively if the feedback is negative or flat then you have the option to start the change or to carry on as before – the choice is yours.