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IoD Winter 2012 issue_Layout 1 26/11/2012 15:52 Page 29 HUMAN RESOURCES Gary Cattermole and Jaime Johnson are joint co-founders and directors at The Survey Initiative, a leading staff survey provider. Here they discuss how employee engagement can lift profitability and improve staff wellbeing. Employee engagement is the key to success In November, the government-backed independent Employee Engagement Task Force launched a new movement ‘Engage for Success'. Its mission – to be an inspirational force to drive measurable improvement in employee performance, creativity and innovation. Engage for Success firmly believes that the next generation of successful businesses will be those that can free people’s personal potential. Their hope is that employee engagement can release more of the capability and potential of people at work – enabling personal growth, organisational growth and, ultimately, growth for Britain. So what is employee engagement? It is a workplace approach designed to ensure employees are committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success and, at the same time, able to enhance their own sense of wellbeing. But is all this just management gobbledegook or can employee engagement be useful for Suffolk-based businesses? The research speaks for itself. Many businesses have undertaken employee engagement research and those that score highly also have higher rates of profitability, lower staff turnover and associated costs of recruitment, and higher customer loyalty than businesses with average employee engagement ratings. It is simple really. If employees are happy, enjoy their work and feel valued they are keen to excel in their role and help the business succeed. What does become difficult for managers is identifying who is engaged and who is not. Typically, this is much easier for the MD of an SME than of a multinational operation – but everyone can be blinkered to what’s going on in their own organisation, which is why independent research can help pinpoint areas for development. Some businesses may think it is particularly hard to spend time looking at employee engagement in a recession. During times of cutbacks, however, staff tend to take on more tasks, responsibilities and work longer hours, sometimes without a pay increase or promotion. Staff morale is also hit when redundancies are announced and it is, therefore, often even more important to target employee engagement at such a time – to ensure your business stays fighting fit. We all want happy employees so why not undertake a little research for yourself? Walk into the office on Monday morning and ask yourself: Do my employees look happy? Are they going the extra mile? Also ask yourself: What can I do to improve employee engagement in my workforce? To find out more, visit TOP TIPS FOR ASSESSING EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT: Do your teams regularly exceed targets? Are they highly innovative? Do they provide excellent levels of customer service? If so, this could indicate high levels of employee engagement. Do you have a high staff turnover? If you see a jump or steady increase in staff turnover this could be a sign you have an employee engagement issue. Undertake an employee engagement survey. This will help benchmark where you are at present. You can then compare your organisation against these results in 6-12 months’ time. IoD suffolk | winter 2012 | 29

Iod Suffolk winter 2012

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