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  • Writer's picturePeter Searle

Is staff engagement a top priority? If not, it should be.

People are not machines, they like to be engaged. When individuals are part of a well led, engaged team, then productivity can increase by up to 17% and absenteeism reduce by up to 41%. A business can have strategies and procedures but if it does not have a culture which people are prepared to live by, it will always struggle. In the recruitment process consideration should be given to “do they fit?”. Someone who likes detail and processes, is unlikely to be happy in a creative work environment. Fit is vital both at recruitment stage, and as an organisation changes or someone’s outlook changes.

There are four elements to having an engaged workforce.

1. Have an engaging purpose for the organisation.

An engaged purpose details the transformation you are aiming to create. For example, the Body Shop sets its self apart with the aim “to enrich, not exploit”. Which for them, “means enriching people as well as our planet, its biodiversity and resources”. Every organisation should have unique purpose, it’s what sets it apart and attracts the customers and staff who share the same disposition.

2. Engaged owners.

The owners of SME’s should be passionate about engagement within their organisation. If the owner doesn’t care, why should anyone else? Becoming an engaged Owner requires going the extra mile so the staff, suppliers and customers can see it.

3. Engaged leaders.

Engaged Leaders communicate regularly with the staff. These people play a key part in turning the Engaged Purpose into reality, motivating and energising their teams to do the same. Leaders are essential to the creation of the final crucial piece of this puzzle: Engaged Employees.

4. Engaged employees.

The FSB reports that our jobs have a big impact on our health and wellbeing. The Labour Force Survey in 2007/08 found that an estimated 442,000 individuals in Britain believed that they were experiencing work related stress at a level that was making them ill. Much of the stress can be related to being dis-engaged.But engagement is important for other reasons.

In most businesses, employees are where engagement meets the outside world. Without Engaged Employees, you will never have an Engaged Organisation. Staff engagement comes from them being motivated. When they join an organisation, ideally, they do so because they believe in the purpose of what it does. Once employed, maintaining motivation is complex and can be derailed easily. Reasons people leave are complex, but often fall into these main headings:

  • Pay is the first hurdle, it should be fair and seen to be fair, equity with others in and outside the organisation can be the first reason someone leaves.

  • Clarity of their role is important and how they fit into the rest of the organisation. They need to know what is expected and be stimulated by the tasks they are given. Confusion about what is expected is another reason people leave.

  • They are not getting, or believe they are missing out on opportunities to better themselves.

  • They are not respected by their leaders or recognised for their efforts.

Brave business owners are willing to find out what the staff really think. If you want to reset your business so everyone in it has the same passion about it as you, start by answering six questions in the following survey which is free. Only brave business owners need try, but they will be the ones taking the first step to reap the reward of a more engaged workforce in 12 months, by knowing where they are now, and creating an action plan to engage the staff better.

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