Despite having one of the strongest economies in Europe, the UK rather surprisingly has one of the less engaged workforces. In fact we rank 18th out of 20 in the world staff engagement rankings – not good in anyone’s books.
With a plethora of evidence to suggest that having a better engaged workforce boosts employee productivity, profits and competitiveness, why are we not doing more to better engage our teams – especially in today’s ultra-competitive recruitment industry?
Research conducted by Towers Watson into the provision of care within the health sector found that where providers have an engaging workplace, both patient satisfaction and the quality of care outcomes are higher. This, as a direct result, led to improved organisational and financial performance too.
These findings reflect those of the MacLeod Review (2009), which went a step further to suggest that:
“engaged employees are also more loyal to their employer and demonstrate greater degrees of innovation.”
The MacLeod Review identified 3 key benefits to be gained from employee engagement:
- Improved productivity of individual employees and better overall organisational performance
- Engaged employees are more innovative
- Engaged employees are significantly more loyal to their employer
This has a number of obvious implications. First, sickness and absenteeism levels are lower with a more engaged workforce. Second, productivity and performance levels are invariably higher.
And third, improved employer attitudes raise the perception for ‘brand’ as an employer of choice which, in today’s climate, can make the difference between your organisation attracting the best talent or the also-rans for your business.
Of course not even the most optimistic of commentators would ever go so far as to suggest that staff attrition rates will be completely eradicated simply by improving existing lines of communication.
However, irrespective of how many people are employed in your organisation, on-going communication from the top-down and bottom-up is essential to ensuring that those employees remain actively engaged with the business and for the organisation itself to remain competitive.
It’s about being human. Take Siemens as an example.
The goal of their internal communications strategy is to “foster engagement while helping employees understand the company’s business objectives and how they fit into them.”
So how can recruitment consultancies better engage their teams?
Implementing an effective employee engagement strategy is not rocket science – it’s simply about creating a two-way channel of communication:
- Gain employee buy-in: Share your goals and objectives for the year ahead so that your employees understand where the business is heading and the contribution they will make to achieve these plans.
- Collaborate: You may have a CV the envy of your peers but you cannot profess to have all the answers all of the time. Create collaboration tools, such as focus groups, town hall meetings or in-house forums that encourage employees to openly share ideas and best practice.
- Give employees a ‘voice’: Business guru Peter Drucker once said that as managers we gain more power by giving it away. Involve during the decision-making process. Giving employees an opportunity to contribute and have their voices heard on the future direction of the organisation is a strong driver of engagement.
- Internal communication: Keep staff updated with the latest news and developments not just within the organisation itself, but also across the sector. Newsletters, regular all-staff emails, intranet sites and monthly meetings can all prove an invaluable tool in maintaining staff engagement.
- Continuous professional development: Evaluation of staff development on a regular basis, with a focus on supporting staff training needs whilst keeping an eye on the long term development of managers and potential new managers as part of your overall succession planning strategy.
Employee engagement is not just about finding ways to motivate your consultants. It is the way in which you gain their commitment to the organisation’s goals and values.
Empower them so they understand the contribution they are making towards achieving these goals and to enhance their own sense of well-being at the same time. Get your engagement strategy right and you boost employee pride in the company they work for which will in turn motivate them to perform at their best.