The worldwide economic recession is still affecting the success and prosperity of businesses. The negative effects of the tough financial and economic decisions that companies have had to make are apparent in the levels of employee engagement. The smaller the business, the more stark the impact can be as there are fewer layers between the necessary cuts that a company may have to make to survive and the effects being felt by individual employees. However, there is much that small businesses can do to invest in employee engagement and keep their employees working hard with a commitment to the company and maintaining productivity and output. In the return to a better economic climate, these companies will be better placed for recovery and growth.
While overall there appears to have been an increase in employee engagement levels across the globe, with an overall rise to 60%, there are fluctuations from one country or continent to another, with the highest levels of engagement at 72% and the lower levels at 46%.
What Are the Main Employee Engagement Drivers?
A human resources specialist has identified engagement drivers in their recent research including: work, quality of life, people, opportunities, rewards and company practices. These make up all the key aspects of the employees’ experience at work and how their jobs fit in with the rest of their lives. So there are clearly many ways that businesses can work to keep their staff engaged by understanding what is important to them and how the difficult decisions about resource allocation and investment in staff that companies are forced to make in tough economic times can affect individuals within the organisation.
Can the Outputs of Positive Employee Engagement Be Measured?
The engagement model helps companies to assess the degree to which effective employee engagement can be measured in outcomes. The three indicators are: how employees speak about the company, which is the ‘say’ factor; the ‘stay’ factor, which is the extent to which employees feel they belong and want to continue to be part of the company; and the third indicator is the ‘strive’ factor, which shows how much employees will make that extra effort in their jobs to achieve success for themselves but also for the organisation.
While there is plenty of research to back up the claims about the effects of employee engagement, it is logical that if you have happy, content and engaged staff they will deliver a better level of output, whether that is their efficiency levels, the quality of their work, inspiration and innovation in their jobs or simply an improved level of customer service. This in turn provides all the conditions a company needs to encourage increased sales and higher retention of customers and renewed business due to higher customer-satisfaction ratings. While the impact is not immediate, it will over time lead to improved financial performance, which is vital for small businesses.
Pay is now seen as one of the top engagement drivers. This wasn’t always the case as it only ranked as sixth in importance back in 2011. However, employee engagement drivers are not the same around the world, which is especially important for global companies to recognise. The more they invest in trying to understand the relative importance of drivers across their different locations, the better they will do at keeping staff engaged. This is the same for small businesses but possibly easier to do with the potential for employees to be involved in the determining of engagement strategies. Communication has also seen an increase in perceived importance for employee engagement. This makes sense, especially for small businesses, as the worry and subsequent reduced productivity that can result from the uncertainties which economic difficulties place on job security and even the continued viability of a small business can be devastating.
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