The Government has recently launched its new Employee Engagement Taskforce, with the intention of boosting employee engagement in the UK. The launch comes at a time when many businesses are increasing their focus on employee motivation.
Employee engagement in the UK is at a record low, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s latest quarterly employee survey. As many employees report a decline in their standard of living over the past year and large numbers are affected by job insecurity and cuts at work, the CIPD reported plunging staff morale and a lack of trust in managers. So what are the benefits of a focus on employee engagement, and how can it be achieved?
The business case for increasing employee engagement is clear – motivated, happy employees are more productive, perform better in the workplace and are less likely to take time off work due to illness. Companies who focus on their employee’s wellbeing at work could increase their business performance, reduce their staff turnover and recruiting costs and improve their organisation’s communication and customer service levels.
In these turbulent economic times it’s more important than ever for organisations to keep their employees focused and motivated in order to achieve efficiency savings and do more with tight budgets. Good management is key to achieving this; with many employees reporting a lack of trust in their managers, investment in leadership and management skills has been identified as a central factor in improving engagement, giving managers the skills and knowledge to communicate the company’s vision effectively during difficult periods of change.
Efforts to improve employee health and wellbeing are also receiving attention, as a recent survey showed that UK workers take on average twice as much time off sick as their American counterparts. From best practice to help businesses deal with the mental and physical effects of workplace stress on their employees to suggestions that they offer employees eye tests and healthy eating initiatives, employers are increasingly being encouraged to take a more active role in ensuring the wellbeing of their workforce. Another factor that scores consistently highly on research around employee engagement is staff development – employees who are encouraged to develop in their role are much more likely to be engaged and motivated in their work.
The government’s Employee Engagement Taskforce reflects a growing interest among organisations in staff morale, but will this newfound enthusiasm continue as the economy recovers? In difficult economic times, problems with staff morale are brought to the fore, but it’s important that these are not forgotten as the country moves out of recession and organisations return to ‘business as usual’.