Updated: Aug 16, 2019
What if you could increase the productivity of your employees between 20-25%? What would that do for your business? Or, if your business was one of a selected number of organisations with high employee engagement that averages 3-year growth 2.3 times higher than similar businesses without engaged teams, how different would your business look then?
The human factor in business is its most vital cog. Technology changes things fast, but still it remains that the reason for business and the reason behind it working is people. Yet, even big businesses are being slow on the uptake on how much increasing employee engagement can drive uplift in productivity and profit and this is an area where SMEs can capitalise and compete with much larger organisations on talent and productivity, particularly in highly competitive sectors such as technology, cyber and engineering.
More than just benefits...
The common approach to employee engagement has been to bolster staff benefits but multiple psychology studies have shown how benefits and bonuses only benefit in the short-term and not the long-term as they quickly become an expected 'standard' in an employee package, which frankly undermines the driver for many organisations giving them - motivation and retention. So, what is a better way to motivate, deliver greater engagement and get your slice of those tempting productivity and growth statistics?
The world has become a sellers-market. More than ever-before, the job market has become transparent. Employees are easily found online via Linked In and other methods, benefits packages become transparent with social media platforms such as Glassdoor, enabling the disgruntled (and the happy) to share their experiences of an employer. There is strong competition for talent and now, more-so than previously they are looking for more than a simple pay cheque and the supposed security of a job...which they know does not exist anymore. This means businesses are looking at other drivers for employee attraction, retention and motivation. Some of these factors include:
Culture Sense of Purpose Autonomy
Creativity Company Prospects . Common Goals
Shared responsibility Flexibility in Job Location
Contribution rather than top-down didactic management
So, how do you track this, particularly in a fast-moving environment where data and people move fast? Let's face it the annual survey or exit questionnaire providing a snapshot in time that may be biased as it's not anonymous, doesn't really cut the mustard to give you the depth of data you need to improve in the 21st century working environment. Why not create a culture where employees are a part of the conversation and at the collaborative heart of the business, knowing they have the ability to create improvement, they take greater ownership. There is a lot else besides that a combined employee engagement strategy (with tools like Engagement Multiplier) with coaching can bring to a business and the best of it is, by using technology to your advantage, this can be manageable resource-wise even for the smaller SME:
Make employee engagement data is at the core of how a business functions and improves with quarterly surveys that track trends
Identify engagement problems quickly and easily before they become factors in higher staff attrition rates
Retain the talent you paid so much to acquire by making it transparent that their motivation and engagement is at the core of your growth strategy.
Reduce recruitment costs and focus on training, coaching and development exactly where its needed, not just where selected management shout loudest.
Reduce absenteeism, stress and sickness enabling the business to function more effectively
Create lines of feedback that cut through the management 'fog' to enable the business to adapt faster and grow strong.
Identify cultural and management-style issues that impede growth and create the change required when 58% of employees say poor management is the biggest thing getting in the way of productivity (Society for Human Resource Management)
Build a strong employer-brand where people and purpose are at the heart of the business.
Track improvement and productivity KPIs in a measurable form rather than subjective review.
In summary, people buy from people. If you're people are happy and ploughing the same furrow as the management as you are all following the same purpose, that positivity will translate into external client relationships and greater sales.
Customer retention rates are 18% higher on average when employees are highly engaged. (Cvent)
A survey from the Workplace Research Foundation stated that increasing investment in employee engagement by 10% can increase profits per employee by $2400. In essence, to achieve growth in the 21st century, the age of driving employees by pressure and money alone are arcane and will only deliver stagnation. Growth for SMEs, particularly in fast-growing markets means transparency, shared values and drivers, autonomy and a focus on the employee as well as the end-consumer. The resulting crock of gold delivers higher productivity, higher customer satisfaction, client retention, employee retention, improved safety, amplified sales performance, growth and profits.
Alison Prangnell is a Development Coach, Employee Engagement Consultant & Stress Specialist based in the UK -www.anderidacoaching.co.uk