Management analysis: staff engagement, Wednesday June 29 2011
An average of one in ten employees in Britain resigned from their jobs last year, according to data to be published next month.
The statistic is both good and bad. Good, because fewer people walked out of jobs than last year, when the average national resignation rate was 12 per cent, according to the researcher XpertHR. Bad, because it is likely that many people are staying in jobs they don’t like because there are not enough opportunities elsewhere.
And that, in turn, points to the wider issue of employees being involved and motivated at work – and a looming cloud over British business. Twenty three per cent of organisations in the survey said that staff engagement had worsened in the past 12 months. And in straitened economic times, when teams pulling together has rarely been more important, some companies are addressing the subject before it becomes a serious problem.
Simon Hayward, managing partner at the leadership development consultancy, Cirrus, cites a global hotel chain that has raised employee engagement by holding an event that linked hotels across the world to celebrate achievements. “It was a mass, web-based worldwide jamboree. It gave employees a huge sense of being part of a global brand and a huge sense of pride.”
There are four key ways of increasing employee engagement according to Mr Hayward. These are backed up by the government-commissioned report Engaging for Success and are: having strong leadership role models; good relationships with line managers; employees feeling that they have a voice and that their opinions are listened to and acted upon; and the values of the organisation tying in with the employee’s own and being enacted by the company.
Unfortunately, Mr Hayward said, surveys have shown that only about half of HR departments have support from senior management for engagement programmes, in more than half of organisations line managers are not accountable for engagement and often staff surveys are more disengaging than engaging, with employees feeling that their opinions are not acted upon. “An engaged employee is 87% less likely to leave an organisation than someone who is disengaged,” Mr Hayward said.
He argues that staff engagement has a direct effect on productivity and customer experience. Engagement programmes – an attempt to make roles interesting and giving staff a sense of purpose – and redundancies for those resistant to motivation should be a priority, he believes. “Ultimately, if they don’t want to play, they ought not to be on the team.”
©The Times 2011