Engaging staff could help the UK thrive in the upturn is the unanimous verdict of 150 CEOs and HR Directors from companies with over one million UK employees polled for a business leaders’ conference to be held on 10th September by employee engagement survey specialist ETS.
David Macleod, co-author of the Department for Business report ‘Engaging for Success’ which highlights that engage their employees to boost growth, will say of his findings: “This is about unleashing the potential of people at work and enabling them to be the best they can be. Whether we are in a downturn or in better economic times, engagement is a key to innovation and competitiveness.”
Employee engagement is a major goal for business since engaged staff voluntarily work longer and harder than others and are more loyal. While engagement and profits are known to be related, 99% of those polled believe firmly that greater engagement triggers greater company performance and not the other way round. Many organisations have evidence that engagement leads to happier customers, higher sales and lower employee turnover.
Recession is leading to cuts in engagement spending
The employee survey is the tool used by most large employers to measure engagement and to identify actions they can take to increase it. However, one fifth of poll respondents (22%) have reluctantly delayed their surveys due to the economic climate despite knowing that they help drive business growth.
Commenting on the poll results, chartered occupational psychologist and senior ETS consultant Betsy Travis said, “The rise in indices of business confidence suggests that companies will start investing in employee engagement activities again, which is key to re-starting growth.”
Employers are relying on employee views to help make business decisions. Seven out of ten (70%) said that they make major changes to their business based on employee surveys.
At the conference, two senior industry figures will describe how their organisations are leading the way in employee engagement: Angela Williams, Group HR Director of Land Securities, will speak about the company’s return on its engagement activities: “We firmly believe that our people are our strongest asset and like all assets they need to be invested in to maximise performance. Engagement is a key part of that investment and can really make the difference.” Barry Dyer, Bupa’s Group Organisation Director, will say: “Bupa’s survey journey has led us to the point where we can show how increasing engagement delivers better business performance.”
It’s clear from the delegate poll that companies are taking action to motivate employees. The majority say they are increasing communication, with a focus on having more visible leaders to explain the strategy; other companies are implementing new appraisal systems.