According to a recent worldwide study by Gallup, only 13 percent of employees feel engaged at work.
The research also found that companies in the top quartile for engaged employees had 22% higher profitability and 10% higher customer ratings than those in the bottom quartile.
Research shows that an engaged workforce boosts levels of performance, productivity, staff retention, innovation, customer service and staff advocacy, while lowering levels of absenteeism.
But to many SME CEOs “employee engagement” seems like abstract corporate speak; the preserve of big companies with HR departments to match. They assume that with fewer staff they can keep communications and processes informal. However this can leave issues to go under the radar, and lead to missed opportunities.
So how can SME’s engage their staff, from the beginning of the recruitment cycle onwards?
People don’t engage with a plan but with a dream. What is your company’s vision? Are you regularly sharing that with your employees? Do they understand how they play a part? Make sure you’re communicating the bigger picture regularly, in ways that your team can understand, with opportunities for them to engage and discuss the vision with you.
What is important to you? You need to define the culture of your company and recruit for people who have corresponding values. If people buy-in to your vision from the beginning of their time with the company, they’ll be willing to go the extra mile.
Engage a professional recruitment specialist. It may seem like an unnecessary cost but going it alone can prove a false economy. A good recruiter will win both your trust and the trust of potential candidates. They’ll be an expert at understanding a candidate’s true motivation, traits and attitudes. They’ll take time getting to know your company and helping you define your values and culture. Then they’ll hire specifically to that brief so you find someone who is the right fit.
Be creative. Whether that’s giving your employees an additional day off for their birthday, putting on yoga classes, providing regular fruit baskets or rewarding a job well done with vouchers or a trip to the pub. Develop engaging initiatives that suit your team.
Don’t expect instant change – growing staff engagement is a long-term project because relationships are long-term projects. With ongoing communications and relevant initiatives, engagement will grow, behaviour will change and you’ll reap the rewards.