Investing in an engaged workforce starts to pay off

Investing in an engaged workforce starts to pay off


Engagement is changing and feedback is essential so that management knows where problems are likely to occur. There are many apps on the market that allows for instant feedback plus the ability to gather usable data. 

Employee engagement goes to the heart of the employer-employee relationship. At its best, engagement enables people to be highly involved and respected contributors to their organisation’s success. While there is uncertainty about Brexit outcomes among EU nationals working in the UK and UK citizens working in Europe, engagement is more valuable than ever.

According to the CIPD’s Autumn Employee Outlook, job satisfaction levels have slightly declined although engagement levels are up. For the first time, job satisfaction was highest among public sector workers. 

The CIPD report measures the index of four different areas of employee engagement:

1. influence over one’s job: there has been a rise in the numbers of people who feel positive that they have influence over their job in general and who are using their initiative within the job. 

2. use of employees’ skills and knowledge: the trend is up, with the highest rise in the public sector. People employed in micro organisations are most satisfied with their use of knowledge and skills.

3. motivation: asked whether their organisation inspires them, workers in the voluntary sector are most likely to agree and those in the public sector least likely, but overall there is a fairly even split.

4. effort: employees are more likely to help colleagues with their workload at times than to work harder in general to help their organisation succeed. However, they are unlikely to turn down a job offer with more pay in favour of staying with their current employer (significantly less true of women than men).

Work-life balance remains important for employees: those employed in the private sector are most likely to agree they achieved the right balance, followed by the voluntary sector. Public sector workers are least likely to agree. On average, one third of all employees come home from work exhausted always or most of the time, with around a quarter hardly ever. Testimony, perhaps, to the emphasis placed on the importance of employee engagement in recent years.

Other research shows that companies with the highest engagement scores averaged 18% higher productivity, while engaged teams reported making fewer errors and reduced downtime.

It is a virtuous circle: engaged employees know their work affects their organisation’s goals and priorities in an environment that reinforces their values and beliefs. They know what’s expected of them (and why) and feel connected with other staff and parts of the organisation.

Higher levels of employee engagement lead to more innovative work behaviour: engaged employees are much more likely to search out new methods or techniques and transform innovative ideas into useful applications and cost savings. New ways of working that rely on discretionary effort willingly given (e.g. innovation, collaboration, joint problem solving) cannot thrive in environments where employee abilities are not valued or trusted.

Statistics have consistently shown that only around one third of UK employees are engaged. According to Employee Outlook 39% of private sector employees are engaged, 35% in the public sector. However, employees appear to be more loyal to their job than generally thought: just 15% of staff choose to change jobs in 2014, while 20% are planning to leave in 2015, according to Randstad’s own research. Lack of engagement was one factor: a quarter of those who left did so because they weren’t interested in the job. On the upside, of those who decided to stay with their employer, 29% said that their interest in the job was a deciding factor.

CIPD finds engagement levels reflect organisation size, from a high of 55% in micro businesses through 43% in medium to 36% in large businesses. Engagement levels in ‘small businesses’ at 48% are above average. Engagement issues generally arise when companies reach around 20 employees, or ‘too many people to take to the pub at once’, and may also appear when an organisation reaches around 50 staff.