People who work in organisations with less than 1,000 employees are more engaged with their jobs and employer and feel that;
- Their jobs more directly impact results
- They have more interesting and varied work
- They are more trusted
- They receive more open and honest communication
- They have better relationships with business leaders/directors
But will you still think this is such great news when I tell you only 30% of the UK workforce report they are engaged and in SME’s the number is only marginally higher at 36%.
Perhaps it’s actually more reasonable to assume the majority of your employees are disengaged?
Most leaders and managers agree it’s important to understand how their people feel. You want to know if they’re motivated and engaged as it affects job performance, the service they provide your customers and your profits. Only when you know how people feel do you know if you have a problem and what to do about it.
Of course that’s easier said than done. Even in a small business it can be hard to speak to everyone and then can you be certain they are being completely honest. Do you have the kind of relationship, (with all your people) where they feel they can tell you how things really are or are they just telling you what they think you want to hear? Maybe you are relying on reports and feedback from other managers. What kind of relationships do they have with their people, and with you?
This is one example of why in work, as in other areas of our lives, we have to make assumptions. They help us fill gaps in our knowledge and experience. They give us the confidence to make decisions and manage situations we may not have come across before.
When things are going well this seems a pretty good strategy. When you’re achieving your sales and profit targets few of us feel it necessary to question or change those assumptions. It’s not until there’s a problem or things go wrong that we start to question our decisions and the assumptions they’re based on. By then it’s often too late.
If you assume you are an average SME with 36% of your workforce engaged there’s a compelling business case for building higher levels of engagement that includes improved sales, customer loyalty and employee retention as well as greater efficiency, productivity and profits.
If these statistics aren’t enough to make you want to challenge the assumptions you make about your people then consider the recent decision to abolish tribunal fees. General opinion is this will lead to a sharp rise in claims. You may assume that with good managers and people processes in place you have little to be concerned about? An employee survey will test those assumptions and offer you peace of mind or information about improvements you need to make.
Employee surveys offer a regular opportunity to challenge the assumptions you make about your people, how they feel about their jobs and you as their employer.
We recommend you question your business and people assumptions at least every year as part of a continuous improvement strategy. Use a survey to start a conversation with your people and the findings to make your assumptions and decision making more robust. Doing this consistently through good times and bad will make your business more effective, stimulate innovation and lead to better business results.
Michelle is a Director of www.peopleessentials.co.uk an HR and Employee Engagement consultancy on a mission to prove to employees and customers that you don’t have to be big to be better.