After the Recession: Engaging employees now for future success

The recession hit many organisations hard. One in eight high
street shops now stand empty, businesses have folded, productivity
has declined and spending has been reigned in, resulting in cuts. With
the recession over, difficult times still lie ahead.

What effect
has the recession had on the employees who still have jobs?

Although many will have considered themselves lucky, levels of
engagement are said to have reached an all
time low
. Static pay levels, redundancies, survivor syndrome,
higher workloads and reduced negotiating power have all taken their toll
on the UK workforce.

This situation needs urgent attention. For the UK to return to
full strength quickly, with the ability to compete in a global market,
it is essential that employee engagement is prioritised, according to a recent survey: “59% of 450 HR directors picked out
employee engagement as key for their business over the next year,
suggesting that it will play a major part in driving businesses out of
the recession”.

There is strong evidence for the importance of employee engagement.
Whereas engaged employees in the UK take an average of 2.69
sick days per year, disengaged employees take, on average, 6.19. That’s
2.3 times as many! In addition, engaged employees are 87% less likely to
leave the organisation than disengaged employees. Both of these high
organisational costs can be reduced by paying attention to employee
engagement. In 2006, Gallup found that employees with engagement
scores in the top quartile averaged 18% higher productivity and 12%
higher profitability.

Employers need to create and use smarter employee engagement
surveys. This means developing the traditional staff survey so that, as
well as providing the usual  information, engagement levels are linked
to key business outcomes for the organisation – for example turnover,
commitment, sickness absence, sales and so on. With this linkage,
employee engagement will become of great interest to finance directors,
CEOs, HR personnel and psychologists.

So let the end of the recession mark a new way of measuring and
improving staff engagement! What is your perspective? Is employee
engagement essential to post-recession recovery?


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