4th July 2016
So what are the best ways to address this business-critical problem and ensure staff are happy and productive? Salary packages are obviously key and are often cited by staff, but money is not the only factor which can inspire. Here we look at a range of other areas to consider, such as leadership, incentive schemes, flexible hours and ”working smart” with the latest technology, including mobile HR solutions and cloud based payroll solutions, which make it easier for individuals to access their own information.
There has been much research showing that engaged staff are likely to be more productive and to stay longer with their employer. This makes recent studies showing that a high proportion of staff are dissatisfied with their current jobs all the more concerning. One study by Investors in People suggested that 60% of employees are unhappy in their present roles, while another survey involving the CIPD found job satisfaction around the UK dropping to its lowest point in 2 years.
To fully engage staff, effective communication is essential and must also be a two-way process. Employers need to ensure that staff not only know about what is happening within the company, but also that they have the opportunity to have their say. Equally important is for team members to feel that their input is being taken seriously. Asking for any questions at the end of a meeting is not enough on its own, unless any suggestions put forward are properly considered.
Closely allied to communication is the importance of good leadership. One reason cited by many people leaving jobs is a lack of respect for their boss, while another is that they do not feel valued by their leaders. This underlines the need for better management to inspire and engage, something organisations can address via leadership training. Staff have said in surveys that a manager just saying “thank you”, or congratulating them on a specific project, is one of the greatest incentives to working harder.
Training and Career Development
Training is another area which is essential to staff engagement. If people feel they are not learning new skills and are becoming stuck in a rut, it is likely they will become disengaged. In organisations where there are few opportunities for learning and development and no clear way of progressing their career, many employees who are eager to learn and improve will make the decision to look elsewhere. To retain key staff and to get the best out of them, it is therefore essential to give people a chance to develop. Regular performance reviews and mentoring can be effective here.
Flexible and Smart Working
Flexible working has been taken up by many organisations over recent years and there is much evidence that providing these arrangements can help to motivate and engage staff. These arrangements can enable a better work-life balance, which is a key factor in growing motivation. Also, an employee who has been offered a working pattern specifically geared to fit in with their other commitments is likely to value this and it will make them reluctant to move to another job with less suitable hours.
Using up-to-date technology is also important for engagement. Working “smart” can help to cut out mundane tasks and free up staff to concentrate on business-critical activities. Using mobile HR solutions, such as Amity, can make it much easier for both individual employees and HR teams to keep track of shift patterns and other personal information, from online payslips to holiday arrangements. A valuable benefit of this cloud payroll and HR software for people working flexibly or from home is that it is fully device-independent, so they can check their information whenever and wherever they are.
While cash and bonuses are always important, money is not the only type of reward which can help to engage staff. Company awards and long service schemes can also boost morale and productivity. A meal or night out to thank staff is often very popular and can help to break down barriers, while some companies organise special presentation evenings where “unsung heroes” are nominated and given recognition.
Incentive schemes can also range from the traditional company cars and medical insurance to subsidised vouchers and gym memberships. It is often worth checking how well a scheme has worked in other companies before bringing it in. HR teams also need to bear in mind that incentives alone will not work if the whole company culture is failing to engage staff.