The science is in, according to recent Gallup polls, when a company engages their employees profits rise, turnover plummets, and customer satisfaction climbs. These findings don’t seem controversial in the slightest, we can all agree that when a company invests in their employees it’s a good thing – and by and large they do. Seventy-three percent of companies have an employee recognition program, eighty-four percent of HR Managers agree they increase employee engagement, and yet seventy-percent of employees don’t feel engaged at work, with lack of recognition routinely ranking in the top five reasons employees quit. The critical problem these studies have revealed is that whilst employee recognition programs can be hugely beneficial to any company that adopts them, it remains clear their execution has yet to be perfected.
Part of the problem is training. In 2018 the Financial Times reported that UK managers have been routinely found to fall short of their G7 competitors, with links drawn between a chronic lack of management coaching and poor economic performance. On the job training is essential and yet the ability to effectively manage key personnel has somehow fallen by the roadside. Management programs, designed to equip employees with the ability to lead teams, can bolster company-wide performance, not only by increasing productivity by doing improving the skill of management but also by similarly addressing employee concerns regarding recognition – further fostering engagement.
One-on-one sessions between employees and managers are just one valuable way to gain important feedback from employees whilst enabling managers to proactively address concerns and problems. Gallup surveys show that seventy-five percent of reasons why employees quit comes down to their managers. Greater communication on both sides eases this tension, fosters engagement, and lowers turnover. Admittedly, this is a huge investment in both time and effort few companies can truly afford, but there are other much smaller investment available. Companies can offer younger staff members, unsure of where their futures lie, opportunities to make lateral moves inside the company. That freedom not only improves employee retention but creates a multi-faceted work force fostering greater company-wide cohesion. Alternatives also include the adoption of graceful exit programs, schemes that seek to improve employer-employee communication when staff members do consider job options elsewhere. The rewards are twofold, not only do both sides relieve themselves of the suspicion and subterfuge that can sometimes come with some transitions, but employers also gain valuable time to consider new hires. These programs offer employees something they routinely want for in research polls: opportunities for advancement or change, even if there are few to none inside the organization itself.
Offering management training, enabling employees to speak their mind and observe appropriate responses unfolding, whilst letting staff to engage in stress-free transitions are all signs of a workplace that genuinely cares for its employees. It stands to reason that an engaged workforce is an effective work force, and with these factors and alternatives taken into account, the proof of that might just be in the pudding.