• Mark Topley

Cold, fat, and skint – welcome to January

Did anyone in your team brighten your return to work this week with this kind of cheerful attitude?

The New Year provides a great opportunity to take a step back and reflect on things that get missed in the busy-ness of running your business. For me, the Christmas break provided an enforced period of down time which at the very least gave me some headspace away from the day-to-day.

Top issue on the list for 2019 as far as I’m concerned is ‘How have your people come back to work?’

Are they energised and enthusiastic because they love their work, or draining and negative because it’s January and they are ‘cold, fat, and skint’?

If you’ve more than your fair share of the latter, then it’s probably a good idea to have look at your Employee Engagement (EE). Largely viewed as the biggest issue for business in the current economic and social climate (almost full employment and the shifting view of what people want from work), it’s something that you shouldn’t ignore, but you also can have a big influence on.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to lift the lid on the topic and share a few ideas about why you should pay attention to engaging your team, how to get better engagement, and (unsurprisingly perhaps), where CSR can make a big positive impact.

So what is an engaged employee anyway?

They are what Richard Maloney calls the ‘We’ People. Driven more by a sense of loyalty and mission than individual need, they do their very best every day, and focus on getting better at their job all the time. They don’t just show up every day, but they’re emotionally committed to their own success and that of the team.

Of course it’s not possible for every employee to be fully engaged every day – we all have bad ones – but you do have a huge amount of control over how engaged your people are. and there are many reasons why this should be the top priority for your leadership.

‘Ok Mark, but that all sounds a bit warm and cuddly for me. It might be a nice thing for some people but I’m a hard nosed businessperson and I only do things which are good for the business. This isn’t a social club you know…’

The stats to back up the business case for EE are sobering or exciting, depending on what your workplace is like. Making an investment in EE pays off:

  1. companies with good engagement are 12% more profitable and 18% more productive than their competitors.

  2. engaged employees are 57% more effective and 87% less likely to leave.

  3. with turnover costs 90-200% of annual salary, every employee that stays saves you money

According to Gallup, engaged employees more than pay for themselves. In fact, fully engaged employees earn their employers 120% of their salary. This compares to just 80% from disengaged people, and a measly 60% with actively disengaged employees.

And on the intangible side, getting good levels of engagement result in improved morale, greater loyalty and a better company reputation (because your people are a crucial aspect of your word-of-mouth marketing).

Sadly, the stats also highlight that most employees are NOT engaged. In fact just a third are actively engaged. So the chances are, this is costing you money, as well as sucking the life out of your culture and productivity.

Next week, I’ll give you some simple ways you can improve engagement, and highlight some of the clients I’ve worked with and their stories of improving engagement.

Happy New Year.

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