There is no disputing the impact that employee engagement has on an organisation’s efficiency, productivity and ultimate success. When we recently blogged on the topic, we outlined how studies by the Queens School of Business and Gallup found that disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents in the workplace, and made 60% more errors and defects. However, despite the documented risks associated with poor engagement levels, our own research has found that a company’s ability to connect and communicate with its employees varies considerably between industry sectors. And overall engagement levels still leave much to be desired.
A survey of 8,000 members and student members of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) found that one in five working in the travel, leisure and tourism sectors rated their current company’s engagement efforts as poor or very poor. The highest levels of satisfaction were to be found amongst those working within consultancy and professional services, with only 11% rating engagement levels as poor and 50% believing their employer’s ability to engage is good or very good. Under half (43%) of all respondents rated their own company’s engagement levels as good or very good. At a time when skills shortages mean great candidates are in high demand, this is clearly cause for concern.Despite the somewhat poor results, our data is unfortunately not surprising or unexpected. Last year the Chartered Institute for Personnel Development (CIPD) reported that only 44% of employees strongly agree or agree that their organisation provides them with opportunities to learn and grow. Similarly, According to the Gallup organisation’s surveys, employee engagement has barely budged in well over a decade, with research revealing just 32% of workers are engaged.
The reasons behind this stagnation aren’t clear, but the perceived requisite investment in time and money mean that some businesses are reluctant to commit to a strategic engagement strategy. This may also explain why consultancy and professionals services firms are faring better than most when it comes to effective engagement – they arguably have greater resources to measure sentiment and implement change. However, engagement needn’t be complex.
Ultimately, employee engagement begins and ends with company culture and great leadership. A case in point is HomeServe Membership CEO, Martin Bennett, being identified as the highest-rated CEO in the UK, after receiving a 95% approval rating on careers website Glassdoor. The success of his engagement strategy doesn’t rest on fancy software or detailed algorithms. He sits in the company contact centre and goes on customer calls with his engineers every month. Whatever your HR budget, a back-to-basics engagement strategy enables leaders to gauge sentiment on the ground, and respond accordingly. The bottom line is that companies which fail to engage with their talent effectively risk losing vital skills to the competition. And for experienced management accountants in particular, moving on to a new role in an organisation with a great culture can be as obtainable as it is tempting.
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