A lot has been made of the decrease in unemployment figures in recent months. On the face of it, the regular falls in the percentage of people listed as unemployed is good news, though the unions will argue that these figures no longer tell the full story as the shape of employment is changing, with greater numbers of people on part-time or zero hours contracts.
However, one of the key questions for employers is around the productivity of existing employees. Surely, it is better to get the most out of the staff you are already paying before spending on recruitment, right?
Whilst I would never discourage employers from taking on new people, I would suggest that, should they look carefully, many will find that productivity gains can be made by getting more from those within their current workforces.
Far from advocating bosses adopt a slave-driver mindset of applying pressure to workers to get every ounce of sweat possible out of them during working hours, increases in productivity can be achieved, through measures which do not result in a demoralised workforce.
Sometimes, it can be as simple as engaging properly with employees.
Good employee engagement is all about ensuring workers feel involved and recognised members of an effective team, giving them opportunities to learn and develop. It is about helping them to be happy and well-treated at work. To be consistently communicated with about not only their own performance, but that of the organisation, and to ensure they have credible leaders who care and inspire them.
Doesn’t that sound much better than increasing the size of the stick in relation to the size of the carrot?
And the results? Among the most positive effects is a more productive workforce, which gives more output for the employer’s money. A recent study has shown that organisations with higher levels of engagement are, on average, 18% more productive than others who don’t.
But why? Well, greater employee engagement has been shown to result in a high performance culture, in which people are proud to work and happy to stay. The longer-term benefits include, unsurprisingly, a more profitable organisation, which is innovative and responsive to change, with satisfied and loyal customers.
The gains are certainly worth the time and effort of increasing engagement activity. If you ensure that the slightly cheesy equation – C+E