HOW MUCH IS LOW STAFF ENGAGEMENT COSTING YOU?
As regular followers will testify, I’m on a crusade to highlight how engaging your staff is key to unlocking greater productivity and profitability in your business.
In my previous series of posts shining a light on the Great British Productivity Swindle, I showed how identifying your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and setting up a Management Control System (MCS) is the crucial foundation to turn up the dial on your business productivity. The next key step is to ensure you are training your managers to give your employees clearer expectations and stronger, more meaningful performance appraisals. This will enable everyone to work more effectively together in a way that is truly aligned with your overall business goals.
As a business consultant and Engagement Multiplier™ Partner, I am privileged to see behind-the-scenes in a range of different businesses. I’ve seen first-hand how engaged organisations are much easier (and more pleasant) to run. Value wise, engaged organisations show improved employee retention, lower absenteeism, better quality of work and productivity. Together with findings from other Engagement Multiplier users, we see how a greater sense of ownership results in
– fewer sick days
– a 21% increased efficiency
– increased retention of staff with an average of 87% less turnover
The best performing companies are proven to have highly engaged employees. According to research by The Temkin Group 82% of companies with strong financial results are “highly” or “moderately” engaged, and are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work .
And happier, more loyal and satisfied staff has a ripple effect, making it easier to attract talented new candidates to expand your team, and happier customers too. All of this results in a better bottom line – with engaged businesses becoming on average 22% more profitable.
ADD £££’s to your bottom line boosting staff engagement!
Even with a team of just 10 people, you could be throwing up to £140,000 of your current wages bill down the drain (based on each person being on the UK average salary of £36,000 including employers costs). Imagine if you could flip that profit drain around by maximising the output you get from each person and generate a better return from every member of your team. Where do you start?
4 Big Issues Business Leaders Face Right Now
Before we get going with the solutions, it is useful to really understand the reasons why staff may be unengaged and unproductive. Many business owners have few, if any, productivity measures on their dashboards, and are oblivious how unproductive their staff actually are. Some of the surveys I’ve referred to in the past show 89% of employees admit to wasting time at work, with most of those suggesting they actually only use 60% or less of their available paid time on effective work. This means that 2 of their 5 paid days are effectively unproductive.
According to a Scoro survey during 2019, office workers said their number one time waster is too many meetings – and that’s before the pandemic forced many employees to work from home; their only contact with other team members and managers is now via Zoom or Teams etc.
There are a number of small quick wins that could be achieved, such as addressing the effectiveness and number of necessary participants in meetings. This would free up time for your teams to do more of the revenue generating work. This, however, is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to improving productivity. There are four more fundamental changes that a business could yield significant productivity gains from which I will outline here, with a particular focus on how the latest national lockdown could be impacting your business.
“We can’t control our circumstances, but we can control how we respond”
People are the foundation of a productive business, and the current pandemic lockdowns are bringing additional problems to the surface. Mental health and wellbeing in staff working from home is being impacted, and as we’ve seen above, if it isn’t already this could directly hit your bottom line.
ISSUE 1 : Concern about remote team performance?
– nagging concerns about remote worker productivity
– a decline in communication & connection between people and
– the erosion of your normal culture
In my last blog, looking at the Covid Productivity Tax, I talked about some of the challenges businesses have been facing over the last few months with teams being forced to work remotely. Employees are feeling the effect of this isolation. It’s impacting motivation, communication and collaboration. Staff are feeling lonely and finding it hard to define and divide the work vs home boundaries.
Even managers are beginning to have trust issues. Recent Harvard Business School research shows that managers who cannot ‘see’ their direct reports struggle to trust that their employees are indeed working, which adds to the employee engagement issues.
People, Structure & Process
From a process perspective we’re in a world where communication needs to be much more efficient, and more multi-channel. There is a notable lack of connectivity and lack of structure in the way people are collaborating and being managed, which needs to be rethought in the light of remote working.
Similarly, structurally the shift to remote working is amplifying many challenges around decision making, bringing people together and upheavals around workflow. Business leaders have to look at their governance, and simplify it drastically to operate in a new remote-working or hybrid working model.
Taking data from countries around the world who have been working remotely for a while longer than the UK, and adding to the initial reactions emerging in this second lockdown – the principal message is that motivation is taking a nose dive. The “home vs work life balance” challenge is becoming more prevalent, with the burnout mentioned earlier becoming a reality, and anxiety related to the pandemic is deepening.
The Solution: Alluxi ‘Working from Home & Winning’ Analysis
We know this is an extremely trying time for business owners, especially those making the rapid adjustment to remote teams, even as they respond to difficult conditions. The recently introduced “Working From Home and Winning” survey helps you quickly understand how your team is adapting to working from home, and what adjustments need to be made to help employees stay connected and productive. By using the survey you can quickly assess your staffs current mindset and take progressive action to strengthen your team now, and for the future, in the three key foundation themes of connection, productivity and performance.
ISSUE 2 : Evolving Leadership Styles
– concerns that your managers may not be equipped to lead through today’s uncertainty and rate of change
– the company needs to upskill its leadership group
– some leaders are struggling
Old leadership styles in this new world just don’t cut it. Leaders are having to change their approach with employees who are no longer a captured audience in the confines of their workplace. The trust issues mentioned earlier exist because mechanisms are not yet in place in most businesses to measure and manage remotely.
Whereas previously a manager could rely on their gut feel, perception, hearsay and office banter for knowing how business was going, no longer works with teams working from home. They are now blind to the day to day minutiae they have relied on to keep their finger on the pulse. This new situation requires a more personal approach, supported with relevant facts and figures.
McKinsey’s recent report “Fostering Employee productivity and morale through COVID-19” (June 2020), identifies three areas of leadership that need to be ramped up, if employee engagement is to be improved and be sustainable. Leaders are going to have to refresh their styles and traits away from a command and control emphasis, and become more attuned to their team’s wavelengths and hone their listening skills. Partner, Tom Welchman, highlights the workforce challenges business owners need to embrace to drive productivity, in their role of leader.
Empathy may not be the first word which comes to mind when describing strong leaders, but in the current climate creating and sustaining a caring culture is perhaps more important than ever. Employees need leaders to lead from the front line rather than micromanage from afar.
Creating a Team of Teams
Leaders need to think about how they can change structures to work more effectively, and more quickly in response to some challenges that we’re facing. The classic agile approach of the two-pizza rule, between 7 and 9 people in small teams is a proven method which will still work through the new communication methods on video conferencing.
Increased productivity requires effective communications – a two way dialogue, not a monologue. Business leaders may be used to pushing out information in a one way process, but now need to engage in a more personalised, two way channel of talking AND listening. Keeping things short, simple, focusing on the facts, encouraging dialogue and making sure employees hear the truth first hand, is possibly needed now more than ever.
“91% of employees said they’d feel more comfortable working
from home if their leader set clear expectations for
responsiveness and communication”
(Hired Inc. 2020)
Welchman summarises with a far reaching vision that “future generations are putting more and more importance on purpose and how organizations are responding. And if there’s anything we’re learning about this crisis, it’s that the legacy of actions taken today will really be in people’s minds for years to come”
The Solution: Alluxi ‘Leadership Perception Gap’ Evaluation
The power of strong, effective leadership is an undeniable contributor to an organisation’s success. Employee confidence in their leaders is a crucial factor in determining whether or not leadership is effective. All too often, company executives and employees have differing perceptions of the leadership team’s effectiveness. We call this The Leadership Perception Gap and bridging it is one of the surest ways a leadership team can improve the overall performance of the business. The following questions will enable you to determine whether or not Leadership Perception Gaps exist within your company, and the associated Leadership Perception Gap Success Guide will help you take immediate action to close the gaps you find.
ISSUE 3 : Empowering Teams to Handle the current Rate Of Change
– Difficulty making change stick
– Problems with alignment due to rapid shifts in the business
– Lack of visibility into new practices, processes and procedures the team has developed
This year has brought about massive transformation for many businesses. Covid may have helped accelerate some changes that were already being planned or talked about. Some changes may therefore be welcome – as the pandemic has forced many of us to look at new ways of working and get smarter at what we do. However other changes may have been forced and feel more like temporary solutions while awaiting a return to greater freedom and changes in the market.
The move from work place to home, has also exacerbated and complicated matters when having to introduce changes in practices and processes. Achieving a behaviour change working face to face with people, with the luxury of being able to interact with them is difficult enough, but to ask people to understand and implement changes remotely adds to the stress and anxiety for employees. The sharing and collaboration when change happens in the work place is suppressed when working home alone. It requires you to re-empower your staff – give them new permissions in ways of handling the changes they’re having to adapt to. This adds to the pressure on the leaders and managers too.
The Solution: Alluxi ‘Emerging Stronger’ Analysis
Examine how your team has been impacted by change and what innovations it has inspired using our EM™ Emerging Stronger tool. Delve into what your organisation has learned since the onset of the pandemic, and identify:
– New opportunities the employees see from their vantage point
– New innovations and processes the team has developed
– Opportunities to make the organisation more efficient
ISSUE 4 : Employee Fatigue and Slowing Innovation
– Engagement Scores declining
– Employees not coming forward with ideas as they have previously
– Progress stalling across the organisation
– Teams losing energy
A poll carried out by Censuswide in May 2020 showed that “Only 6% of IT Leaders believe their organisation is set up to enable maximum productivity from employees at the moment – down from the 11% who took this view pre-lockdown”. The survey was carried out with 1000 employees as well as 750 IT & HR leaders from across large organisations.
Two thirds (66%) of the IT decision makers believe staff efficiency is currently restricted by the limitations of their IT systems. Over half (56%) of the employees surveyed agree that serious change still needs to happen with their tech tools, for them to be more productive.
What might surprise you is in February 36% of staff claimed that greater financial rewards were key to making them more efficient in their role, yet post lockdown this dropped to just 25%, with employees more likely to cite technology as the significant catalyst for greater productivity. Clearly the shift to motivating and engaging staff is not money but a need for better tools to do their job.
Predictably staff frustration with workplace technology has also increased during lockdown. Pre lockdown, one fifth (22%) of staff blamed current workplace technology for inhibiting productivity. This figure increased to 28% by May 2020, flagging that their tech tools aren’t user friendly or simple to use.
Beyond the frustrations with the lack of technology, research has uncovered leadership concerns that enabling staff to work flexibly – whether in the office, working remotely, or even on the move – can have a negative impact.
Both HR & IT leaders believe flexible work is increasing the risk of an “always-on” culture. Staff feel obliged to be available beyond their normal working hours, which will lead to burn out. Those same leaders agree that improving employee engagement is key to boosting employee productivity.
The Solution: Alluxi ‘Kickstarting Innovation’ Analysis
The whole point of having an engaged organisation is what you can do with it! The Alluxi Kickstarting Innovation Analysis will engage your employees in a new and positive way. Your leaders will be able to quickly assess and improve their innovation process with the Engagement Multiplier™ tool, creating structure and framework for advancing the ideas that power future growth. The message to employees is powerful – their ideas matter, and leadership wants to hear them.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ALLUXI SOLUTIONS TO ENERGISE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT & PRODUCTIVITY
Improve your team’s productivity with the Alluxi Business Improvement Toolkit
“What gets measured improves ….
What gets measured and reported improves exponentially”
Alluxi offers a 60 minute Productivity to Profit Breakthrough session to understand your unique business frustrations and uncover where your hidden potential lies to boost productivity in your business. You’ll leave the call with clear guidance on how to address your key issues If you would then like to delve deeper and explore the issues outlined above in greater detail:
– managing remote team
– evolving leadership styles
– supporting your team to emerge stronger and manage the rate of change
– kickstart innovation
We can design a Launchpad Workshop giving you a bespoke framework to optimise productivity and maximise the profitability of your business. This half-day session, structured around your key challenges, will introduce you to the Alluxi concepts, and how to apply them to your own needs, tailored to your business. It also includes a benchmark engagement survey to assess the current health of your teams engagement levels, and incorporate the findings into future plans.
As the name suggests, this workshop provides a taster of what you can expect from the full suite of Alluxi Business Programmes, accelerate your Escape Velocity and enable you to reach a higher orbit in your business – lift you out of the day-to-day operations to the higher-level strategic control room of your business.
As a first step, take 15 minutes to respond to the Alluxi Business Success Scorecard and get your results within minutes. You’ll have the opportunity to book a follow-up Productivity to Profit Breakthrough Session to find out how you can implement rapid and measurable improvements.
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