What does it take to be a really great employer, like the ones who feature in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For list? Is it something to aspire to with very real business benefits? Or is it just soft and fluffy stuff? What’s the point in encouraging happy employees? If they’re all sitting around laughing they won’t get much work done, you might think. Or ”I don’t want this to be a nice place to work, I want us to succeed”.
Certainly winning awards like The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For is about a lot more than happy and satisfied employees, or providing a nice place to work. Companies are assessed for their leadership, employee wellbeing, giving something back to society, personal growth for staff, how they feel about their manager, company and immediate colleagues, and how far staff feel they get a fair deal for pay and benefits.
Being able to do all these things well isn't just for large corporates able to afford costly company benefits and perks: the winner of this year's 100 Best Small Companies was an interior design company in Nottingham with 102 staff and a turnover of £48M.
People who work for these great companies go the extra mile to deliver and are truly engaged with work. Their enthusiasm rubs off on other employees and on customers. They provide better experiences for customers, approach the job with energy – which enhances productivity – and come up with creative product, process and service improvements. They remain with their employer for longer, which reduces turnover and its related costs. In turn, they create happier customers who buy more, stay longer and tell their friends – generating sustainable growth.
Research over a 7 year period has shown that firms with highly engaged employees grew revenues two and a half times more than those with low engagement levels. Organisations with the most engaged employees are, on average, 22% more profitable. Highly engaged employees perform 20% better than the most disengaged.
What do these benefits look like in practice?
- Personal investment: Research indicates that if employees are engaged with the company, their job satisfaction levels increase. They’re invested in the success of the business and committed to it. They’re ambassadors for the company and will promote and support the company’s mission, strategy and brand.
- Productivity: Engaged employees are committed to going the extra mile to achieve success in their job. They take less time off work sick and they’re more motivated, leading to increased productivity. Research indicates that offices with engaged employees are as much as 43% more productive.
- Retention & Recruitment: Engaged employees are more far more likely to stay, so that recruitment costs are minimised. The business with a highly engaged workforce builds a reputation as an employer that increases their ability to attract the best applicants.
- Innovation: Because engaged employees perform at a higher level and bring passion and interest to their job, this often leads to innovation in the workplace. These employees feel they have a real stake in the organisation, and will often strive to create new products, services and processes.
- Profitability: Companies with more engaged employees tend to be more profitable. Their employees become more productive and efficient, so operating costs are lower and the profit margin increases. A recent study has shown that highly engaged employees produce 26% more revenue per employee.
Not so soft and fluffy then! Employee engagement is a strong force that will deliver a genuine, hardnosed business benefit for you. People deliver profits - so it's worth looking after them.
There’s more about how to grow levels of employee engagement in your company here and for more help contact The Human Resource on 07884 475303 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're ready to make strategic changes so your company can feature in a Best Employer list next year, we do that too.