SMEs : Closing the Engagement Gap: Fostering Employee Happiness and Productivity in the Workplace

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 24 July 2023 Issues covered:

SMEs : Closing the Engagement Gap: Fostering Employee Happiness and Productivity in the Workplace

The Problem: Widespread Workplace Dissatisfaction and Disengagement

Are employers responsible for saving us from workplace dissatisfaction and boredom? A recent survey revealed that up to 85% of employees are disengaged. Some of these employees are actively working against their employer's interests. This means that a large number of people are unhappy or lack direction when going to work. Additionally, employers spend a significant amount of time addressing negative aspects of their business instead of improving productivity.

The Historical Perspective: From Boring Jobs to Modern Expectations

Adam Smith, known as the founder of division of labour principles in the 1700s, may have laid the foundation for boring jobs. He believed that many people didn't enjoy work and thus, it didn't matter if it was unfulfilling. However, in today's economy, we have progressed from a manufacturing-based economy and we now expect to feel valued and stimulated at work.

The Employer's Role: Creating an Environment for Employee Thriving

So, should employers focus on making employees happy? We believe the answer is no. Instead, it is their duty to create an environment where employees can thrive and find happiness. However, employee engagement is a two-way process that requires effort from both employers and employees. As one business leader sarcastically noted, employers can't solely be responsible for engagement.

It's important to note that engagement cannot be bought. Even if an employer increases salary by 20% or gives out generous bonuses, employee motivation and commitment will only improve slightly and temporarily. Conversely, poor compensation is demotivating and efforts to engage employees in other areas will have minimal impact.

Remuneration is a separate aspect that, although important, works in partnership with another crucial element - wellbeing and the working environment. If employees' workspaces do not facilitate healthy thinking, positive productivity, and reflection, they will become disengaged.

Therefore, it is a combination of two essential components: remuneration and wellbeing, along with six other factors. These six factors include values, vision, mission, employee values, job design, recognition, learning and development, communication (interpersonal and internal), and leadership. These factors all contribute to employee engagement and should be given attention and applied effectively.

Ultimately, the goal is to have employees who are motivated and engaged, while ensuring that the bottom line reflects the success of the employee engagement strategy.

The above content is from "Mastering Small Business Employee Engagement: 30 Quick Wins & HR Hacks from an IIP Platinum Employer" by Barry Phillips and Jayne Gallagher which is available from Amazon:

This article is correct at 24/07/2023

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