Why employee engagement is vital to developing a business

In the midst of a recession, many businesses are struggling with increased overheads, changing business rates and other volatile market forces, explains Scancapture's managing director Steve Smith.

From boardroom to shop floor, every member of staff feels the effects and inevitably, working conditions and pay packets take a hit.

Whilst the employment crisis has created an ‘employers market’, businesses can ill afford to risk losing valuable staff. On average, it costs nine times more to recruit a new member of staff than to keep an existing one. What’s more, retaining an employee with potential to develop their skill set could reap dividends.

Despite this, around two-thirds of businesses report a problem with staff retention with many citing job satisfaction as a key reason for why people resign. Many workers continue in a job they dislike until they find another, by which time it’s too late for their employer to address their grievances and convince them to stay.

An employee engagement survey can prove extremely effective in listening to staff concerns and enabling companies to address underlying issues that if left alone could prove costly. Many workers cite management's lack of understanding of their role and duties as a key factor in wishing to leave. An engagement survey allows a team member to candidly express the daily frustrations they feel aren't being acknowledged or even understood.

In particular, companies going through transitional phases must be equipped to pre-empt decreases in staff morale. A change in working pattern or benefits often makes people want to pull the parachute cord but if you listen to their concerns and ask them how change may affect them you are much more likely to keep hold of them.

Most people take pride in their work but inversely, if they feel their efforts aren't appreciated or valued you will get the last thing any employer wants: disengaged, indifferent and resentful staff. Staff members that will do the bare minimum required by their job specification and deliver a mediocre level of customer service. If you engage with your staff they will do the opposite.

Engagement is vital for any business. If your employee feels valued and that they have a voice they are statistically more productive, happier and ambitious. They will go the extra mile, consistently hit targets and strive to improve performance. The benefits to this are huge. By keeping staff engaged the organisation keeps hold of passionate and hungry staff whose attitude permeates across the company and out toward clients and customers.

A staff survey will also dramatically improve your systems and processes. Whilst your HR and development team may spend days preparing new training programmes and implementing new ways of working, it’s often the people on the ground that can better explain what tools will empower them to achieve more. Employee engagement surveys are not just a box ticking exercise to satisfy personnel. They are an extremely profitable tool that if designed correctly will elicit vital information that will drive performance, shape company values and make sure a business retains their most valued staff members.