ECS HIDDEN HERE

Thanks to a recent partnership with Growth Partners PLC, we have an exclusive Q&A with CEO Paul Bresnihan, an expert in Employee Engagement and Business Development with over 15 years’ experience as director of a leading UK Employee Benefits Provider. 

Paul’s passion is helping companies realise the core problems within their workplace and has found poor levels of employee engagement to be the common root of a business’s distress. He’s here to share invaluable insights on how Directors can better serve their role by tapping into employee engagement.

A simple exercise. 

Picture your entire workforce: the people you manage, the people who help the business to run smoothly. Now ask yourself a few questions…

- How many of them seem happy to be at their desk right now? 

- How many of them are actively searching for a new job in their lunch breaks?

- How many of them genuinely care whether the business does well or not? 

If you’re looking to grow your business using the resources you’ve already got, then these are the questions you need to be asking. If your honest answers only point towards unrest or uncertainty amongst the employees tasked with the day-to-day running of things, then your business needs a revamp of its core employee engagement strategies.

You may never know for certain, but on a general scale, research has shown that on average: 

- 1 in 3 employees are unhappy with their current place of work

- Nearly half of UK employees have reported looking for a new job in 2018 

- Only 15% of workers consider themselves highly motivated, leaving 85% anywhere in-between

So, how do you keep your employees engaged? It’s a goal that all ambitious leaders hope to achieve, but when the population of your workforce is a collection of separate moods, modes and individual grooves, how do you create a “Business As Usual” policy that accomplishes a high level of motivation daily? How do you inspire a workforce to commit to the company’s goals as if they were their own? 

I’ve had over 15 years’ experience working in the UK Employee Engagement and Business Development industry, and along the way the same key questions come up. Now, heading up my fairly new start-up venture at Growth Partners PLC, I can guarantee that applying these considerations to a new firm is just as vital to success as it is for an established company.

“What, in your opinion, is the best employee engagement technique?”

Naturally, within the daily office grind there are many factors affecting how committed your employees are to their workload. Just as well, with as many negative influences, there are as many techniques out there to positively impact engagement. 

You want your employees to be thinking about your firm in the long-term, not just a stop along the way to other goals - which is why out of all the areas presenting solutions, management is the biggest cause of employee retention. Crucial to the psychology of any employee is how they are recognised and rewarded for their commitment to the work they do. 

A recent survey showed the importance of recognition on staff morale and retention, with 70% reporting that they felt undervalued at work. 

Despite popular managerial belief, when it comes to keeping your employees engaged, money is not the sole magnet retaining them. A highly engaged employee will turn down a recruiter offering a higher salary, whereas a disengaged employee would be willing to leave for the same salary, or even take a pay cut just to escape the company they’re in. 

We all want our work to be worthwhile, and if we’re doing a good job we want our efforts to be rewarded. Nobody feels inspired by the prospect of a “dead-end” job, that’s why building a strong workplace community rich with opportunity greatly boosts the permanence and motivation of each employee.

“What is a big challenge you see with employee engagement?”

It’s a mixture of affordability and flexibility. 

Every employee is motivated by a personal set of goals. Each set is their own, so when it comes to developing an engagement scheme, a tailormade solution addressing each employee’s individual needs is, of course, the most effective approach. But you already know the obvious issue here, a scheme on a one-to-one basis, catered to all is as time-consuming as it is costly; by the other extreme, enlisting a one size fits all policy runs the risk of alienating certain team members and causing further disengagement. 

The key to providing a successful employee engagement service is finding a happy medium -- affordable enough that the means to uplifting spirits isn’t breaking the bank, but with enough variety to cater to all your employees’ specific needs.

Some suggestions I have are…

A Discounts Outlet 

Give your workforce access to a wide variety of discount vouchers at numerous different stores across the UK. A discounts outlet may just be one service, but no two employees will use it the same way and including a subscription to savings at leisure is only ever going to improve the office mood. 

Online GP’s 

Employer or employee, nobody wants to waste time on minor GP visits. That’s why online GP services have been growing in popularity, either in or out of work hours being able to skip the waiting room and Skype a doctor is a huge perk employers are beginning to secure.

Wellbeing & Fitness Hub 

Discounts to gyms are a great start, but not everyone is into it. There are hundreds of ways to lead perfectly healthy lives without attending a gym, so I suggest keeping an eye out for the more versatile schemes. Fitness advice hubs (in addition to various discounts) that have exclusive access to home workout videos, healthy eating recipes, motivational videos and more are a better idea as again, employees can cherry-pick and create their own fitness journeys.

“Where do you see employee engagement heading?”

Less about material perks, and more about emotional benefits – you can already see how employer/employee relations are evolving. I predict that as corporate responsibilities continue to grow, well-rounded wellbeing schemes (supporting both in and out-of-work challenges) will be rolled out across a larger spread of the UK. It’s fast becoming such an integral part of company culture that it’s not a giant leap to suspect that just as pension schemes have become a mandatory workplace requirement, an adequate wellbeing scheme will likewise become expected.

Whilst not yet mandatory, you have a great advantage to get ahead. Employers are increasingly recognising that when it comes to retaining top talent, it’s in their best interest to care about employee welfare. Having a huge authority over employee productivity, stress is a major cause of absenteeism - whether it be employees calling in sick, or clocking into work but checking out mentally throughout their shift. This is a huge part of the case as to why wellbeing schemes are increasingly being seen as sound investments - saving your business money whilst keeping employee retention high.

Emotional Assistance Programs are fast on the rise and are a great way for employees to confidentially deal with their personal issues, whether they be work or home-related, without the employer themselves getting directly involved. Not only has it been shown that 70% of EAP clients improve from their counselling intervention, it’s also a great initiative for employers as they receive anonymous management information from the EAP’s which can help them to identify and rectify any workplace issues.

All in all, the solution is not complicated to understand. “To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.” 

I hope this short Q&A has been of interest to the network, and it would go without saying that if you’re in need of any Employee Engagement guidance, whether it be implementing or just finding out more about strategies, I am more than happy to assist.

Growth Partners PLC is a brilliant company that blends expert consultation with innovative technology. In short, we deliver affordable HR, Administrative, and Employee Benefits services to SMEs in order to elevate workplace wellbeing.

Through Growth Pro, our web-based portal, your organisation will gain access to the following services, either aggregated or individually…

- GDPR compliant Payroll services, including online payslips 

- Auto-enrolment Pension provision

- HR, Employment Law and Training & Development experts

- Over 6,000 discounts for holidays, restaurants, retailers, gyms and more

- 24/7 access to online GP doctors (including prescription delivery) and emotional counsellors

Contact me directly at Paul.Bresnihan@growthpartnersplc.co.uk for all Employee Engagement-related matters, or visit http://www.growthpartnersplc.co.uk to find out more about the firm.