New research shows that 64% of UK SME senior managers believe their staff feel valued. However, the number of non-management SME employees who say they feel valued is just 46%.
Similarly, while 42% of SME managers think their employees are aligned with their company’s purpose, just 22% of employees agree.
And although 3 in 4 SME managers say their company is run in line with its values, only half (51%) of employees agree.
Employee engagement as a priority
For a decade, research has demonstrated a link between employee engagement and bottom line performance, but for many SMEs it remains a low priority.
Responding to this research, just 1 in 8 managers agreed that improving employee engagement is a business priority. In contrast, increasing customer satisfaction was described as a priority by 45% of respondents. Half of businesses say they are not investing any resources to increase engagement.
According to the study, only 1 in 3 managers described their understanding of the concept of employee engagement as ‘strong’. This may explain the lack of investment, as managers shy away from devoting valuable resources to tackle an issue they don’t fully understand with initiatives they can’t be sure will work.
The researchers asked SME senior managers to describe what they are doing to increase engagement in their company. The most common initiatives were more regular meetings and training.
However, employees have other priorities. Asked how their engagement could be improved, 36% called for flexible working and for effective recognition of high quality work. This suggests that, in many SMEs, employee engagement initiatives are aiming at the wrong target.
How can MSB help?
MSB is now in its 32nd year of partnering with private and public sector organisations to assess and improve levels of employee engagement. We never leave clients with a ‘data’ dump’ of results, focusing instead on providing practical, actionable recommendations for all levels of management.
To learn more about our employee engagement work, please visit our website - www.msbconsultancy.com.