Skills shortage? Recession? Don’t neglect the people you have…

Freelance HR Adviser
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A reputation as a good employer is a very valuable asset in helping retain employees and in attracting new ones. This is more important than ever in the current climate of skills shortages. It is also a no-brainer that employees who are happy in their work and motivated to do a good job will perform better. We all want employees who are willing to go the extra mile. So how do you become an employer of choice? Management can’t require employees to be engaged, it is something they have to give. How do you influence it? An employee’s engagement level can be influenced by many factors; their job content and feeling of well being at work; how they are rewarded; management attitude and ability; leadership; communication and the company culture. Work-life balance plays a part in this as well. As with all people-centred initiatives there will be as many views as there are employees. That is why you need to know what your employees think before you start, so you don’t waste time on the wrong things. As one size clearly doesn't fit all, you will need to run different initiatives. It’s far better to choose 2 or 3 areas to work on and make good progress than start on several and not make noticeable improvements because there is too much to do. You also need to avoid the temptation of going for the quick wins and leaving it at that. Changing the heating might improve morale for a short time, but if the underlying issue is poor line management, morale won’t stay improved for long. Another common pitfall is to start off well and then lose interest when other business issues take your attention. If employees feel that nothing has been done or followed through, they will feel that management doesn’t really care, which will result in worse engagement levels than if you hadn’t started. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make employees feel more valued; sometimes just seeing the boss around the place showing an interest and saying thanks gives a big boost to morale. Feeling engaged is often about feeling part of something and having a voice. Communication - listening as well as talking - is key to success.


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