Every two weeks we bring you opinion, news and research on Employee Engagement, Leadership and Organisational Performance, along with some thoughts on practical workplace applications.

Editorial: UK Sickness Rates at Record Low

This week the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its latest sickness absence in the labour market data, which looks in detail at the reasons workers have been absent in 2016. The report asks a vital question:

How many days do we lose to employee absences per year?

Well, for a change there is some good news! The ONS report shows that 137.3 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury in the UK in 2016, which is equivalent to 4.3 days per worker. This is the lowest recorded figure since the series began in 1993, when it was 7.2 days per worker. So yes, it is good news, but it’s still a lot of time away from being productive.

One explanation for the reduction (which has a been the general trend since 2003, with a couple of blips in 2014 and 2015) is an increase in awareness about psychological well-being at work – not just focusing on the physical environment. That’s a good thing, but there is no room for complacency, because absence is costly. This leads us to ask another important question that the ONS report doesn’t address:

How much is absenteeism costing your organisation?

It’s not a figure most of us carry in our heads, but in our experience the direct cost is far higher than most people think (and that doesn’t even take into account the indirect costs: for example how disengaged other employees can become due to the increase in their own workload). To help, we’ve created a handy calculator so that you can easily identify the financial implications of absence in your organisation – you can find it here and it’s entirely free for you to use.

Steve Short – Emenex

Blog: Thriving Through Strategic Narrative

After peers backed down over the issues of EU residency rights and a meaningful vote on the fImage result for house of commonsinal Brexit deal, Parliament finally passed the Brexit bill, paving the way for the UK government to trigger Article 50 to leave the European Union.

Meanwhile, research conducted by the movement Engage For Success has identified that organisations with both high levels of employee engagement and high levels of performance have a clear strategic narrative about the organisation, that is compelling and authentic, delivered by leaders who are empowering and visible.

We continue to experience high levels of uncertainty and concern about Brexit, as there is still no clear strategic narrative about the journey through what will be the most significant change that the UK, and Europe, will experience this century.

Now let’s apply this to individual organisations within the UK.  Read more.

Alistair Aitchison – Emenex

Why the Millions We Spend on Employee Engagement Buys Us So Little

Organizations are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on employee engagement programs, yet their scores on engagement surveys remain abysmally low. How is that possible, asks Jacob Morgan for Harvard Business Review?

Because most initiatives amount to an adrenaline shot. A perk is introduced to boost scores, but over time the effect wears off and scores go back down. Another perk is introduced, and scores go back up — and then they fall again. The more this cycle repeats itself, the more it feels like manipulation. People begin to recognize the short-term fixes for what they are.

When organizations make real gains, it’s because they’re thinking longer-term. They’re going beyond what engagement scores are telling them to do in the moment and redesigning employee experience, creating a place where people want, not just need, to work each day. But what does that mean, and what does it look like?

Go here to delve in to Morgan’s recent research findings from analysing 250 diverse companies. See who’s switching attention away from those ‘fickle’ engagement numbers to focusing on how people experience their organization day by day.

What’s Work Like Today? Employees Now In Charge

Over the last 30 years, business strategists have taught us that customers come first. If you treat your customers well, they will amplify your brand.  But today, as our newest research (Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2017) finds the formula has changed:

Consider your employees your #1 stakeholder. They, in turn will take care of your customers, who in turn will take care of your shareholders.

Consider a few simple facts, asks Josh Bersin for The Huffington Post. Despite the huge focus on employee engagement and culture in business, US business productivity is barely increasing. Employee engagement is flat (Bersin has been studying it since 2003 and it hasn’t gone up at all; and employees are more overwhelmed than ever).

This year more than 10,000 business and HR leaders were surveyed across 140 countries—the largest survey to date— and found that “employee experience” is more important than ever. From recruitment to retirement, leading organizations are rewriting the rules and innovating all aspects of the employee experience to attract and retain the right talent, enhance engagement to boost productivity, and gain a competitive edge.

Nevertheless, Bersin reminds us, Employee Engagement is a complex problem; and offers his latest insights here.

A Values-based Approach To Employee Engagement

Katie Hryschko, from the British Business Bank, discusses how the businesses organisational values promote collaborative working within the company and improve employee engagement.

The British Business Bank is a government-owned economic development bank set up to improve access to finance for smaller businesses.  Created just over two years ago, it now employs 170 people across Sheffield and London offices.
From the outset, says Hryschko, we felt it was important to enable our people – our greatest asset and biggest advocates – not only to create a set of core values which would underpin and support our purpose, but also to play a continuous role in positively shaping the emerging culture of our business as we grew and developed. Our employees bring a valuable wealth and depth of experience from varied backgrounds. We recognised, however, that those often widely differing backgrounds – incorporating public and private sectors – meant they would potentially have different expectations about what it would mean to work for the British Business Bank.’

Go to HRreview for the full story of this highly successful approach.

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