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: What Will be Your Organisation’s Greatest Challenge in 2019?

Is your organisation ready for… whatever the next few months will bring? Which challenges are most pressing for you? And how ready are you to confront them and drive through them?

New research (published this week) from Acas has revealed that “over half of workers (53%) believe that getting the right people with the right skills will be the biggest issue faced by their workplace in the year ahead.” This was followed by technological change (36%) and productivity (36%). You can see the full results here.

All organisations, big and small, are facing unprecedented challenges currently; they aren’t always the same challenges but they always demand attention, energy and skill to negotiate. Whatever the main challenges are for your organisation, one thing is certain: you can’t afford to ignore them.

It’s not just the technical skills that people need, however; they also need to change behaviour in order to adopt new technologies, practices and operating procedures as these develop. No technological change will deliver value if the employees don’t adopt it wholeheartedly.

With the outcome of Brexit still a mystery, the resulting political and economic uncertainties will only increase. We observe that a key differentiator between successful and failing companies in times of struggle is the ability to thrive, despite that uncertainty; and the ability to thrive depends on your leaders’ ability to lead your people effectively though change, changing behaviour across the organisation, one small step at a time.

May we wish you a happy, thriving and successful New Year!

Steve Short – Emenex

HM Revenue & Customs has retained its position as Whitehall’s unhappiest department as measured by its employee engagement score in the Civil Service People Survey.

HMRC racked up an engagement score of 49% in the latest People Survey, down one percentage point from the previous year and reversing a trend of progressively increasing scores since 2014, while the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Work and Pensions also saw their scores drop by one point for the 2018 survey.

Across the entire civil service, however, engagement rose one point to 62%, and most departments saw a modest uplift in their scores.

More worryingly, perhaps, the civil service has struggled to make headway with reducing bullying and harassment. For the third successive year, the pan-Whitehall proportion of staff reporting they had been a victim of bullying or harassment was 11%, prompting a specific response from cabinet secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill.

Much more from this survey here at Civil Service World.

How to Create a Strong Employee Experience

It turns out the old adage “Employees don’t leave companies, they leave bad managers” is no longer entirely accurate. Though managers still play a major role in employee retention, they may not be the largest factor in ensuring talented employees stick around. A new study reveals that creating a strong employee experience is the key to attracting and keeping employees in today’s job market.  What does this mean? Companies have to think beyond “engagement.”

For years, Alight Solutions has been studying employee engagement, and this piece from Forbes shares some straightforward practices that don’t require a major overhaul of company policies:

  • Move towards a business partnership culture
  • Hire and develop business “owners”
  • Engage holistically
  • Make alignment the focus for performance management
  • Reward “fair trades” vs. rewarding people

More on these ideas here.

Employee Disengagement – Could Frustration be to Blame?

In today’s increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world (VUCA), organisations must effectively engage their employees to aid individual, team and organisational development, as well as maintain productivity, profitability, and reduce the detrimental cost of turnover and absenteeism.

Organisations are struggling to engage their employees and keep them motivated, which can lead employees to start ‘acting out.’ Particularly those who are activity disengaged as they express their unhappiness through counter-productive work behaviours.

One possible explanation for this could be a rising incidence of employee frustration. Research conducted by Ward et al. (2017) found that a concerning 82% of UK workers had experienced a frustrating event within their current role, and 79% had seen other workers become frustrated. Furthermore, 36% had left an organisation or job role since 2000 as a result of frustration at work.

More on this research here at Engage for Success, including contact details for its author, Sophie Ward, Lecturer in Occupational and Business Psychology, at Coventry University.

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