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Look after your staff and they'll take care of the rest

If there's a strong link between employee engagement and productivity - and plenty of research suggests there is - UK organisations would be wise to pay close attention to improving the motivation and engagement of their employees.

Not only is the UK 21 per cent below the G7 average in productivity terms and falling, it also appears ten points below the global average on an international index of employee engagement.

Engaging employees involves a number of approaches, including trust, autonomy, receptiveness to ideas, communication, leadership and credit for good work.

While some of these elements may feel a little nebulous and hard to instil in an organisation, there shouldn't be anything difficult about recognising and rewarding work well done.

Recognition where it's due

Recent research has found that 80 per cent of highly engaged staff received some form of reward or recognition for good work, while only 35 per cent of unengaged staff received the same.

Rewards don't have to be lavish to be effective. Verbal recognition was cited widely by workers as one of the ways employers could show they cared about their staff.

Yet fewer than one in five employees had received a simple 'thank you' from their manager in the last 12 months, according to a survey from Red Letter Days for Business.

Worse still, other research has found that more than four in five managers have stolen their colleagues' ideas and passed them off as their own - hardly a practice geared to raising engagement.

Look after your staff

While links were found between recognition and engagement, the Red Letter Days research found that gender, age, size of organisation, and other variables had little impact.

Bill Alexander, CEO of Red Letter Days for Business, said, 'The research shows it doesn't matter what company you work for, where you are in the country, your age or gender, even your line manager's age or gender - the engagement results for these factors were more or less the same.

'This strongly highlights that any business can get on the road to solving engagement issues. My advice would be, look after your staff and they'll look after everything else.'

Acas publications and services

Acas can help you with Employee engagement and has published a guide aimed at boosting it in your workplace: pdf icon Advisory booklet - The People Factor [937kb].

Acas experts can visit your organisation and work with you on all aspects of employment relations to create a happier, more satisfied, more productive and more engaged workforce. See Workshops, projects and business solutions or call the customer services team on 0300 123 1150.

Practical training is also available on essential Skills for supervisors and Staff retention, including courses on 'The route to successful employee engagement' and 'Toxic workplace cultures - how to avoid them'.

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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