What does the boss of your business know about you and your colleagues? Does it matter whether they know the European shoe size of each employee, or if they don’t have a clue what their partners are called, or even if they have one?

Whether individual members of staff think they even care about it or not, it can have a subconscious effect on their performance and ultimately be very important to how well the business operates, due to its effect on variables such as staff retention and enthusiasm for the job.

In fact, employee engagement can be the difference between a successful business and one which fails to achieve its potential.

We recently conducted a survey of employees to find out what their bosses knew about them, and the results were very interesting. While there were some positives to report, it was clear that a lot of work needs to be done to get employee engagement up to scratch in some businesses.

We asked employed people about the information their employers knew about them, in relation to their lives outside of work. Almost half of bosses do not know the names of their employees’ children.

This statistic was just one from among those which emerged in the survey and is just one example of a detachment between bosses and those they employ.

30% did not know the name of the employee’s partner, and 48% did not know their children’s names.

While 84% said their boss knew where they lived, other knowledge was not so widespread. 36% said their boss did not know what outside interests they had.

Employers who are more detached from their staff risk reduced productivity and greater turnover of employees.

The diversity in what bosses know about their employees is quite broad. It’s rather interesting to see that 14% know what their employees’ parents do or did for a living, but 40% didn’t even know what their spouse do for a living.

The reason this is important is that the levels to which an employer is engaged with their team can have a huge impact upon the success of the business. Engagement with employees leads to, among other things, higher levels of commitment from loyal and dedicated staff, and businesses which benefit from this have been shown to outperform those with low commitment by up to 200%.

Additionally, it leads to better retention of employees, reducing the financial and time costs involved with regularly having to recruit to replace leavers. Staff who are proud to work for a business, feel appreciated and have job satisfaction also contribute greatly to its long-term success and are more likely to be innovative and responsive to change.

So, the findings of this survey are very interesting, because bosses who score lower in terms of how well they engage with their employees are potentially missing out on many of the benefits of doing so.

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