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Cath Everett

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HR taking action but management not owning engagement


Although just over half of HR professionals are concerned about staff motivation levels, the majority of organisations are failing to put practices in place to ensure managers own the issue.

According to a survey among HR managers undertaken by law firm Davies Arnold Cooper, some 55% are worried about staff engagement are and are, therefore, introducing a range of measures to boost motivation levels.
Some 68% are setting up team briefings and trying to improve employee communications, while just under half are opting for face-to-face activities such as team-building events. A further two out of five are offering further training and coaching opportunities, while just under a third are providing volunteering opportunities and 8% sabbaticals.
A second study revealed HR professionals were right to be concerned, however. Research undertaken by HR services company Hewitt Associates indicated that, of the 85% and 64% that had collected employee feedback in the last two years or 12 months respectively, over half had seen a significant drop in engagement levels during the second quarter of this year – the largest decline since the firm began undertaking the survey 15 years ago.
A mere 16% of the 150 companies across Europe that were questioned had seen a large increase in motivation levels.
But the study also found that, while managers at many organisations found such feedback interesting, they did not apply it to their own day-to-day decision-making. Instead such surveys were viewed more as an administrative exercise and leaders did not take responsibility for responding to the findings.
Jenny Merry, Hewitt Associates’ UK engagement practice leader, said: “While a few organisations are putting in place practices that create management ownership for employee engagement and provide managers with the skills and tools to do this, for others there is still a lot to do.”
Those employers that responded positively to employee feedback as part of existing business or people planning processes were generally more successful financially, but too many failed to translate feedback into action within the context of the overall business plan, she added.
“If that is the case, employee engagement will inevitably remain an HR-led process rather than an integrated approach to addressing business challenges,” Merry warned.


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