Staff engagement still a problem for employers

Figures from two separate pieces of research reveal a concerning picture for UK employers, yet the two issues highlighted are can be easily overcome yet organisations employers seem reluctant to tackle them. We’re talking about staff development and employee engagement.


In August, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) revealed that 1 in 4 (23%) employees are planning to leave their jobs in search of promotional and development opportunities elsewhere. This is despite the fact that the same research found that 48% of employee saying that their current employers do provide these things. The issue, it would seem, is one of engagement – or lack of.


Indeed, research conducted by TotalJobs showed that 28% of employers struggle to engage their people at all, with 59% saying this results in low productivity and less than favourable staff retention rates. Even more worrying was the fact that 66% of employers reported that their low staff engagement levels also meant performance standards were negatively affected too.


At a time when competition between law firms is at its most intense, and the demand for the best talent at its highest, what can employers do to better engagement their teams and ensure they keep hold of the talent they already have?


According to the TotalJobs report, more than half (51%) of respondents say that clearly communicating with staff via email, internal newsletters and regular meetings are highly effective ways of improving engagement.


Creating a ‘stimulating work environment’ (39%) and ‘fostering a strong team dynamic’ (28%) were also highlighted as effective employee engagement tactics, along with ‘building a strong and visible’ management team (25%) and ‘rewarding the most proactive and engaged employees’ (24%).


The statistic that caught our eye in particular was that 4 in 10 (44%) of employers say that hiring the right staff in the first place was the most important factor in determining how effective their employee engagement strategy is.


Having a CV to wow anyone is all well and good, but personality and cultural fit are often more important than the skills and experiences that someone may have. Indeed, the CIPD estimate that the cost of a mis-hire can be anywhere from £12,000 to upwards of £25,000 – figures that few firms can write off.


So hiring managers need to know exactly what they need in their next hire and, more important, that the recruitment partner they appoint has the knowledge, expertise and the wherewithal to find the talent you really need. Then, once in situ, having an effective employee engagement strategy in place will go a long way to ensuring that you retain this new talent and remain an employer of choice.