We talk about employee engagement regularly with our clients and as we all know, it can make a significant difference to an organisation’s performance, but what does employee engagement actually mean and how important is it for SME’s?

Employee engagement is defined as “the conditions where employees feel motivated to give their best each day, committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to the organisational success with an enhanced sense of their own well-being”.

In the words of Richard Branson, “Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients”.  This makes complete sense to us – whether you are an SME or multi-national blue chip company, you employ people for their skills and ability to do a job you require them to do.  So motivating and engaging them to deliver on this, is the best way to achieve what you originally set out for them to do and maximise their productivity.

In an SME, employees can have a larger individual impact on the overall business performance and their contribution is usually very clear.  Therefore, we would argue, employee engagement is just as important as in larger companies, if not more so, as their productivity will have a larger impact on your bottom line –  just think of the detrimental effect a few dis-engaged employees could have on you and your business.

Employee engagement doesn’t just mean having employees who like their job, are paid well and have great benefits (although having fair remuneration and benefit does help). It’s about having employees who want to make a positive difference every day to your business by being motivated to deliver for your organisation, which can come from:

  • Understanding the business, it’s vision and strategy
  • Understanding and being committed to the company values and culture
  • Understanding why we do things the way we do and being free to challenge this if they feel there may be a better way
  • Understanding their role, the value they add and what the business expects of them
  • Having a voice and being able influence the direction of the business
  • Being treated as an adult, with respect and views being genuinely considered

The good news for SME’s is to have great employee engagement doesn’t need to cost the earth – a clear and concise employee engagement strategy is all you need.  This can involve understanding where your engagement is, where you need it to be and what actions you plan to take, including the small measurable things that you can do to have a positive effect.  You should also understand your employees, what is important to them personally and consider the best way of communicating with them.  Communicating the importance of the employee engagement strategy is key, as you grow it will need to be adapted to work practically in your ever-changing environment to demonstrate its importance.

Employee engagement is not just a tick box exercise. When done well, it makes a huge difference to your bottom line in terms of productivity, employee recruitment (everyone will want to work for you and you will have the pick of the very best talent) and retention and ultimately profitability for your business.

In summary, employee engagement is hugely important to SME’s – it can make a big difference to your business in many ways and ultimately improve your bottom line.

If you want to discuss or need advice on implementing an employee engagement strategy, please do not hesitate to get in touch.