3 minute read
Insight: Just how engaged are your employees?
JJS Manufacturing has just completed their latest Staff Satisfaction Survey and has been encouraged to see the number of ‘engaged’ staff across the group rise for the 5th year running. The number of ‘disengaged’ staff is also at a record low but as Group Marketing Manager Neil Sharp explains, there’s no room for complacency.
Employee engagement is a funny word and can mean different things to different people. It’s a complex subject with lots of angles and whilst an annual survey like the Gallup 12 is a useful tool to formalise a set of results, companies need to be working on the subject throughout the year.
So, what has JJS Manufacturing been doing to try and improve things over the past few years?
Well, one of the most important decisions we made as a company was to make employee engagement one of our top-level key performance indicators – and as we only have four it’s a significant focus for us. Having board level sponsorship has helped to ensure the right level of internal time and resource can be allocated to new initiatives aimed at improving things. Without this level of commitment it would be easy to just play lip service to the subject or for projects to stall along the way.
We then made sure that our mission and vision statements were clear to all staff. We simplified the previous statements we had and thought long and hard about who we are, what we offer and where we aspire to get to. We are still working in this area to refine our message but in the interim, both mission and vision statements are communicated on a monthly basis to all staff as part of a general business briefing and also on a number of electronic message boards we have across the three sites.
We have also moved away from the traditional annual appraisal and staff now have monthly 1-2-1’s with their Line Managers. This has helped to ensure that staff fully understand what is expected from them in their role and allows for open dialogue to take place to address any concerns or training requirements. A formal appraisal still takes place each year to document progress but these have now become a ‘no surprise’ environment due to the regular feedback already taking place.
As the company has grown we have been guilty of playing down some of our success stories. In the ‘olden days’ a new order or customer win would have resulted in a round of applause in the office or even a ring of the famous sales bell! But as we have grown and the contracts have increased in size we have shied away from celebrating our success and have carried on without making a fuss. Sadly, we no longer ring the sales bell but we have started to share our success stories more internally and actively encourage all staff to do the same. It’s amazing how a simple ‘thank you’ e-mail from a customer can really boost team spirit.
Finally, we have spent a lot of time ensuring all staff, regardless of department, level, or job title, have a forum in which their voices can be heard. As an example, each month we hold ‘Listening Days’ in which groups of staff get to meet with a Main Board member where they can bring up any concerns they have or ideas for improvement. The output of these meetings are then reviewed during the month and where practical, changes are made. Every six months we then communicate out to all staff across the three sites which topics have been raised and more importantly, what we have done about them.
In addition to the monthly Listening Days, we run a process improvement scheme which encourages all staff to raise ideas in exchange for a small reward. Again, these ideas are then formally reviewed and those that are deemed appropriate are fed back to the individual who is then encouraged to help drive the improvement forward as part of a wider team.
So to summarise, over the past few years we have made employee engagement one of our top level KPIs with board level sponsorship. We continue to share our mission and vision statements regularly so that all staff are clear on why we exist as a business and where we aspire to be. We encourage regular two-way feedback so that staff are clear on what is expected from them and how they can help achieve our business goals. We encourage staff to share ‘good news’ stories with each other and have a number of forums now in place which allow staff at all levels to discuss openly any concerns or good ideas that they have.