The Importance of Engagement in a SME Business

The Importance of Engagement in a SME Business Employee engagement is one of the core principles for any successful business and brand reputation, especially for SMEs striving for growth and success.

An SME is a small or medium-sized enterprise with fewer than 250 employees. Within this umbrella there are three different categories: medium-sized, small, and micro-businesses. These categories are defined by turnover and number of employees. SMEs make up around 99% of all businesses in the UK and are a key driver of economic growth and sustainability.

Firstly, understand why employee engagement is so important …

For small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) having engaged staff can mean the difference between long-term sustainable success and failure.

According to Forbes, employees who are engaged in their work are more likely to be motivated and remain committed to their employer.

Introducing smart employee engagement strategies significantly reduces staff turnover, improves productivity and efficiency, supports customer retention, and increases overall profits.

In a recent survey, Rungway found that two in five British workers (40%) don’t see themselves as an engaged employee. As a result of this, companies risk losing their best people if they fail to recognise this problem or don’t act to fix it.

A lack of employee engagement is usually a result of: feeling undervalued by management, low pay and lack of rewards, poor company communication and collaboration and unclear values, goals and company mission.

How can employee engagement help an SME business?

Successful Collaboration and Communication

Employees who feel valued and understand that their role is positively impacting the business are more open to developing plans and overcoming challenges as a team. As a result, this increases productiveness, communication and collaboration. This produces a strong foundation to build cross departmental relationships throughout the company and amplifies employee engagement.

Another key aspect is clear communication from senior management. This provides direction and promotes a shared company vision, values and goals for the short and long-term success. Without this, there is an increased risk of confusion when it comes to the direction of the company strategy.

Increased Trust

Building trust and relationships between management and staff is key to a happy workplace. To support this, give employees a voice, recognise their contributions, show compassion to personal and professional situations, and remain honest and open at all times.

Engagement activities such as, open-door policies, socials, monitoring employee morale and offering support and feedback also enhances relationships and builds trust between seniors and their teams.

Improve Employee Well-being

When employees are happy and engaged at work, their mental and physical health is positively affected. Gallup found that 62% of engaged employees feel their work positively affects their physical health, while 78% of engaged workers feel their work lives benefit them psychologically.

Implementing positive employee well-being strategies will help improve the overall morale of the workface. Providing employees with a safe space to talk and a designated mental health coordinator highlights the importance and priority of the company’s commitment to the wellbeing of their staff, both mentally and physically.

Job Satisfaction

A competitive salary, a complimentary lunch or a dress-down day aren't the only ways to keep employees happy and committed. They want a job that develops their professional skill set, offers a positive experience and enhances their opportunities for progression within the company.

To give some clarity on the significance of job satisfaction, a recent engagement survey found that over 36% of people would take a salary reduction to be happier at work. Whether it’s through valuable training, an inspiring environment, positive communication or stimulating engagement strategies, employees will be more equipped to gain job fulfilment. This provides each employee with a platform to succeed within the company.

Better Company Culture

Employees want empowering working experiences. They strive to work in a professional, but friendly environment where communication is open, values are clear and success is rewarded. This is achieved when focus is emphasised on employee engagement permanently, and not just as a passing trend.

A better company culture will stem from a proactive workforce, rather than a reactive workforce. Engagement strategies can strengthen company culture and reduce staff turnover. Low office morale and job dissatisfaction can spread rapidly, which can be costly to a business. It's critical to generate enthusiasm within the workplace.

Reduce Staff Turnover

Engaged workforces sustain top talent and attracts loyalty in the workplace, whilst reducing staff turnover and decreasing hiring costs. When employees feel satisfied with their working culture and values, they’re more likely to stay committed to their employer.

A disengaged employee will show up, do their job to a satisfactory level and have less incentive to remain loyal to the business. Therefore, a company will struggle to maintain a high retention rate. This may have an impact on staff morale and the company’s reputation.

Improve Talent Acquisition

Companies that have low employee turnover rates and great business results are more likely to attract top applicants. Job seekers take notice of organisations that offer a positive and thriving culture. These elements are usually seen through a company's social media accounts, website and overall reputation.

One of the most valuable assets to all businesses is its people. Therefore, high employee engagement should be a priority.

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