How Happy Are Your Employees? How Do You Know?

I’ve written a lot recently about employee engagement. What is it? It’s a positive attitude held by your employees towards your company and its values. An engaged employee knows where your business is going and works with colleagues to improve performance to benefit your business. But how do you measure engagement? How do you know just how engaged your people are with your business?

To find out how happy your employees are, you could start with a survey. This will give you a quantitative measure, such as a score or the percentage of people saying they are ‘very happy’, ‘quite happy’ and so on. It relies on a quantity of people answering the survey to provide an accurate result that is representative of your staff.

A good survey helps you not only determine the level of engagement (or disengagement) within your company, as well as which elements help drive engagement, are very good or need work. An employee engagement survey can help you find out how your people feel about whether or not they feel listened to, how much they trust their leaders and other emotions, views and experiences.

So why not just ask how engaged your employees feel?

Probably because job satisfaction is not the same as being engaged. Since studies show that 70% of UK workers don?t actually trust their management, can you trust them to give an accurate answer to this question?

The other thing to consider with surveys is that they are not engagement. When the results are in, what happens next? Engagement isn’t something you can tick off.

So what do you really want to measure? Employee engagement is inextricably linked to increased customer satisfaction and subsequent profitability. So rather than trying to measure employee engagement and customer satisfaction separately, you can evaluate the two together. If customer satisfaction improves, then your people are more engaged. If sales are up, customer satisfaction is increased and employee engagement is raised.

So what’s the best way to measure employee engagement? Start by carrying out an employee engagement survey to establish baseline scores. Use the results to decide what improvement initiatives you are going to use. Then resurvey periodically to measure the effectiveness of changes you make.

Just remember that employees feel engaged when they feel listened to. So if you carry out a survey, really listen to what your people say and do something about it. That way everyone will see the benefits – your employees, your business and your clients.

How happy are your clients? How do you know?

Unfair Dismissal Claims – Q and A

Here are some common questions about unfair dismissal and my answers to them.

Q – What is unfair dismissal?

A – Dismissals are classed as ‘automatically unfair’, regardless of the reasonableness, if an employee is exercising their rights related to the following:

  • Pregnancy, including all reasons relating to maternity
  • Family reasons, including parental leave, paternity leave, adoption leave or time off for dependants
  • Representative and trade union membership grounds and union recognition
  • Discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation
  • Pay and working hours, including the Working Time Regulations, annual leave and the National Minimum Wage.

Q – When is a dismissal fair?

A – Dismissal is normally fair if an employer can show that it is for one of the following reasons:

  • A reason related to an employee’s conduct
  • A reason related to an employee’s capability or qualifications for the job
  • Because of a redundancy
  • Because a statutory duty or restriction prohibited the employment being continued
  • Some other substantial reason of a kind which justifies the dismissal.

Q – How do you dismiss employees?

A – The key points to remember are:

    • Dismissing employees should be the last resort and employers should carry out necessary investigations without unreasonable delay to establish the facts
    • Employers should use a fair and consistent procedure when dismissing employees
    • It’s always best to try to resolve any issues informally first
    • Employees have the right not to be unfairly dismissed
    • Set out in writing your rules and procedures for handling disciplinary procedures
    • Make sure employees and managers understand the rules and procedures for disciplinary issues.

Q – When can an employee make a claim about unfair dismissal?

A – In most circumstances employees will need to qualify before they can make a complaint to an employment tribunal. They need:

  • At least one year’s continuous service for employees in employment before 6th April 2012
  • Two years for employees starting employment on or after 6th April 2012.

Q – How do you avoid costly mistakes?

A – Before thinking about dismissing an employee, stop and think – are you doing the right thing? To make sure that you comply with the law and don’t make any costly mistakes, whether you’re an employee or an employer, get the right advice.

Top Ten Issues Affecting Employee Engagement

According to a survey carried out by XpertHR in 2011, the top ten issues that affect employee engagement are:

  1. Pay
  2. Quality of line management
  3. Job security
  4. Leadership visibility and confidence
  5. Relationship with manager
  6. Working culture
  7. Internal communications
  8. Organisational change
  9. Workload
  10. Job satisfaction

I’m not sure if these are ranked in any particular order, or the size of the companies that took part in the survey, but the list makes interesting reading.

If you ask your staff how happy they are at work and what is stopping them from being fully engaged, would they list any of these issues? How many of them?

The good news is that you can do something about all these issues – whether you think they’re a problem or not. Work through the list and make sure you’re doing all you can for your employees – giving them top quality line management, strong leadership and effective internal communication. Employee engagement, or keeping your staff happy and motivated, is not just about giving them a pay rise!

You can find out even more about the best way to keep your employees engaged – and thus how to grow your business and your profitability – at my next workshop on 17 April 2013 in Reading. It costs just £20 +VAT and places are limited, so click here to book your place.