Engaging staff brings results
Companies participating in the 2012 Barbados Best Employers programme have been lauded for their levels of employee engagement.
Rosalind Jackson, managing director of organizers Caribbean Catalyst, said overall most of the staff in the 31 participating companies was generally engaged.
“In quite a few of these organizations, many are actively engaged,” she said last Thursday during the awards luncheon at Hilton Barbados.
Jackson defined engagement as “the willingness of employees to strive to do their best work on a daily basis”.
Using an engagement gauge ranging from five to zero, she said companies in the small category averaged 4.14, those in the medium category 3.90, and in the large category, 3.63.
“As you can imagine, it should be easier to engage a small team than a large team. However, one of our finalists boasts an engagement indicator of 4.30 which is above the small category average.
“This is testimony to the fact that where line managers appropriately treat with their people, large companies . . . can also create a culture of genuine employee engagement,” she said.
Jackson noted that historically, in a vibrant economy, the measure of employee engagement was seen as an indicator of staff retention or vice versa, and it was viewed as adding value because of the high cost of hiring a new employee.
However, she said the tide has turned and attitudes to engagement and its financial impact also need to change.
“Because of the difficult and uncertain economy, retaining talent may seem easier on the surface,
but . . . keeping talent motivated and performing well against a backdrop of redundancies, salary freezes and other cutbacks make genuine engagement exceedingly important now.
“Disengaged employees who stay are very toxic and costly. If they are going nowhere, then they have to be meaningfully switched on. That’s what real leaders do,” she said.
Jackson noted that if people are disengaged or merely opportunistic, the minute the economy starts to recover and there is movement in the labour market, the best talent will be through the door when they are needed to capitalize on the upswing. (NB)