It’s fairly well established that employee engagement is in dire straights. A Pew study from earlier this year found employee engagement levels in the low teens. These findings have been reinforced by a recent study published by the Chartererd Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD).
The damning report revealed that around 33% of us would love nothing more than to make substantial changes to our current work, with just 1/4 regarding work as particularly important to their lives.
These figures reveal a decline in employee engagement since the CIPD first surveyed it back in 2005. Back then, around 50% of employees regarded work as being important to their lives, suggesting a hefty reduction over the past decade.
The report, which was launched at the CIPD’s annual conference in Manchester, revealed that a large number of employees would love to change how they work.
Top of the hitlist was a change in the time they start work each day, with finishing time not far behind. This desire for flexible working was cautioned with a strong desire to regain a semblence of work/life balance.
Nearly half of respondeees owned up to doing a lot of work outside of their normal hours, especially taking phone calls and responding to emails. This level of flexible working was reflected in figures showing that around 20% of respondees worked from home at least once each week, with another 20% suggesting they’d love more flexibility in where and when they worked.
CIPD urge greater flexible working
The report built upon this zeitgeist with a call for employers to begin providing more flexible work arrangements for employees so that these needs are met more frequently.
Ksenia Zheltoukhova, from the CIPD said “Our research provides clear evidence that many businesses are out of step with employee expectations, although by meeting employee expectations, they stand to have greater employee engagement, a more productive workforce and stronger organisational performance.”
“To achieve this though, organisations must question assumptions about people management practices and processes, and establish working solutions that are of value both to individuals and to the business.”
From the employers perspective
From the employers perspective, the report revealed that the primary concern was workforce planning, with learning and development a close second.
Within larger employers, it was found that responsiveness and adaptability to the rapidly changing environment was also a key concern. Interestingly, this was found to be much less of an issue for smaller companies.
The report went on to recommend three key ways employers can provide this level of adaptability:
- Look at the composition of your workforce, to include a mixture of temporary and permanent contracts
- Ensure that flexible working is offered to employees with some clear guidelines for use
- Get a strong handle on the skills and talent distribution throughout the company
The report very much fits the trend that employees, especially in the millennial generation, demand both work with a purpose, and a strong amount of freedom over where and when they do that work. It’s highly likely that the pace of this change will only quicken, and the traditional model of work needs to adapt accordingly.
CIPD chief Peter Cheese revealed that “the challenges organisations and their leaders face are people challenges. We need to invest more in building for the future, as individuals and collectively as a profession.”
Is your own organisation ready for these challenges? Do they offer flexible working to employees? Let me know in the comments below.