Small investments in employee engagement could reap big economic returns


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Employers who invest 10% in employee engagement strategies can increase company profits by £2,700 a year, a study suggests.


Research published by thinktank the Work Foundation claims the increased productivity is especially possible to achieve in low wage and low-skilled jobs, such as contact centres.

It claims small investments in employee engagement in such sectors could contribute £49 billion to the UK economy by reducing sickness absence.

The report points to figures published by the TUC last year that suggested 80% of the 587,000 new jobs created in the UK were primarily in low wage work. 

Stephen Bevan, director for the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness at the Work Foundation, said the labour market for low wage, low-skilled work was likely to continue growing in the UK.

"Contact centre work especially has one of the highest labour turnover rates in the UK, and sick leave for this sector alone costs the UK economy £626 million per year,” he said. 

“These roles often have standardised work methods and lack of development opportunities. Many workers who have moved into this sector do not view their employment as a career option.

“Creating a career culture in this sector, by implementing training and development or shared leadership for problem solving, could have a real impact on productivity.”

His comments were backed by recruitment agency Office Angels managing director Angela Smith. 

“It’s common sense that committed employees are much more productive and act as great ambassadors for your brand. They’re also less likely to take sick leave and far more likely to remain loyal,” she said.

“One of the most effective ways of making employees feel valued is through the promise and delivery of career progression: they are far more likely to feel engaged if they have a career goal to work towards. 

“Organisations with high retention rates tend to offer clear career paths, with training and development opportunities along the way. Not only does this allow employees to feel valued, but they also feel like they are continually progressing and learning, which gives them less reason to leave.” 

According to the report, more than 1 million people were employed as contact centre agents in 2011.

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