Slashing onerous admin is the answer to the UK's productivity problem

In a 2022 report by Gallup, UK employee engagement levels were found to be among the worst in Europe, with fewer than one in 10 workers feeling enthusiastic about their job.

While the UK trails behind European counterparts in terms of job satisfaction, employee engagement is decidedly low across the board.

Globally, only 21% of employees feel engaged in their work, while just 33% are ‘thriving in their overall wellbeing’.

Many organisations face significant challenges in driving satisfaction among their workers.

According to the CIPD the biggest obstacle to employee productivity is excessive red tape in people’s job roles.

UK productivity among the lowest of the G7, finds ONS

How can managers beat productivity paranoia?

Three steps to improve happiness and productivity

If a worker is expected to follow a plethora of mundane procedures and rules, this is likely to have a negative impact on their engagement with their job, and their productivity as a result.

If organisations want to unlock the profitability benefits associated with employee engagement, they must focus their efforts on addressing the biggest obstacles to satisfaction.

Bosses should try to do whatever they can to simplify processes wherever possible, making it easier and less taxing for workers.

By analysing which admin tasks are taking up the most time, leaders can then take steps to reducing the number of sign-offs required to approve tasks, enabling employees to work more efficiently.

Poor communications between line managers and frontline staff are similarly disruptive to employee engagement.

Often, this can be because line managers are ill-equipped to engage their teams, with the Achievers Workforce Institute’s Management Empowerment Report unveiling that just one third of frontline managers have received specific training to support employees, often due to budgetary restraints.

With regards to communication, two-way channels should be opened between line managers and their teams to ensure that workers receive clear instructions from business leaders, and also have an opportunity to raise any issues that they may be experiencing.

Line managers should also be provided with the resources and tools that they require to better engage with staff, and to learn what can be done to improve communications, such as internal surveys.

The benefits of impactful employee engagement are real

There is still much work to be done, but by addressing the key challenges that hamper job satisfaction, bosses can begin to make the necessary changes.

In turn, this should help to make their businesses more profitable and more appealing to prospective hires, who will be drawn by the strong company culture and team spirit on display.

And creating this positive company culture doesn’t have to cost vast amounts of money. Simply saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to a member of staff, or announcing when they’ve accomplished something significant, can make a huge difference, and shouldn’t be underestimated.

After all, celebrating success should underline all that a business does, and is key to achieving employee engagement.

Michael Doolin is group managing director at Clover HR