Employee engagement: why small businesses need to do it too

| September 30, 2019

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It’s not just big companies that need to consider employee engagement – it’s equally important for small businesses to do this. Here are some practical tips to help SMEs get to grips with it. At the end, one of the participants came to speak with me. He ran a small business, and he wanted to engage his staff, but it seemed like more work on top of running the business itself.

Spotlight

Michael Page

Michael Page has four decades of expertise in professional services recruitment. We were established in London in 1976, and over this period we've grown organically to become one of the best-known and most respected consultancies, with an office network spanning six continents.

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With a return to work, should you re-onboard employees who started remotely during a lockdown?

Article | August 6, 2021

Onboarding is a broad term that captures many of the critical moments when a new starter joins your company and begins when your new candidate accepts their job offer from your business. Yet despite what COVID-19 has thrown at us, one common theme remains, onboarding is the process that ensures your new starters are ready for whatever comes at them, whether they’re based at home or in the office. But if your new starter joined your business virtually, and you’re planning on moving back to the office, should you consider re-onboarding them to an extent, or was your initial onboarding enough to support them, and your business? In this article, we take a look at why you may want to consider re-onboarding your virtual starters when returning to the workplace, and how you may go around re-onboarding employees who started remotely. When the country shifted to working from home at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, employers were forced to switch entire elements of their business, including onboarding, to a virtual setting. But with more offices starting to see a return to work, albeit on a hybrid approach, should you consider re-onboarding the staff who began virtually over the past 18-months? Re-onboarding and welcoming your staff back into the office will play a vital part in the success of your newer team as they grow and develop in your business, while also allowing your company’s social culture to flourish. Research from Glassdoor shows that organisations with strong onboarding practices improve employee retention by 82% and productivity by more than 70%. The report highlighted that: Great employee onboarding can improve retention by 82%. Only 12% of polled employees think their onboarding was great. Most organisations only focus 1 week on onboarding. One way to look at this question is from a legal perspective. If your new joiner is coming into the office for the first time, then they’ll need to be informed of building processes, from something as simple as what the fire procedure is, to where the first-aider sits, in case they’re required to fill in an accident form. Then there are other assessments you’ll need to perform, such as a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment that will identify what improvements can be made to an employee’s workstation. But then there are also the more personal elements to consider for new starters like, security protocols (Do they need to be issued an ID badge?), conference room booking procedures, office rules (For instance, foods that are banned due to allergies), and even the more mundane things like where the tea and coffee making facilities and toilets are located. Re-onboarding is not just about switching from your home routine and moving your staff back to the office; it’s also re-onboarding your company culture and the teams within it. The entire process should address, support and educate how your employees can reach out for support if they struggle to adjust to work back in the office, to covering topics such as requirements for returning to the office, how layouts and cleaning measures may have changed, and what your expectations are for how employees use common spaces. But what are some common onboarding activities that could form part of your re-onboarding process? 6 onboarding activities that should be part of the re-onboarding experience 1. The dress code: If your staff have been working from home, you may have relaxed your dress code, but with staff returning to the office and beginning to undertake face-to-face meetings with clients, you may want to reintroduce the dress code to your new staff. 2. Defining the employees’ workstation: With both new and established staff coming back to the office, part of the re-onboarding process could include defining the employees’ workspace. Do they have a COVID secure place to work? Do they have all the equipment they need? 3. Order security cards and keys: With most offices having a secure entry system, do all of the pandemic new-starters have the required keys to get access? At this stage, you may also want to review your offboarding process, have you removed/collected these from all of the staff who have left during the office closure? 4. Face-to-Face introduction to the team: Perhaps the most missed perk of being based in the office, your re-onboarding experience offers a great opportunity to introduce your new staff members not only to their team but also to the wider company, including key figures such as management and health and safety officers. 5. Organising a work tour: This re-onboarding task can extend to both your new starters, but also your existing staff. If you’ve introduced social distancing elements to the workplace, you can use the tour to explain them to all of your staff, as well as introducing locations like meeting rooms, the kitchen and other shared spaces to new staff. 6. Review all policies, such as safety and security policies: Whilst some staff have joined your company, you may have also had some staff leave during the lockdown, so as part of your general re-onboarding, have you considered reviewing all of your policies from Fire Safety to Health and Safety? Do you still have enough trained staff on-site to cover your legal duties or do you need to invest in training for your staff?

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How to Secure and Manage a More Remote Workforce

Article | August 6, 2021

With COVID-19 seemingly dominating literally every facet of media, remote working is very much on the corporate agenda at the moment. But while many organizations already have it as part of their standard office culture, it is by no means a ubiquitous option. Although it simply isn’t practical for many occupations, research has found that 70% of people around the world work remotely at least once a week and 53% do so for at least half the week. Many businesses are now looking at the process anew, and from video conferencing and collaboration services to file sharing and communication tools, there is no lack of powerful and affordable technologies out there to help make it happen.

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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme FAQ: What it means for employers

Article | August 6, 2021

Editor’s note: This article was first published on 17 April 2020 and is being updated regularly. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was the lifeline that many employers had been hoping for when it was announced in March 2020. Since that time, the government has evolved the scheme and introduced additional rules. Most recently, these changes have focused on reintegrating a workforce within the business, and winding down the scheme in October 2020. From March through to the end of July 2020, the scheme means staff can be temporarily given a leave of absence while the government pays 80% of their salaries (plus employer National Insurance, and the minimum mandatory employer pension contribution).

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WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT

SURVIVE – PIVOT- THRIVE! WHERE ARE YOU?

Article | August 6, 2021

It’s worth sharing some of the findings from our global advisory group, Mindshop, and our colleague advisors from around the world about what they’re seeing in their marketplaces. First of all we understand that businesses will typically be facing 1 of 3 scenarios: 1. Busy - business is still going well with some disruption to the way they operate and demand may even be increasing. 2. Low Impact - perhaps there is a revenue reduction of between 10% and 20% with some uncertainty about the future and the possibility that the impact could be short-term. 3. High Impact - revenue reductions of 50% or more, or the business has even stopped operating as normal. In each of these scenarios we have seen the need for common overarching responses and the need to maintain those on cycles of no more than 30 days. These responses are firstly to Survive, followed by exploring the options to Pivot or Adapt and then to move into a Thrive mode in the new reality. We are aware of some businesses that have already made a substantial Pivot and may have changed, for example, the focus of their manufacturing and consequently have continued to do very well. While that looks like a great outcome we would expect the best of these businesses to already be planning whether they need to make another Pivot as things change or to lock their new found income streams into their future business model. These are strategic decisions that will need to be taken quickly. Being approximately 6 weeks into an overall community response, we have seen that most businesses are anticipating that their survival initiatives will probably be around a 3 month process and that they are about halfway through that now. We are also seeing an expectation that the search for, and execution of, opportunities to Pivot will take a further 6 months and it may be as much as 12 to 18 months before organisations are starting to thrive in their new reality. In looking at what this means for leaders, there are a whole range of strategies and tactics that can be applied, here, we would like to just provide a few examples under the Survive and Pivot/Adapt responses, and then point you to some free resources that you may find helpful. 1. For Leaders in all scenarios a. Survive - Calmness, communication and scenario plans are vital b. Pivot/Adapt - regularly review your business vision - things will change c. Thrive - have your growth plan ready with a new view of risk mitigation based on our current shared experience 2. For Leaders in the Busy Scenario a. Continually review the operational capabilities to respond to unexpected falls in demand and to anticipate growth b. Make sure that you continually update your disaster scenario plans - it could still happen to you c. Make sure to use your newfound cash flow to prepare yourself well for your new future as you continue to develop your new product and service offerings 3. For Leaders in the Low Impact Scenario a. Communication and focus are both here, team members will have seen enough of the alternative scenarios to be concerned about their future and if they are not working with purpose, low-impact can turn into high-impact very quickly b. Your Pivot responses should see a revised strategic plan focusing on recovering lost business but also on evolving into modified products and services - reimagine these in a changed market 4. For Leaders in a High Impact Scenario a. Hibernate long-term strategically important areas of your business as effectively as possible b. Choose the team members to work with you on the recovery very carefully c. Reimagine the business as a leaner and more effective operational unit as the market starts to recover or you discover opportunities to Pivot Obviously, these are just simple snapshots of leadership responses, but clarity of thinking in all scenarios is what will see good businesses coming out of this on the other side successfully.

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Spotlight

Michael Page

Michael Page has four decades of expertise in professional services recruitment. We were established in London in 1976, and over this period we've grown organically to become one of the best-known and most respected consultancies, with an office network spanning six continents.

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