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The Impact of Undervalued Employees

The Impact of Undervalued Employees

Researching undervalued employees like this makes employee recognition a critical element of business success. But it can be easy to let appreciation slip, resulting in low morale and high turnover.

“More companies are finding that recognition, appreciation, and human workplace practices improve overall employee experience and fuel business performance.” Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey, 2018

What are the tell-tale signs that your organisation has undervalued employees? What is the impact on your business? And what steps can you take to boost appreciation? Read on to find out.

How to Tell Whether Your Business Appreciates its Employees

There’s so much to do when you’re running a business: finances, marketing, HR; and then there’s the day job. Which can leave little time for the nice fluffy stuff like appreciating your team.

Except recognising people’s effort isn’t just a nice-to-have. It’s an essential aspect of engaging employees, driving performance and delivering your business goals.

Failing to appreciate your staff is a behaviour that can easily fly under the radar. So, here are five behaviours to look out for that mean your leaders don’t value your staff:

  1. You haven’t got their back – when a customer or colleague points the finger, employees want to know their manager will be there to support them. Leaders who immediately look for fault and seek to apportion blame lose trust from their teams. Making them less likely to go the extra mile for their boss and the business in the future.
  2. Employees’ strengths aren’t played to – people often have unique talents beyond the job description, like strong organisational skills or an ability to speak a foreign language.  Managers who fail to comprehend the full potential of their team are doing the business a disservice by missing out on opportunities. This short-sightedness also leaves employees frustrated because they know they aren’t adding best value.
  3. Nobody asks for employees’ opinions – do senior people interrupt colleagues during meetings? Are less senior staff even consulted about decisions? Failing to get fresh insight from team members is a missed chance to grow and expand your knowledge. Neglect this and employees will feel ignored and disrespected, which isn’t good for engagement.
  4. Feedback is unheard of – employees want feedback so they can grow and improve. Leaders who withhold this lose out on an opportunity to build trust and show they value the relationship and their employees’ career. Deliver on this front and you’ll gain loyalty from your staff. Fail to do so and their heads will be turned by your competitors.
  5. You don’t trust them to manage their work – micromanaging employees signals that you don’t have confidence in their ability to perform. Employees either become extremely frustrated or they begin to doubt themselves leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Either way, engagement and performance dips and employees’ chances to develop or grow are stifled.

If these behaviours are allowed to continue for any period of time, frustration and disengagement will soon turn people’s head and they’ll begin to look for new jobs. Leading to two other major challenges for your business too:

  • Retention Risk

Losing your best people isn’t a smart move in a highly competitive recruitment market. With unemployment at 4.1% – the lowest in 18 years – retention is currently a major issue for businesses.

  • Recruitment

Empty seats mean more recruitment which means more time and more money. And with the advent of online platforms like Glassdoor, you could be facing employer branding problems too as employees publicly advertise their reasons for leaving. Which will give your business a bad reputation and make it even harder to hire the right people.

How to Not Have Undervalued Employees

Showing your appreciation is simple and it doesn’t need to cost a penny. Start by identifying when people have gone above and beyond and thank them for their efforts. Or congratulate your team at the end of a busy week or for delivering a project successfully.

Many firms operate formal recognition schemes where employees can provide peer-to-peer recognition and managers can give rewards or gifts.

Other firms choose to get to know each member of their team via company-paid socials so they can build relationships and appreciate the potential each person has to offer.

The long and short of this article is that if you fail to value your employees, you’re failing to value your organisation. If any of this rings true for your business, it’s time to start identifying and celebrating success. It will pay dividends all round.

If you want practical HR support to prevent you having undervalued employees or train your managers in employee appreciation, contact Crosse HR on 0330 555 1139 or at hello@crossehr.co.uk.

Stress Outside of Work – Is it Your Problem?

Stress Outside of Work – Is it Your Problem?

Almost half of all working days lost during 2016 to 2017 were due to personal stress. As the highest reported figure in almost a decade, it’s clear that there’s a growing problem.

Almost every piece of research into the causes of personal stress lists work as the primary factor. The government makes provision for this via health and safety legislation which states that employers have a responsibility to manage workplace stress.

But what about causes of personal stress outside the workplace? As an employer, are you responsible for helping employees counteract the effects of these stressors?

We take a look at why you should be concerned about non-work stress and the steps you can take to mitigate it.

What Are the Biggest Stressors Outside Work?

Research from the physiological society established that in 2017, the most stressful events that could take place in an individual’s life were:

  1. the death of their partner, a relative or friend
  2. imprisonment
  3. fire or flood damage to an individual’s home
  4. serious illness
  5. being fired
  6. separation or divorce
  7. identity theft
  8. unexpected money problems
  9. starting a new job
  10. planning a wedding

The research also showed that different problems impact different generations differently. Take the loss of a smartphone. This is rated as the 14th most stressful life event overall. However, when you look at the data by age group, it’s considered far more stressful by younger people than for seniors.

In contrast, serious illness is more concerning the older people get.

While there’s no requirement for employers to take steps to minimise personal stress, there are plenty of compelling business reasons to do so. The International Labour Organization notes that stress – and subsequent productivity loss – costs Europe around €617 billion each year.

Aside from the economic impact, stress often presents in employees as:

  • an inability to sleep
  • anxiety
  • disrupted concentration
  • over-eating

Concerningly for business owners, personal stress leads to almost one third of staff being less productive at work while 22% report feeling disengaged from their work. And more than one in ten say stress causes them to take days off sick.

Which means many things for employers:

  • Business risk – lack of sleep has been one of the major causes of industrial accidents including the Chernobyl disaster and the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
  • Additional cost – unexpected sick days disrupt work and can be costly for businesses.
  • More recruitment – longer term sickness absence means recruiting additional temporary headcount. Alternatively, firms can ask other team members to pick up more work although this can ratchet up their stress levels too.
  • Under-delivery – disengagement and poor performance also has a direct impact on the effectiveness of your business.

This means that choosing to only manage workplace stress is short-sighted.

Without legal requirements in place, the extent to which you support employees to live healthy lives outside of work is entirely up to you. But the more you can do for your people, the more they’ll be able to do for your business.

There are plenty of ways to support employee well-being. Here are just a few examples.

Employee Assistance Programmes

This cost-effective benefit provides employees with over-the-phone or online assistance for a range of problems including legal issues, parenting and health. Many providers also give employers the option to add face-to-face counselling sessions for employees.

The costs tend to be fairly low; about £14 per employee for a comprehensive plan and £2-3 for telephone-based support only. When an employee is in dire straits, having this service on-hand is of enormous benefit.

In some cases simply having someone to talk to can prevent an employee going off sick. Or, if they do need some time away, the counselling or advice services can bring them back to work more quickly.

Financial Education

Financial pressures impact every age group. However, they are particularly pressing for millennials who are combating high levels of student and personal debt along with inflated rent and low income. All without the life experience to help counteract these pressures.

Other employee groups may also have financial concerns, particularly if they’re saving to buy a house, starting a family or approaching retirement.

Many businesses now offer financial education programmes that help employees find ways to manage their money better. This puts people in control and reduces their stress levels.

Depending how far you want to go, you may decide to provide flexible benefits packages that can be used to direct money to where individual’s most need it.

For example, instead of automatically sending any additional pension contribution (on top of the auto-enrolment minimum) direct to pension schemes, you could:

  • give employees the option to direct this money to a savings pot
  • send it off to pay off a student loan
  • or add it to salary to increase income while saving ahead of the birth of a child for example

This kind of flexibility will provide options that will help all employees address their financial concerns.

Flexible Working

Once upon-a-time, flexible working was a standout employee benefit. But today it’s a must-have for modern businesses. Consider how you could find ways to enable staff to fit work around their lives. This could include offering flexitime or giving people the option (and technology) to work from home

Duvet Days

Ever woken up and felt like you needed to stay in bed all day? That’s exactly why duvet days exist. This benefit allows employees to call in, or book ahead, to take a day off in addition to their holiday allowance.

This permits employees to rest mind and body while you get a refreshed employee back at work with their head in the right place.

Culture

You can have the most supportive policies in the world but if employees don’t feel able to use them they won’t benefit anyone. Ensuring your business operates a caring culture that places employee well-being ahead of the business will ensure your business succeeds.

A Final Word From Mary Queen of Shops on Personal Stress

Mary Portas, business expert and agency founder, says that to be successful:

“Businesses have to be kinder … Tomorrow’s businesses will be built on collaboration and understanding, and people will bring their whole selves to work, and not aim for profit at all costs.”

This means that trying to ignore your employees wider lives – and the stresses within them –  will have negative implications for your organisation.

So, take a long hard look at your personal stress management practices and see what else you could do to completely support your employees.

For HR support that will help you take care of your staff and support organisational performance, contact Crosse HR on 0330 555 1139 or at hello@crossehr.co.uk.