Your people are your greatest asset, yet 50% of employees in Scottish SMEs feel ‘under-utilised’. Here’s how to make the most of your staff and make a difference to your business.
- In a nutshell
- What's the business benefit?
- Why is this included in the Scottish Business Pledge?
- Why is this good for Scotland?
- What should I do now?
- What help is available if I can’t make the commitment right now?
Half of the staff in most Scottish SMEs say they are ‘under-utilised’. They feel they could make a bigger contribution to the success of the business. Simply by investing in your workforce, you can create new energy in business. By engaging your employees in decision-making, you can access real experience.
Innovating Works provides resources and tools to help you think about workplace innovation in your business – harnessing the potential of your people, building capacity and capability and making the most of your relationships, both internal and external. You’ll also find a Workplace Innovation Tool that can support you in thinking about areas of opportunity and improvement in your business.
There is a clear link between how you use your people, skills and talent and business performance. By accessing and fully utilising all the talents in your organisation, you can boost your competitiveness.
According to research organisation Gallup’s “Global Workplace” survey in 2014, the most engaged employees beat their less engaged co-workers hands down:
- Productivity and profitability were up over 20%
- Absenteeism was down by 37%
- Safety incidents were reduced by almost 50%
- Staff turnover reduced by 65%
These global findings are echoed in the Scottish Government’s “Working Together” review (2014) which showed strong evidence on the benefits associated with progressive workplace policies, including improved innovation, productivity, health and safety, sick leave levels and morale.
Having an engaged workforce drives innovation, competitiveness and productivity – all necessary to improve Scotland’s overall economic performance.
Most employees within the UK feel they lack the opportunity to challenge themselves at work: to learn and solve problems. Working in an environment where they are encouraged to do so is motivational and empowering.
Currently, only 25% of UK employees report having jobs which “give scope to learn and problem solve” while the EU average is 39% (EWCS, 2012). The figure for Denmark is 60%; for the Netherlands 64%.
Along with innovation and internationalisation, improved productivity is an engine of economic growth for Scotland. By building a wealthier, fairer society, making the most of workplace talents brings clear benefits to business, to workers, families and communities.
Creating employment where people feel useful and valued doesn’t just make economic sense. At a personal level too, work is an important factor in our idea of ourselves.
It contributes hugely to our sense of purpose in life, and of our place in the world. It generates confidence and in turn, this connection between good work and well-being supports our social relationships and helps protect our physical and mental health.
We recognise that arrangements for workforce engagement and development will vary from business to business, depending on size, sector and a range of other factors.
All you have to do is detail the effective ‘best practice’ modern management systems and progressive policies which you have in place. These may include:
- a robust ‘people plan’ for your business, directly linked to achieving your business objectives;
- a progressive approach to using the skills in your workplace in the most effective ways
- employee engagement systems, including working closely with trade unions
- systems or practices which support the health and well-being of your employees, or foster a family-friendly workplace.
Other models exist, for example, the Construction Industry Training Board’s Be Fair framework.
Also, by establishing a payroll deduction scheme with a credit union you could be helping your workforce to take control of their finances. Credit unions provide a range of saving accounts and loan products to suit individual needs.
For advice on modern management style and developing a sustainable business plan for growth, speak to your local Business Gateway office. You can find details for its local offices on the Business Gateway website.
For advice on developing more progressive leadership, management and organisational development practices, including a focus on the organisation of work, culture change, and lean management please contact Scottish Enterprise or Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Investors in People Scotland deliver advice and assessment which encourages employers to adopt and develop good practice in the way in which people are led, managed and developed. To find out more about its programmes for effective employee engagement, visit the Investors in People Scotland website.
A healthy integration between home and work life provides benefits for employees, and employers. Creating a family friendly workplace leads to increased employee engagement, motivation and productivity alongside improved recruitment and retention. Family Friendly Working Scotland supports employers to develop family friendly workplaces. For information about developing a family-friendly environment at work, visit Family Friendly Working Scotland or the Working Families.
To find a credit union visit Scotland’s Financial Health Service website.
The SCER/Innovating Works research team at the University of Strathclyde have a strong track record in working with employers, and an online tool to assess innovative and transformative workplace practice (the FITwork tool). From today they will provide a free voluntary service to help Pledge businesses develop a company-specific workplace innovation plan and make connections to sources of additional support and advice. If you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Carer Positive is another initiative employers might want to consider – see their website for full details.