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One-Third of UK Employees Say Knowing What’s Required of Them is a Priority

May 23rd 2018

Our latest Employee Engagement and Satisfaction Benchmark data is here. Which UK sectors are the least engaged, and what are priorities for staff satisfaction?

The most recent insights to emerge from our Employee Satisfaction Benchmarking Survey indicate that 36% of UK employees, across a broad range of sectors, believe that ‘understanding what is required of you’ is the most important aspect of their job role.

Improving and measuring employee engagement is now a business priority for many business leaders and managers, due to the positive influences it has on business outcomes, including innovation, profit, increased productivity, and customer satisfaction, as well as creating an effective talent pool.

Our statistics offer fresh insight into the factors impacting employee engagement and satisfaction in the UK, with figures indicating that ensuring employees understand the tasks they need to fulfil is the most crucial engagement attribute for many. While intrinsic to beginning any job role, this also underlines the importance of consistent communication or performance expectations and how they relate to KPIs. This ensures that employees understand exactly what they need to do to receive their salary, meet their goals and targets, and achieve staff recognition awards and bonuses.

Sector Focus: Where are UK Employees Least Engaged?

TTi’s Employee Benchmark report reveals specific engagement attributed most important to staff working within each industry sector.

In the Utilities sector, ‘understanding job role requirements’ is a priority for 44% of employees, followed by 40% in Retail, and 40% in the Public Sector.

As industries renowned for being under pressure to meet local and national performance targets, this may explain why understanding their employer's expectations is such a high priority for staff.

In the Banking and Hotel and Leisure sectors, the top engagement factor stated by employees was ‘flexibility in the role’, with almost half of all employees in Banking (44%) and Hotel and Leisure (43%) citing flexibility as the most important engagement factor, reflecting the value placed by staff on having non-fixed start and finish times – particularly in industries with unsocial shift patterns.

Breakdown of Primary Engagement Attributes by Sector…

Breakdown of Primary Employee Engagement Attributes by Sector

TTi Global’s survey results also reveal that Utilities employees are the least engaged in the UK. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being high engagement and 1 being low engagement), Utilities employees scored 7.2. The most highly engaged sector employees work in Telecommunications (8.8), followed closely by Banking employees (8.7).

Download the full survey for free here.

The Generation Engagement Gap

In line with TTi’s previous benchmarking results, the latest findings indicate that the lowest levels of employee engagement exist amongst those aged 16-24. On the same 1-10 scale, 16-24-year olds gave an overall score of 7.9 – compared to the 25-34-year age group with the highest level of engagement (9.1).

Engagement levels of young workers vary greatly depending on their sector of employment. Utilities ranked lowest again among this age group (5.3), followed by retail (8.2). The sectors scoring highest amongst this age group were Banking (9.0) and Mobile Telecommunications (8.5).

For the more engaged 25-34 age group, results show engagement was highest among those working in Telecommunications (9.2), followed by the Medical sector (8.8). Interestingly, employees in this age group providing the lowest engagement scores, were also working in Utilities.

Experience Vs Satisfaction

Considering all their experiences, the age group most satisfied in their current job role were also 25-34 year olds (9.0), compared to 45-50-year olds who provided the lowest satisfaction score of 7.6.

Respondents working in the Hotel and Leisure sector reported the lowest levels of job satisfaction (6.8) with Utilities not far ahead (7.04). With low scores such as these for employee engagement and satisfaction, Utilities providers would benefit from further research examining their employee engagement drivers. Employees who are engaged deliver higher levels of customer service which, in turn, leads to increased sales and referrals. In such a competitive marker – where customers base their choices largely on the service they receive – energy, water company leaders would be advised to review and improve their employee experience in order to nurture more customer-focused behaviours.

Engagement by Sector for Age Group

Employee Engagement by Sector for Age Group

Download the full survey for free here.

Improving Employee Engagement

Employee engagement isn’t necessarily connected with how happy an employee is, more with the degree to which the employee feels connected emotionally to their role and the company they work for.

Engaged employees are likely to see their job as more than just a vehicle for paying bills, but something to be passionate about, and speak positively about outside of the workplace. TTi’s 30 years’ experience of conducting global employee research and staff surveys show that high staff engagement is linked directly to high customer satisfaction. If you can find and fulfil your employees’ engagement drivers, you unlock the key to an intensely productive, customer-pleasing team.

5 Ways to Fast-Track your Employee Engagement Today

  • Define and Live by your Company Values: A common mistake among companies is to offer employees short-term activities and perks to stimulate engagement – such as Dress-Down Fridays or social events. Improving employee engagement requires a step-change in behaviour which starts at the top and identifies and embeds core company values which staff care about and will enthusiastically endorse. Leaders need to ‘walk the talk’ and embody these values – eg. If your core message is ‘valuing your people’, this needs to be evident across the work environment, everywhere from HR to the mailroom.
  • Hire the Right People: When you align your company’s hiring strategy with its core values, you will help to on-board people who inspire and bring out the best in others. Along with conventional interviewing techniques, consider bringing candidates in to see how they work with other team members and how they approach challenges.
  • Personal and Professional Development: Letting talented employees stagmate in the same position month after month saps motivation. When left alone for long enough, they’ll soon be looking elsewhere. Recognising talent and providing learning opportunities to help employees grow personally and professionally, increases job satisfaction, morale and productivity, enhancing your reputation as a good employer and helping attract and retain top talent.
  • Drop the Divide: A culture of ‘them versus us’ is toxic for the growth of any business. Dropping that divide starts with initiating friendly dialogue with staff, and asking for their input and involvement. This could be as simple as scheduling a team meeting to discuss the work culture in an honest, respectful way, or starting an internal communications forum for people to raise positive or negative issues with managers. When employees feel they are valued, listened to and fed back to in an open, non-critical, way, engagement will follow.
  • Employee Pulse Surveys: Nurturing a successful employee engagement strategy requires both staff and managers to work together to develop something that both parties can champion, but it can be difficult to know where to start – particularly where relationships might be strained. An effective and quick way to star cultivating employee engagement is implementing a regular employee engagement pulse survey. Pulse surveys are shorter than traditional staff surveys, comprising between 5-10 questions. As they are so quick to complete, they can be issues as often as once a week. Pulse surveys are a litmus test of employee satisfaction, providing managers with a tool to gather honest feedback, monitor staff engagement, and respond to dips and improvements quickly.

Get the Staff Insight you Need

If your goal is to improve your company’s employee engagement, or to find out more about TTi Global’s employee benchmarking data, you can contact us, or download the full survey for free.