A pie chart depicting what makes staff happy would contain a number of segments. Pay would be in the mix, of course, as would job satisfaction, opportunities for career development, feeling valued, and recognition for jobs well done. The relative size each of these slices might surprise many businesses, however, as pay is unlikely be the largest.
I recently came across a staff satisfaction survey from Proclinical which found that found pay is only the 5th most important reason employees in the life sciences industry give for staying in their current job. This was particularly surprising in light of the fact more than half feel they are not paid fairly.
The first, second and third most important things staff identified as making them stick with their current employer are the promise of a challenging and skills relevant role, career development opportunities, and recognition for their achievements.
These findings aren’t limited to the life sciences sector. Oracle’s own Simply Talent research has revealed how important it is to create a work environment where people feel recognised and challenged.
Arguably, this comes down to a strong relationship between line managers and their teams. And yet, across the UK, France, Germany, the Nordics and Benelux this isn’t the case. Forty-two (42%) per cent of employees said that their peers have the most positive impact on their level of engagement. Tellingly, 60 per cent of employees want more proactive engagement from their line managers, suggesting there remains work to be done in building stronger relationship between both parties.
As I’ve said before, traditional management tools like annual appraisals and performance reviews are no longer enough on their own. Both Proclinical’s and Oracle’s research reveal that employees want more regular, personalised line management interaction that fosters career development and makes them feel their contributions to the business are valued. They also want to collaborate and work on interesting initiatives with their peers.
There is a clear role for HR teams in driving this improved engagement by helping to encourage and facilitate stronger, more productive relationships between employees and managers. This is something they have arguably struggled to do until now. Just 3 per cent of employees view HR as having the most positive impact on their level of engagement at work.
While HR’s visibility among employees does not necessarily need to be that high, its role in making people more engaged is substantial. It is the information from HR systems and analytics that provide line managers with the modern tools they need to deliver on workers’ expectations for tailored feedback and guidance.
European business and public sector organisations agree on the link between effective line management and employee engagement. Oracle found that 58% of businesses believe recognising the excellence of individual employees has a strong positive impact and 34% say line management has the greatest role in driving engagement - more than any other business department.
For me, good quality analytics is at the heart of good line management. It is attuned to modern staff engagement methods like pulse surveys - where staff are asked short, snappy questions at frequent intervals to gauge the mood of the moment. Such surveys combined with techniques such as sentiment analysis are certainly a step in the right direction, but modern analytics capabilities are allowing HR to give line managers even deeper insight about their workers’ individual performance, aspirations and needs.
Armed with wide-ranging information from across the business, delivered by HR, line management can appropriately reward, progress and support their staff. And this will in turn help improve the way the entire business performs. Fifty-six (56%) per cent of employees say feeling more engaged at work makes them more productive, and that figures will only be boosted if HR can deliver the right tools and insights to line managers and the wider organisation.