Headlines: October 12th, 2009

Public service leaders are unanimous about the need to engage employees, but almost half of them do not know how to do this. This finding comes from a survey of public bodies by MidlandHR, a talent management provider.

The survey showed that despite the recognition that employee engagement affects performance, only 53 per cent understand the level of engagement of their own employees. Part of the reason for this is that 38 per cent admit to not understanding how to engage employees.

When asked about the importance of assessing employee opinion about their organisation, the research found that very few assess it on a regular basis while a disturbing 41 per cent believed it was unimportant. Online surveys were the most common method of measurement used by 50 per cent, while 22 per cent still use paper bound surveys.

Commenting on the research, MidlandHR’s research director, Dr Leslie Bowie said “While this research shows that leaders in the public sector recognise that engaging employees directly affects employee performance, retention rates and overall organisational performance, these organisations are not adequately measuring engagement amongst their employees.”

She added: “In today’s economic climate, when the success or failure of an organisation relies on optimising its people and focusing their performance, organisations should do their utmost to keep their employees engaged, in order to get the best from them. Unless steps are taken to ensure proper employee engagement strategies, employee performance and absence levels will continue to suffer across the public sector.”