Employee Engagement matters
26th May 2020
“People are motivated by different things, though feeling part of something bigger can be a universal driver, particularly in difficult times,” says Cordelia Dolan, Talent Director at Inflexion Private Equity.
Many family businesses have a strong sense of togetherness and loyalty, but this is not guaranteed – and can change over time, particularly in challenging economic landscapes. And just as being related to management can help some to feel more part of the company’s aims, being outside the family unit may make others feel they struggle to ever really fit in.
“People are at the heart of every business, and so management teams of all companies need to attract and then support and retain their most valuable individuals to drive their businesses forward.” The former may be about detective work, but the latter is firmly about engagement. “It is important to provide creative ways of nurturing and retaining valuable people.”
Precisely how to do this is more of an art than a science. “Recognition is important in fostering a feeling of commitment and importance in staff since humans want to be seen. The CEO knowing your name and being grateful for your contribution is huge.”
There may be moments where engaged staff are unhappy – they may disagree with business decisions, or have difficult times – but in the long-term, humans are happier if they feel they are truly part of something. “Engagement breeds passion and in business, that makes for better decisions,” Cordelia explains.
For this reason, ensuring employees, management and the board are aligned and engaged, and this rings particularly true if taking on external support such as minority or majority funding.
Some companies have engagement as a separate pillar within their HR department and monitor it through independent surveys. These can provide crucial data on how people feel about working at the company and can help make relevant changes.
Some invest heavily into the learning and development agenda, with established development teams and training, as well as mentoring programmes, or ensure they have regular meetings with staff, talking about the firm's values and championing wellbeing across the workplace. This may include mental health awareness trainings and regular checks. These can also help to keep everyone on target to achieve their objectives.
Employee engagement is an ongoing journey; offering interesting work challenges and progression is only part of the engagement solution: people need to enjoy coming to work, too.
“A supportive environment with professional opportunities to flourish as well as a bit of fun can have a really positive impact. The social side of work is huge and growing, as the current generation of young professionals tend to place high value on a work-life balance. This, combined with a collegiate leadership style of transparency, can foster a more engaged workforce and better results.”
Inflexion is a mid-market private equity firm, investing in high growth, entrepreneurial businesses with ambitious management teams and working in partnership with them to accelerate growth. Inflexion is working closely with its broad portfolio of companies during this current crisis to help them navigate the significant challenges that all businesses are facing. If you are in need of external funding or support, please feel free to contact the IFB for an introduction to Inflexion.