CEOs and managing directors (MDs) in UK businesses fail to engage with their workforces, with infrequent and impersonal communication negatively impacting on dissatisfied workers motivation, according to new research commissioned by Totem.
With just 10 per cent of workers completely satisfied in their jobs, the study reveals a severe lack of visibility of business leaders, with 74 per cent of workers never seeing their CEO or MD in their own workplace and almost a third (31 per cent) have never met them. Almost half (48 per cent) of workers describe their CEO/MD as distant or remote and only 16 per cent say they are ‘inspiring’.
The full findings of the survey, carried out with 1,000 UK workers in multi-site organisations of 1,000+ employees, are presented in a new Totem report ‘Changing perceptions: the current state of employee engagement’.
Other key findings from the report highlight the lack of real engagement between business leaders and workers:
Only 21 per cent of CEOs or MDs make a point to speak with staff and a huge 87 per cent of workers rely on annual appraisals to share ideas and views with the business.
Business leaders use email to broadcast news to the workforce simultaneously (61 per cent) rather than interact on a more personal one-to-one basis (12 per cent). In contrast to management’s distance, employees actually want to engage with the wider business, as 55 per cent want better ways to recognise colleagues, 33 per cent want to build better relationships with colleagues outside of their teams and around a quarter (22 per cent) desire more opportunities to meet with senior leaders.
Marcus Thornley, founder of Play Consulting, comments, ‘Current approaches to employee engagement are woefully outdated, with business leaders relying on formal and infrequent ways to speak ‘at’ rather than ‘with’ the workforce. In contrast, today’s employees want the opportunity to actively engage with the business and know that senior management is taking notice.
‘By fostering a two-way working environment, business leaders can unlock extra discretionary effort from teams that are inspired and motivated to improve business and individual performance.’