Top companies show engagement despite pay freezes
The best companies in the UK are managing to demonstrate staff engagement despite reduced or frozen pay, according to the compilers of the Best Companies accreditation list.
The Best Companies list, which surveyed more than 276,000 employees at 1086 organisations, found that the overall proportion of employees engaged was 69.3 per cent - slightly fewer than in 2009 when the figure was 70.9 per cent.
The numbers saying that they were given a "fair deal" on pay and benefits was also down, by 3.4 per cent, but this negative view of pay deals was not closely correlated to the lower overall engagement score, showing that staff understand that employers are having a tough time, analysts said.
Meanwhile, areas in the survey that showed an improvement were employee feelings about "my company" and their perceptions of their company "giving something back".
Carla Cavanagh, research associate at Best Companies, said: "People are looking at their organisations and thinking - 'I can't get the pay rise I want, but at least what we are doing makes a positive difference to the local community or the environment'."
The important contribution of line managers to engagement and retention was also highlighted.
"In difficult times, the distance between leaders and employees grows, whereas people see their manager every day. They give employees the immediate message, support and clarification of what is going on," Cavanagh said.
Fifty organisations achieved the top billing of three stars, out of 773 who featured on the list.
Construction company Lindum Group, which has 400 staff, was one that achieved three stars despite its sector being hit hard by the recession.
Shook Liu, HR and training adviser, said: "We've done our best to retain people by communicating with and supporting them, because everyone worries about their job. We tell them how the company is doing to try to allay fears of redundancies around the corner. [To prevent job losses] we have also moved people around divisions, retaining them on the books and using their skills in a different division."