The Relationship Between Productivity, Employee Engagement and Training

In my experience, the term “employee engagement” is still not recognised or embraced in the owner managed / private enterprise sector.

I consistently meet business owners who are frustrated that they “have to do it all” i.e. they aren’t getting more from their employees and seem perplexed as to why this might be. In addition, business owners instinctively recognise that they are not as efficient as they should be in their processes (especially in the service sector) and are frustrated by bottle-necks and wasted time, which reflects badly in the P&L in reduced profits, in addition to disheartened, disengaged staff. Business growth is hampered or stalled completely.

Cutting to the chase, here is the answer, uncovered in my recent conversation with one of those frustrated entrepreneurs:

“If you accept engaged, productive and energetic employees untimately provide a commercially & culturally sustainable business, ask yourself what do engaged employees look like – what behaviours do they demonstrate?”

“well….they show initiative”
“which comes from…….”

“feeling motivated to do so”
“Okay – to feel motivated and feel safe to use their own initiative what freedoms do they need to have?”

“I guess we need to give them some responsibility?”
“Great – specifically what does that look like?”

“Let them make their own decisions”
“Good – what stops you letting them make their own decisions”

“I’m not confident that they have the capability or technical competence to do so”
“Yup, I can understand that……..what would give you comfort that they are capable and competent?”

“Identify their training needs”

“Absolutely – training provides competency, which gives you the confidence to divest some decision making, which in itself is very motivating to your employees, encouraging them to use their initiative, which creates engagement – when employees are engaged their levels of discretionary effort, productivity & energy increase which impacts positively on your bottom line and your employees emotional attachment to your company”.

For a number of years, Brian Butler of Accelerate Ltd and I have been working with service sector companies, through the SE Business Improvement Academy, and are still blown away with the productivity benefits (both commercial and cultural) they uncover for their organisations, through their chosen projects. Hats off to their leaders who have recognised that by committing their staff to this particular training programme, not only leads to clear and measurable organisational & personal benefits, but boosts engagement considerably.

In my experience, I still see too many businesses classifying training as a cost and not recognising training as an investment. Perhaps by taking a wider view (as shown in the diagram above), owners can see investing in the right kind of training builds employees first, who can then build the business.


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Graeme Clark – Managing Director Scot Serve Ltd
“Further to an exciting journey through the Help to Grow Scheme and whilst on the hunt for a Management Consultant to allow us to implement some radical changes, we were recommended the team at Harrison James. After a meeting and an open and honest discussion, the deal was agreed and we’ve been working with both Roy and Jim for around nine months now. With a new drive, desire and aspirations to triple the company t/o and importantly, improve the structural aspect of the business, Roy and Jim came up with a tailored strategy to help us look at what is at the heart of strong and vibrant company. Learning, building and agreeing the core aspects behind our culture and functional goals were set as an initial target to a longer-term output. The learnings and implementation that have included everyone has been incredible. Very informative and of course fun along the way with our team fully engaged in the process. We have built a five-year plan centred around the core values we have established as a team and have begun the job of implementing a solid functional structure and set of processes to ensure all facets of our company are managed and that nothing is ever missed. We always leave the sessions feeling motivated and enthusiastic about the part we each play in driving our business forward and know we are on a proven path to success based on the strategies HJ have shared. We would absolutely recommend the team at Harrison James to any business that is serious about implementing change for the betterment of the company and those within it.”
Zoe Edmeades – Managing Director The Security Company Ltd
“I highly recommend Harrison James Partnership. From the moment I met Roy, he was able to quickly assess our business needs and provide actionable advice to help us achieve our goals. Even after just one session, I had a much clearer understanding of what we needed to do to move the business forward. Harrison James Partnership’s expertise and guidance have been invaluable, and I am already seeing positive results from implementing his suggestions. Taking the time to focus on the business with Roy's help has been one of the best decisions I have made, and I look forward to continuing to work with him in the future.”
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