Female bosses enhance workforce engagement and motivation

Female bossesAs businesses begin to ease out of recession they are starting to feel more confident in the economy and look at how they can increase spend. But while companies adjust to their new found growth they must ensure that their employees are reassured that they have a voice and, more importantly, are listened to. At Pure, we’ve recently taken a look at the wider impact which employee engagement can have on businesses big and small using an analysis of some key research. This included some illuminating data on gender roles, which included the fact that employees who work for a female manager are 6 percent more engaged, on average, than those who work for a male manager; female employees who work for a female manager are the most engaged, at 35 percent and male employees who work for a male manager are the least engaged, at 25 percent.

According to the ‘Engage for Success’ 2012 report, businesses that  engage and motivate their staff can enjoy up to a two-fold increase in annual net profits. In addition, companies in the top quartile of performers experience 18 per cent higher productivity in terms of employee output; increased customer satisfaction by 12 per cent and – more crucially – a 40 per cent reduction in employee turnover.

One of the primary factors in any business’s ability to scale-up their organisation lies in attracting and retaining professionals with the talent and motivation to help the company achieve its true potential.

As the competition for the very best talent hots up and the cost of retraining new staff rises, engaging with your most promising employees has never been more important.

Finding top talent is a challenging task and retaining those top performers for the long term can be even trickier if they feel undervalued in their work. Fortunately, it would appear that business owners across the UK are doing more to prioritise engagement.

According to data from benefits provider, Edenred, more than half (51 per cent) of organisations across the country plan to alter their employee benefits mix to specifically attract and retain the very best staff.

Deloitte’s recent Culture Human Capital Trends 2015 report also suggests that employee culture and engagement is one of the biggest issues facing growing companies across the globe. Almost nine-in-ten (87 per cent) of business owners surveyed cite it as one of the key challenges to overcome, with over half labelling the issue “very important”.

According to BUPA 2015 data, 85 per cent of employees believe their employer has a responsibility to look after their health and wellbeing. But, at present, two-fifths (40 per cent) of UK-based companies offer no health and wellbeing benefits; which will have certainly contributed to the 131 million working days lost through ill-health that the Office of National Statistics (ONS) recorded in 2013.

By taking inspiration from other large and small businesses, all organisations can be great places to work. Take Google for instance – it encourages employees to develop their skills through research and development time. R&D enables staff to hone their talents on their own projects which, in turn, generate many profitable ideas for Google going forward.

Similarly, Groupon takes on board staff views and opinions by running staff focus groups, encouraging employees to let them know where the business could be doing better to incentivise staff and improve productivity.

Being able to accurately measure employee engagement is another vital step to get a handle on staff morale and productivity. By making sure employee goals are clear and achievable and offering frequent feedback, staff have the motivation and focus to meet their targets.

Internally, conducting regular action plan meetings between line managers is also essential to discuss top performers and adequately reward top performance.

Gallup’s report, ‘State of the American Manager’, also suggests that gender remains a factor in employee engagement levels. Professionals that work for a female line manager are six per cent more engaged, on average, than those who work for a male line manager.

It would seem that female line managers inspire more confidence and engagement in their female colleagues with 35 per cent most engaged, compared with only 25 per cent of males who report to a male line manager.

Earlier this month, a consultation began on government plans to force larger companies with more than 250 employees to reveal the difference between the average pay of their male and female employees.

As the figures above suggest, women are influential in their approach to motivating and focusing a workforce and the government’s consultation could help create further pressure needed for change to drive women’s wages up within growing companies, in line with their male counterparts.

Engaged employees are passionate about the businesses they work for. They are emotionally invested in helping organisations reach their true potential and are proactive and productive in their daily approach.


Gill 1Gill Buchanan is a founding director of Pure and has worked in the recruitment field since 1988. Gill’s experience is broad based and includes eight years of specialist recruitment experience within an international recruitment company including five years working within financial services recruitment in Sydney, Australia.