Company chiefs have been urged to improve the motivation of their staff by offering financial advice during times of economic uncertainty.
A study conducted by Work Life UK on behalf of the Guardian showed 53 per cent of respondents would even turn to fellow workers to secure money guidance.
Fay Goddard of the Personal Finance Society told the news provider that the workplace is a great environment for staff to learn about how they should be organising their finances.
However, she noted that levels of employee engagement in this field differ greatly depending on the size of the corporation.
“There is a huge gap in the SME [small to medium-size enterprise] side. That’s where there is room for education,” she was reported as saying.
A recent Legal & General survey found that just 17 per cent of company bosses take specific measures such as counselling to help workers who are feeling stressed out.
An increasing number of managers are boosting staff motivation by encouraging their workforce to come up with fresh ideas before developing the best ones.
Editorial director and co-chair of the Orange National Business Awards Alex Evans believes positive levels of employee engagement have led to “a culture of innovation”.
He remarked that involving workers in this way and “championing” their work would help increase their loyalty to the firm.
“[They've] engaged staff so that they’ve become prouder employees, which results in better customer service or value,” he remarked.
More businesses across the UK will be in desperate need of new ways to raise the morale of staff, after a recent report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development showed that 58 per cent of public sector worker have seen their pay frozen since the start of 2011.
According to the organisation’s survey of 2,000 people, the average wage has now fallen below the current cost of living.
Almost half of the UK’s public sector workers would rather take a pay cut than have their pension perks changed.
New research conducted by Badenoch and Clark has highlighted the importance of employee benefits to staff, with 45 per cent saying they would prefer a hit in wages.
The depth of feeling over the issue was reiterated as 54 per cent felt their pensions were worth striking over.
One in three London-based public sector workers said that their flexible benefits were far superior to those offered by most private firms.
Managing director at Badenoch and Clark Nicola Linkleter said the public sector is currently “in a state of crisis” and bosses need to take measures to boost staff motivation.
“Employees will remain loyal to their employer so long as they perceive that their employer is committed to its workforce,” she remarked.
Many teachers went on strike over their pensions recently and a study by Wesleyan for Teachers showed that almost nine in ten education professionals saw the packages as a key part of the job.
The importance of offering cost-effective employee benefits packages to staff may have been heightened by news that just one in four workers have had a pay rise this year.
New figures provided by the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) have shown that six per cent of workers have actually seen their salary cut since January.
Workers in the public sector could be in the most need of perks to boost their motivation, as they were found to be the worst affected by wage freezes.
Performance and reward advisor for the CIPD Charles Cotton said inflation was playing havoc with all employees, including those who have seen their pay go up.
“Even those who are lucky enough to get an increase in their pay will find it below the current cost of living, compounding consumer belt-tightening,” he remarked.
A previous CIPD study showed that attitudes among UK workers are shifting, as more are now looking for new jobs that will pay more, rather than searching for roles that will make them happier.
Less than one in five bosses take specific measures to boost the motivation of staff who are feeling stressed out.
This is according to a study conducted by Legal & General, which has suggested just 17 per cent of firms offer support to their workforce.
Improving employee engagement in order to deal with worker tension could turn out to be cost-effective in the long run, as 42,000 people were absent from their jobs in the three months leading up to December 2010 due to stress.
Managing director of Legal & General Group Income Protection Diane Buckley said the lack of provisions on offer is “concerning”.
“These figures show that employers should ensure that good quality support is available in the workplace to help employees,” she remarked.
Boosting communications with pregnant members of staff is particularly important, as a University of Konstanz study recently showed that children of stressed-out mothers can develop certain behavioural traits.
Leading security firm G4S has claimed that it is benefiting from a significant increase in employee engagement – despite the ongoing economic turmoil.
The firm claims that its recent 2011 employee survey, which represents the feelings of G4S’s 625,000 global employees, shows that morale is high – running counter to the trends uncovered at many other global firms.
Speaking to HR magazine about the positive results on the new survey, Sue Pym, employee engagement and brand manager at G4S, said: “We have introduced a number of initiatives to maximise employee engagement since 2009 including a new strategy to provide increased training to develop the skills, knowledge and capability of our front line managers.”
She added that this global training strategy has helped boost morale on both a global and regional level and claimed its success was down to the tailoring of support modules to meet individuals’ needs.
In the UK, Andrew Owen, spokesperson for Our Team 2012, claims that organisation’s services, which provide dietary and exercise tips to workers, will help to boost employee engagement and motivation in the capital during and ahead of the upcoming London Olympics.
A scheme aimed at encouraging companies to show their support for the 2012 London Olympics may help boost employee engagement.
Our Team 2012 has launched the initiative as the countdown to the biggest sporting event in the world continues.
As part of the project, participating firms will be able to receive specialist dietary advice, fitness tips and blogs on the top athletes.
Workers will also have a new Olympic logo attached to their corporate email signatures and part of the company’s website will include a quote from former Olympic rower Matthew Pinsent stating how pleased he is with the support given to the Games.
Spokesperson for the organisation Andrew Owen believes the scheme can aid staff motivation.
“We provide … rich content which can engage with staff and clients and really goes to show and recognise their involvement, because they really do become part of the team,” he remarked.
Although the Games are expected to generally have a positive impact, a study by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry has indicated that 44 per cent of London-based firms are concerned over travel disruptions during the month-long event.
The recession and the changing nature of the UK’s workforce have led to more companies offering employee benefits.
According to senior public policy adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Ben Willmott, employers were forced to become less rigid in their approach in order to maintain staff retention during the recession.
“From the aftermath of the financial crisis, we saw a lot of employers looking at flexible working solutions as a way of keeping people on while reducing working hours,” he remarked.
Mr Willmott also noted that more people are working into their later years, which has meant firms have needed to introduce schemes to ensure older employees are looked after.
In a CIPD study, six out of ten workers claimed to be happy with their work-life balance and said employee engagement levels were generally good.
Research by Virgin Media Business recently suggested that the concept of remote working would boom in the next ten years, as more bosses use the system to boost staff motivation.
A lack of motivation has been cited as a major reason behind figures that showed one in three UK workers have faked illness to take time off work.
Research conducted by PwC has indicated that 61 per cent of those who have feigned sickness said they were disillusioned with their job.
According to the statistics, workers aged between 18 and 34 were the most likely to lie to their bosses about feeling unwell.
With absenteeism costing firms £32 billion each year, more may want to question whether their approach to employee engagement is working.
HR consulting partner at PwC Neil Roden believes that people who take sick leave are often under used, rather than lazy.
“If people are bored and depressed with their jobs, employers need to think creatively how they can get people back in gear,” he remarked.
Companies would be wise to put a stop to fake sickness absence, as a recent study by Aviva showed the increased burden placed on covering staff can cause motivation levels to fall right across the workforce.
Companies may consider offering perks such as private medical insurance as part of employee benefits packages, as a survey revealed that motivation levels decline when workers are off sick.
Research conducted by Aviva has shown that one in four respondents claimed that working for a firm that sees a lot of staff take long-term sick leave “is no fun”.
A further 22 per cent stated that they are overworked when a team member is missing and this is a source of annoyance.
Nearly three-quarters of employees said they would be concerned about returning to work following a lengthy lay-off and 16 per cent remarked that they would not necessarily be able to cope with their duties once they got back.
Head of group risk at Aviva UK Steve Bridger said: “Simply having the right protection in place can greatly reduce the stresses of being ill for both the employee and the employer.”
A recent study conducted by Mercer showed that general levels of morale across UK workforces have declined in the past four years.