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July 2019
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Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

In the wake of a report commissioned by the Government blaming the UK’s business leaders for low levels of staff engagement, employers working within local Government are being warned not to use the recession as an excuse for failing to acknowledge the efforts of their employees over the festive period.

The warning comes as new figures released by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) show that almost two thirds (64 per cent) of managers in local Government believe that Christmas parties are important in helping to improve employee engagement.

The survey, of 155 managers, found that a similar number (60 per cent) claimed that the office Christmas party is vital to recognise the hard work of staff undertaken throughout the year. A higher proportion of managers in the sector (72 per cent) also believe end of year celebrations should continue in spite of the recession.

Interestingly, the findings also show that managers working in local government recognise the need for responsible reward and celebration. Asked about public perceptions, an alarming three quarters of managers in the sector agreed that an expensive party could damage their organisation’s reputation. The research also discovered that 64 per cent believe that a ‘team lunch is better than an organisation wide party’.

Commenting on the findings, Ruth Spellman, CMI chief executive, says: -There are too many examples showing that the poor quality of management and leadership in the UK lies at the heart of the disengaged workforce. Our research shows that end of year festivities are clearly still of great importance to the local Government workforce but the survey raises an interesting dilemma for UK organisations. How can employers say ‘thank you’ without incurring the wrath of the wider public? The answer is that employee engagement has never been as important as it is now, but it must come hand-in-hand with a tighter grip around the purse strings.

The results show that local government employers are being cautious about the amount being spent on end of year celebrations. Almost three quarters (74 per cent) indicate they are happy for time to be taken for a Christmas party, but will make no financial contribution. This is a massive increase compared to last year when it was only 47 per cent of employers. A mere 19 per cent have agreed to pay up to £40 per head.

With 76 per cent in the sector arguing that a warm approach to Christmas ‘is good for staff morale’ it is clear, from the survey that organisations will be going some way to improve the reported 42 per cent decline in employee engagement caused by the recession – a figure highlighted in CMI’s Economic Outlook Report, published in Autumn 2009.

Ruth Spellman continues: -The benefits to organisations of employee engagement cannot be understated. A truly engaged organisation can expect to experience high levels of staff loyalty, retention, productivity, innovation and profitability as well as low levels of absenteeism. Given the current economic climate these cannot be ignored as they are the stepping stones towards the future, long-term success of the local Government sector.

Responding to the survey, CMI has developed a micro-site providing more information on how employers can better engage with their workforce.

It can be seen at

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