A New Beacon is Illuminating the Path to Success: Employee Satisfaction and Engagement

  • First Bank
  • 04/26/2024

2024 Family Business Survey Finding: Business priorities for 2024 include employee satisfaction and engagement - this rose 12 points from 2023 to 2024.

In the dynamic landscape of family businesses, where tradition meets innovation, leaders are continually adapting to shifting priorities to maintain their competitive edge. As we stride into 2024, it's evident that beyond the perennial focus on sales, marketing, and growth, a new beacon is illuminating the path to success: employee satisfaction and engagement.

For the second year in a row, the First Bank Center for Family-Owned Businesses commissioned the expert assistance of market research firm, MacKenzie Corporation, a second-generation family business in Orange County, CA, to conduct our 2024 Family Business Survey in order to stay apprised of the specific needs and challenges of family businesses.

According to the 2024 Family Business Survey, this paradigm shift revealed that nurturing a thriving workforce has become a top-tier priority for family business leaders worldwide.

The Current Landscape

From 2023 to 2024, the focus of family business leaders on employees and employee satisfaction increased by significant margins. The most notable changes from the 2023 Family Business Survey are focused on employees. “Employee engagement and satisfaction” rose 12 points as a top priority (23% versus 35%).

It’s no secret that workplace culture and the level of contentment of employees ultimately impacts an organization’s bottom line and ability to grow. However, it can be challenging to create these cultures with a tight labor market, stretched budgets, changing skillset needs, and evolving demands from employees.

The Why Behind the Shift

This shift is occurring on the heels of the “Great Resignation”, when employees retired or left the workforce earlier-than-anticipated amidst the pandemic. In fact, it’s estimated there are 1.5 million fewer people working today than in 2020, so the talent pool is much smaller. In addition, with rising inflation and the cost of goods and services, workers are seeking positions with bigger paychecks.
This year, there is the anticipation of high employee turnover.

“In the current business environment, attracting and retaining top talent can be challenging,” said Maggie
Maggie Curcio, Chief Human Resources Officer, First Bank
Curcio, First Bank’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “It’s important to stay current and offer a benefits and compensation package that is competitive with your counterparts in the industry.” Curcio added that it’s recommended to engage with an internal professional or external firm in the human resources space to ensure your benefits, especially healthcare, and compensation plan is attractive to qualified candidates. Due to healthcare costs and its importance, quality medical insurance still remains one of the most in-demand employee benefits.

Compensation and benefit trends aren’t the only factor to take into consideration. “Consider “lifestyle benefits” to attract and retain talent,” she added, “including, but not limited to, flexible work arrangements, wellness initiatives, professional development opportunities, open concept work spaces for increased collaboration, and fostering a culture of inclusivity and belonging.” These often low or no-cost options are seen as extremely valuable to existing or prospect employees.

“At First Bank, we saw the need to offer our clients and colleagues a new headquarters building in which to thrive and grow,” added Curcio, “as well as the importance and value of shifting permanently to a hybrid work environment.”

To learn more about leadership development, watch the on-demand webinar, “The Fred Factor: Turning Ordinary Leaders Into Extraordinary Leaders”, presented by the First Bank Center for Family-Owned Businesses.

Technology as an Enabler

Enhanced technology plays an important role in enhancing the overall employee experience, increasing productivity, and connectivity, especially in the wake of remote and hybrid work models. As part of the overall mix of employee benefits, updated technology solutions can allow family businesses to streamline processes, facilitate communication, and foster a sense of community among employees.

Challenges and Opportunities

In the pursuit of prioritizing employee engagement and satisfaction, there may be potential obstacles faced by family businesses, such as resource constraints and long-standing cultures of resistance to change. When family businesses are evolving and embracing change-management effectively, however, opportunities for innovation and differentiation arise from embracing this paradigm shift wholeheartedly. Once employees feel valued and an integral part of an organization, they are more motivated to contribute their best work.

Looking Ahead

There’s enduring significance in prioritizing employee satisfaction and engagement as a cornerstone of sustainable success in family businesses. As family business leaders, it’s important to remain agile, proactive, and empathetic in your approach, while recognizing that your greatest asset lies in the strength and dedication of your workforce.

As family businesses navigate the complexities of an ever-evolving marketplace, the spotlight on employee satisfaction and engagement shines brighter than ever before. By embracing innovative strategies, leveraging technology, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, family business enterprises can cultivate a loyal, motivated workforce poised to propel them toward their strategic objectives in 2024 and beyond.

Ed Hart, Senior Vice President and Director, First Bank Center for Family-Owned Businesses, commented, “As we gain an understanding of the importance of maintaining top talent for our family businesses around the country, the First Bank Center for Family-Owned Businesses continuously strives to create training programs, a symposium, and other resources, not only for family business owners, but for their team members as well. It’s important to us that family businesses do all that they can to not only attract qualified candidates but also to train and retain the best talent possible. We see ourselves as a great resource for these family businesses.”

If you’d like to discuss how the First Bank Center for Family-Owned Businesses can help your family business thrive and grow, visit www.first.bank/familybusiness. We’re here to help connect you with the right resources as you navigate the evolution of employee satisfaction and engagement.

Full findings of the 2024 Family Business Survey are available upon request or can be accessed at www.first.bank/Business/Plan/Center-for-Family-Owned-Businesses/Family-Business-Survey.
To learn more about the First Bank Center for Family-Owned Businesses, our free offerings for family businesses,
contact our Senior Vice President/Director of the First Bank Center for Family-Owned Business Ed Hart at [email protected] or visit www.first.bank/familybusiness.