I find it truly amazing that according to a recent Canadian Study by Psychometrics (2011), 69% of the HR professionals polled answered Yes to the question of “is employee engagement a problem in your organization?” Even more astonishing is the fact that while companies know engagement is an issue over 55% of companies does not even look at measuring employee engagement. Further to that nearly 60% of all companies do not even try to address the issue of employee engagement. Another fact to draw out is that nearly 95% of companies do not even offer training to management on employee engagement. Companies are going to have to compete for “human resources” over the next 10 – 20 and extrinsic motivators such as salary is not going to be enough.
Moreland (2013) points out from Gallup (2013) survey that points that companies which engage employees have far better Key Performance Indictors then organizations that have a high rate of disengagement among employees. Here is the list of KPI and showing percentages of how they affect higher engagement within an organization.
* 37% lower absenteeism * 25% lower turnover (in high-turnover organizations) * 65% lower turnover (in low-turnover organizations) * 28% less shrinkage * 48% fewer safety incidents * 41% fewer patient safety incidents * 41% fewer quality incidents (defects) * 10% higher customer metrics * 21% higher productivity * 22% higher profitability
Moreland (2013) points out in Tower Watson(2012) study, five key areas that can help increase employee engagement:
1. The organization is the most powerful influencer of employee engagement. In other words, the structure of management systems and processes heavily affect the level of a worker’s interest in his or her job
2. There is no single “right model” for a high-performance culture; the most effective approach depends on an organization’s strategic priorities. We all should avoid a “one-size-fits-all” approach to influencing workplace attitudes; obviously how a corporation like Apple manages its culture is going to be different from how a company like J.C. Penney does things. Which may be one reason why this didn’t work out too well.
3. Employees are eager to invest more of themselves to help the company succeed, but want to understand what’s in it for them. If workers feel they have no road to advancement or achievement, that’s a big turn-off when it comes to engagement. What’s the point in trying harder if there’s no end game in sight? Who wants to play a game where there’s no way to win?
4. Senior leaders need to make the leap to a more inspirational and engaging style of leadership to help drive higher engagement. The more management makes an honest and meaningful effort to connect and motivate workers, the more workers will feel connected to the company and its goals. When, instead, orders are just sent down willy-nilly without explanation, employees feel like disposable cogs in a machine.
5. Companies need to understand their employees as well as they understand their customers to design a work environment and experience that will drive higher engagement and performance. It’s not at all unfair to view your employees as “customers.” You motivate customers to buy more by engaging with them and anticipating their wants and needs. Well, it’s not much different with those you manage; you motivate your staff to achieve at a higher level through the same process.
Moreland (2013) states that, “a big secret of success for any relationship, personal or professional, is to personally demonstrate a high degree of caring about the other person. To some in management, the fact that their workers get a paycheck from the company is the beginning and the end of any consideration they deserve. That attitude, however, ends up turning off employee enthusiasm–as well as ultimately harming the bottom line.”
Strategically companies need to stop thinking short term and start thinking long term. If you are a leader and are not fostering and championing engagement within your company, why would your employees want to be engaged? Do we want to foster what Parahia(2013) calls True loyalty, or would you prefer to continue with Mercenary Loyalty, where your employees would leave you in a heartbeat if someone offered them more money. The choice of engagement over the long term, will allow companies to reap better benefits and higher profits over the long haul then those competitors that refuse to believe employee engagement is important.
Gallup(2013) ‘State of the American Workplace’ [Online]. Available at: http://www.gallup.com/strategicconsulting/163007/state-american-workplace.aspx (Accessed: 8/7/13)
Moreland, J. (2013) ‘The cost of ignoring employee engagement’ [Online Blog]. Fast Company:Leadership, 01 May, Available at: http://www.fastcompany.com/3009012/the-costs-of-ignoring-employee-engagement (Accessed 8/20/2013)
Paharia, R. (2013) ‘Loyalty 3.0: How to revolutionize Customer and employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification’. Mcgraw Hill: NY, NY. Available to purchase at: http://www.amazon.com/Loyalty-3-0-Revolutionize-Engagement-Gamification/dp/0071813373/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376661782&sr=8-1&keywords=Loyalty+3.0
Psychometrics (2011) ‘Control, Opportunity & Leadership’ [Online]. Available at: http://www.psychometrics.com/docs/engagement_study.pdf (Accessed: 8 Aug. 2013)
Tower Watson (2012)’Global Workforce Study’ [Onilne]. Available at: http://www.towerswatson.com/Insights/IC-Types/Survey-Research-Results/2012/07/2012-Towers-Watson-Global-Workforce-Study (Accessed: 20 August 2013)