Research has proven time and again that creating an energized environment in which employees want to go above and beyond the call of duty, where they feel connected to the big picture, will directly and significantly impact organizational performance. Management consultants call it employee engagement, and it’s increasingly becoming a top priority in executive suites across the country.
In fact, a recent study by Towers Perrin, a leading human resource consultancy, found that companies with higher employee engagement outperform those with lower employee engagement, relative to industry benchmarks. Yet, of the 86,000 employees worldwide who participated in the study, only 14% were highly engaged, and almost 25% were actively disengaged. Equally interesting is the fact that the longer an employee is with a company, the less engaged he or she becomes.
So, in what areas is your organization succeeding and falling short when it comes to employees feeling highly engaged,? and behaving accordingly? Only an employee survey specifically designed to measure both emotional and rational engagement factors will reveal those answers. Such a survey,? which is a bit different than a standard employee satisfaction survey,? will reveal how employees feel about learning and skill development opportunities, appropriate levels of influence on decision making, recognition and rewards for outstanding performance, the reputation of the company as a good employer, a focus on customer satisfaction, collaboration with coworkers, and much more.
The specific drivers,? and where they rank on the scale of importance,? will vary from one company to another, as will effective strategies for moving moderately engaged employees into the highly engaged category. We typically recommend that an organization start with a quantitative study that surveys all employees,? typically via e-mail to provide a stronger assurance of anonymity. After analyzing those results to reveal the areas in need of serious improvement, it may be worthwhile to then conduct qualitative employee focus groups designed to explore potential strategies for achieving those improvements.
Certainly, creating a highly engaged workforce takes serious commitment. Senior management must champion what is sure to be a long-term effort that may even entail difficult cultural changes. But, unquestionably, the organizations that invest in maximizing employee engagement are much more likely to enjoy handsome returns across the performance spectrum,? including retention, growth, profit, competitiveness, and innovation.