Under the current circumstances the traditional view might be that employees just need to be happy to have a job and shouldn’t complain and just get on with their work. However, in today’s business environment employee engagement is more important than ever before.
Employee Engagement is the extent to which workforce commitment, both emotional and intellectual, exists relative to accomplishing the work, mission, and vision of the organisation. Engagement can be seen as a heightened level of ownership where each employee wants to do whatever they can for the benefit of their internal and external customers, and for the success of the organisation as a whole.
Only 29% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs. These employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. People that are actively engaged help move the organization forward. 88% of highly engaged employees believe they can positively impact on the quality of their organization’s products, compared with only 38% of the disengaged. 72% of highly engaged employees believe they can positively affect customer service, versus 27% of the disengaged. 68% of highly engaged employees believe they can positively impact costs in their job or unit, compared with just 19% of the disengaged. Engaged employees feel a strong emotional bond to the organization that employs them. This is associated with people demonstrating a willingness to recommend the organization to others and commit time and effort to help the organization succeed. It suggests that people are motivated by intrinsic factors (e.g. personal growth, working to a common purpose, being part of a larger process) rather than simply focusing on extrinsic factors (pay/reward).
Employees with the highest level of commitment perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to leave the organisation, which indicates that engagement is linked to organizational performance. For example, at the beverage company of MolsonCoors, it was found that engaged employees were five times less likely than non-engaged employees to have a safety incident and seven times less likely to have a lost-time safety incident. In fact, the average cost of a safety incident for an engaged employee was $63, compared with an average of $392 for a non-engaged employee. Consequently, through strengthening employee engagement, the company saved $1,721,760 in safety costs in 2002. In addition, savings were found in sales performance teams through engagement. In 2005, for example, low-engagement teams were seen falling behind engaged teams, with a difference in performance-related costs of low- versus high-engagement teams totalling $2,104,823.3 (Lockwood).
Managers need to think how they can create an environment in which employees are motivated, enabled and energised to deliver their best performance. Managers need to translate this in: –
- Employer engagement – Employers can stay engaged with their employees by actively seeking to understand and act on behalf of the expectations and preferences of their employees.
- Employee perceptions of job importance – An employee’s attitude toward the job’s importance and the company had the greatest impact on loyalty and customer services than all other employee factors combined.
- Employee clarity of job expectations – If expectations are not clear and basic materials and equipment not provided, negative emotions such as boredom or resentment may result, and the employee may then become focused on surviving more than thinking about how they can help the organisation succeed.
- Regular feedback and dialogue with superiors – Feedback is the key to giving employees a sense of where they’re going, but many organizations are remarkably bad at giving it. What employees really want to hear is ‘Thanks, you did a good job.’ But all the average boss does is hand out a cheque.
- Quality of working relationships with peers, superiors, and subordinates – If employees’ relationship with their managers is fractured, then no amount of perks will persuade the employees to perform at top levels. Employee engagement is a direct reflection of how employees feel about their relationship with the boss.
- Perceptions of the ethos and values of the organization – ‘Inspiration and values’ is the most important of drivers in the Engaged Performance model. Inspirational leadership is the ultimate perk. In its absence, it is unlikely to engage employees.
- Effective Internal Employee Communications – Which convey a clear description of ‘what’s going on’ in the organisation. If you accept that employees want to be involved in what they are doing then you need to explain what is happening in the company. The effect of poor internal communications is seen as it’s most destructive in global organisations.
If you want to talk to Kenneth Buchholtz about Human Resources issues then give him a call at 065 7071933.