At this point, it’s well known that an engaged workforce is a productive workforce. Yet, there’s a constant stream of data indicating that most organizations lack this kind of true buy-in from their employees.
To wit, in Gallup’s “2017 State of the American Workplace” report, it was revealed that 70% of workers in the United States are not engaged at work. The same study estimated that this disengagement costs businesses $550 billion a year. Thus, organizations are exhausting all resources to tap into ways to engage their employees.
“More and more organizations are realizing that people are a competitive differentiator,” said Vanessa Brangwyn, chief customer officer at Achievers. “It’s about understanding the role that employees play in our business success. Ensuring that your employees are engaged will result in better customer satisfaction, loyalty and outcomes, which ultimately will drive business and shareholder value. Starting with the employee is super important.”
Achievers, an employee engagement software company, published a report that explored how chief human resources officers at various large organization plan to engage the future workforce. The top priorities for these organizations were to leverage data to drive cultural change, creating more connection in an increasingly digital work environment and to ultimately drive genuine engagement from their employees.
Brangwyn noted that the modern-day employee expects more than a steady paycheck and benefits from their employer. Thus, if organizations can engage them with meaningful work and a mission that aligns with theirs, it’ll translate to better results. In the Achievers’ report, Vanessa Thurston, Samsung’s interim vice president and head of talent management, said the company builds engagement by ensuring employees are clear on the organization’s purpose.
“It’s very business savvy, but it’s also ensuring you know what impact you can have (on employees) and how that helps grow a company exponentially,” Thurston said. “If we continue to make it very clear to individuals that we all play a role (in the success of our company), then it helps to ultimately elevate the strategy and the outcomes.”
Brangwyn also said it’s especially important to leverage data to gain an understanding of employee engagement levels. Although, as Cecilia McKenney, CHRO and senior vice president at Quest Diagnostics noted, it’s important to link that back to the organization’s mission.
“Although technology affords data that yields a plethora of insights about engagement, don’t get lost in the numbers and lose focus on the people,” McKenney said. “Instead, get out and talk with employees through forums. Pay attention to employee comments which can provide even more context to the survey data. The data is the spark of the conversation that leads to insight.”
Regardless of how it’s implemented, the consensus among Achievers’ CHRO panel is that data insights will be a critical factor in helping organizations grow the business in the future.
“Only 16% of HR leaders feel like they’re prepared for this highly digital environment,” Brangwyn said. “So, it’s about taking a moment to really go back and look at their investment strategy and business strategy to try to figure out how to translate that both to the employee perspective and overall corporate objectives. You have to ensure that you’re ready from a technology or infrastructure perspective.”
EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT ROUNDUP
Hand in Hand
Dakota Murphey explains the importance of employee engagement for customer-centric businesses in this article for HR Daily Advisor. Murphey writes that true employee engagement requires a business culture that motivates employees to contribute to an organization’s success, while feeling an enhanced sense of well-being.
Today’s workforce is more diverse than it’s ever been, which can make it difficult to have widespread engagement, writes Deb Davis-Lenane of Business 2 Community. Davis-Lenane delves into how these different generations operate and have a different set of expectations and how organizations can appeal to each.
Learning from the Engaged
In her “Rewarding Reads” blog for WorldatWork, Stephanie Rotondo suggests that the best way to engage your workforce is to learn from employees who are already engaged. In the blog, Rotondo writes that you can look at all the data and try to ascertain the best solution to improve employee engagement, but that’s been done for a while now, and the needle has barely moved. Thus, perhaps the answer is right in front of you and you’ve been so focused on the numbers that you missed it.
Transforming Employee Engagement
Chris McGugan outlines three strategies organizations can deploy to engage their workforce in this piece for Forbes. McGugan writes that employers should celebrate the individual, empower their employees to take ownership of their jobs and to engage the back office.
About the Author
Brett Christie is a staff writer at WorldatWork.