Employee engagement has been on the agenda of most managers ever since the explosive report published last year by Pew Research revealed that just 13% of American employees were engaged at work. A recent survey from Aon Hewitt highlights just how negative this trend is in terms of productivity and performance.
Indeed, the survey data suggests that companies with an engaged workforce tend to outperform their peers by 6 percent on average. The survey underlined the importance of trying to create an engaged workforce and its impact upon the bottom line of the company. The report suggested that an engaged workforce tends to be supported by three core drivers:
- That the organisation takes an interest in the wellbeing of their employees.
- That they provide employees with an employer they can be proud of.
- That they provide clear opportunities for progression and development.
So how can companies go about creating such an environment? The report provides a number of strategies for managers to try.
- Salary should not be underestimated. The survey highlighted how important salary remains to support an engaged workforce. Indeed, for millennials included in the report, it was their most important thing. The report underlines the value in doing this, with any extra investment in salary tending to pay off in terms of increased profitability. Not only are engaged staff more productive and innovative, but they also tend to leave much less often, thus reducing staff turnover costs significantly.
- Strive to maintain the employee value proposition (EVP). The survey revealed that despite the pessimistic data from Pew, most employees are actually quite positive about their employer and want to increase their performance levels. Despite this, however, it should not be taken as a given that this will translate into higher retention levels. It is nonetheless a sign of a reasoanbly engaged employee. Other telltale signs include a desire to be active in the organisation and a commitment to organisational success.
- People want to improve and progress. In line with a host of other studies, the AonHewitt survey reinforced the key role professional development plays in supporting an engaged workforce. Despite the plethora of prior evidence, the survey suggests that many organisations still have a long way to go on this. It reminds managers that they should provide some very clear opportunities for development and a culture that people want to work in. Just as with a sports team, employees want to work with the best, so recruiting talented individuals as well as developing existing employees is fundamental to an engaged workforce.
Whilst the report doesn’t provide much that hasn’t been said before, it does nonetheless reinforce the message that investing in the engagement of your workforce does pay off in the productivity and profitability of your organisation. The AonHewitt data provides some clear indications about where managers should focus their attention if they want to achieve that.
How does your own organisation do on these things? Do you regard yourself as an engaged employee? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.