State of Employee Engagement 2008: Make It a Priority for Success

BlessingWhite recently issued their 2008 State of Employee Engagement North American Overview. This report found that only 29% of employees are fully engaged and 19% are actually disengaged. One of the strongest bottom-line impacts of employee engagement is reflected in retention and the cost of replacing employees. BlessingWhite found that 85% of engaged employees intend to stay with their current employer through 2008, whereas 29% of disengaged employees do. Some have argued that they don’t want disengaged employees to stay, but the cost of investing in those employees to help them become engaged is far less than the cost replace them entirely.

Key conclusions drawn included the very important “align, align, align.” In the most successful organization, “everyone understands the bigger picture and how they can contribute to the organization’s success.” BlessingWhite suggests starting at the top by aligning the executive team and then communicating “clearly and tirelessly.” Not surprisingly, 28% of disengaged employees (as compared to 13% of engaged employees) said that greater clarity about what the organization needs them to do and why would improve their performance. For the disengaged employee, this clarity around what and why was the biggest factor that could contribute to their improved performance. This is a prime reason why Globoforce advocates tying recognition to behaviors and company values. When employees – even disengaged and typically underperforming employees – are rewarded for efforts that do align with what the company wants (the values), then they will learn and remember far more effectively what the organization needs them to do – and why.

Another key conclusion was to “pay attention to culture” – to build a meaningful culture and then invest in the managers to sustain it. Critically, “make sure that systems and processes work in favor of – and not in contradiction to – the aspired culture.” We advocate establishing a culture of appreciation reinforced by appropriate, timely and frequent recognition. This directly targets BlessingWhite findings that showed 41% of disengaged employees felt their managers recognized and rewarded their achievements. One the easiest ways to help disengaged employees advance along the path of productive engagement is to acknowledge and reward their efforts to show them the way.

And a final key conclusion – “develop a measurement strategy that provides actionable insights.” We introduced to this industry the concept of strategically managing recognition programs and I've blogged on the importance of setting clear objectives and measuring success regularly against those objectives. Only when a measurement strategy is in place can the success of any program be understood in the short or long term.

Where do you stand on the spectrum of engaged to disengaged? Do you feel your manager recognizes your efforts? Do you know what your organization needs to you do and why? If so, how is this clearly communicated to you?

0 comment(s):