Towers Perrin and the Global Employee Engagement Gap

Towers Perrin issued their 2007-2008 Global Workforce Study: Closing the Engagement Gap earlier this year. This comprehensive survey of 90,000 employees from mid- to large-sized organizations in 18 countries across all global regions measured the level of engagement of employees and the impact of their engagement on company performance. Just look at exhibit 2A to see the dramatic bottom-line impact engaged employees can have.

Towers Perrin found a significant engagement gap, which it describes as: "the difference between the discretionary effort that employers need for competitive advantage and employers' ability to elicit this effort from a significant portion of their workforce."

I encourage you to download the entire report to gain the full benefit of the research findings and recommendations. Following are a few gems that resonated with me.

Role of Senior Management in Engagement

"An engaged workforce starts at the top -- and ends in the C-suite as well. Without engaged leadership, an engaged workforce is virtually impossible."

The same is true with strategic recognition programs, which are themselves an excellent tool to foster increased employee engagement. Success is predicated on executive buy-in and sponsorship of the program throughout the company.

"Senior management's ability to demonstrate genuine interest in employees is the top engagement driver globally.”

Employees need to be noticed, recognized and appreciated for their efforts. This is clearly a universal human need regardless of global location or culture. Showing interest can be demonstrated in so many ways – acknowledging performance, appreciating effort, even just saying thank you for a job well done. But clearly many are failing to follow even such simply steps.

Current State of Engagement

"Only one out of every five workers today is giving full discretionary effort on the job, and this 'engagement gap' poses serious risks for employers because of the strong connection between employee engagement and company financial performance."

I’ve blogged frequently about the astounding impact of engagement, with happy employees returning upwards of 1,000% return for shareholders. So how do you achieve the engagement needed?

Tips for Engagement

"Organizations need to customize and shape the work environment and culture to match their unique basis for competitive advantage, tangibly aligning workforce strategies with business priorities." Also, "An organization's culture and workplace practices must actively drive the employee behaviors needed to deliver on its strategy and reflect its competitive focus."

What better way to do that than by tying strategic recognition efforts to the company values, causing employees to be recognized specifically for behaviors and actions that reflect the company values and help achieve the mission?

Doing so effectively changes your company’s social architecture to a culture of appreciation, fostering the employee engagement levels for bottom-line success.

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