Employee Engagement & Productivity in a Recession

I ended last week discussing Towers Perrin’s new book Closing the Engagement Gap – How Great Companies Unlock Employee Potential for Superior Results. and reiterated the importance of remaining focused on increasing employee engagement during this recession.

Last month the Engage Group came out with quite interesting results from a survey of more than 23,500 company directors and employees. The research shows:
Effective engagement can demonstrably improve an organisation’s performance.

Most boardrooms see engagement as a key priority for the future and net investment in engagement is set to grow, even in the current economic environment.

Despite growing board support for engagement, most employees still feel disengaged from their organisation – board buy-in has not yet, according to employees, been translated into action.

Internal measurement lags behind external measures of performance – only 28% of board members claim to use robust internal measures of employee engagement.

These findings fascinate me. This “largest ever UK employee engagement survey” shows clearly show the value of engagement to company performance and the stated commitment of company directors to engagement efforts, yet little follow through on those commitments down to the employee level.

As Julie Gebaur, one of the author’s of the Towers Perrin book, recently said in the Closing the Engagement Gap Blog:
“When a company’s leaders and managers pull the right levers, employees respond with the willingness and ability to go the extra mile to help the company succeed. If the levers aren’t pulled, the potential for engagement lies dormant.”

The levers clearly are not being pulled in many UK organizations. One reason may be that there is little internal measurement of performance. Using the principles of programs such as Six Sigma, what gets measured gets done. For engagement initiatives to actually lead employees to give more discretionary effort – become more engaged – senior leaders need to do more than set engagement as a priority. They must also set the metrics for success in their own organizations.

What’s the level of commitment to engagement among your directors? What’s the reality among your employees? What are you doing to help “pull the levers?” Share your insights in comments.

1 comment(s):

At April 16, 2009 5:56 AM, Clive Lewis said...

The importance of understanding your customer/client relationships as the economy tightens

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