State of Engagement * Bringing Strategy to Concept

Ed Fraunheim wrote an excellent summation of many of the challenges, benefits and techniques for employee engagement in “Commitment Issues” in the November 16, 2009, issue of Workforce Management. Some highlights:

• “If businesses want fired-up, dedicated employees today, they must act boldly. And bold may not be cheap. Real progress on engagement all but requires more investment in people. What’s more, merely papering over the employer-employee disconnect with a few toke programs is unlikely to solve the problem. Instead, what’s needed is a fundamental renewal of the relationship between firm and worker – a connection currently marred by mistrust and anxiety at many companies.”

• “A Gallup study published in August involving about 32,400 business units found that those in the top quartile on engagement had 18% higher productivity, 16% higher profitability and 49% fewer safety incidents compared with those in the bottom quartile on engagement.”

• “A May survey by Watson Wyatt of 1,300 workers at large US employers found that engagement levels for top performers fell close to 25% year over year. Employees overall experienced a 9% drop in engagement year over year.”

• “Employee engagement is one of the top two priorities of human resource leaders for 2010, according to an October survey by research firm the Corporate Executive Board … [who] found that the percentage of employees who are highly disengaged climbed from 8% in the first half of 2007 to 21% in the second quarter of this year.”

• “By and large, though, companies don’t appear to be tackling the engagement issue in a comprehensive way that creates a more inspiring work climate and gives employees what they want.”

These are just a few of the many interesting and important points Ed makes in the article. Conclusions I draw from these points and my own observations with the large, globally distributed organizations we work with: Engagement is plummeting due to the recession and employer actions taken to counteract its effects. Leaders realize the powerful impact truly engaged employees have on the bottom line, they want to create environments that encourage engagement, but they don’t know how to do that comprehensively or strategically. Strategic recognition is a powerful tool for creating a culture of appreciation in which employee engagement flourishes.

4 comment(s):

At December 02, 2009 10:07 PM, Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't a manager aware of the productivity of engaged employees simply say, "You're not engaged. You're not productive. You'd better clean up your attitude, buster, or you're outta here. There's million good people on the street and we'll just hire somebody with a better attitude."

At December 03, 2009 3:20 AM, Saikat Saha said...

I love your blog. Will regularly visit it..Extremely informative!!!!!!!

At December 04, 2009 12:22 PM, Derek Irvine said...

Thanks for the encouraging works Saikat. If you ever would like me to elaborate on anything or address a certain topic, please let me know through the Ask Derek box at the foot of this blog.

At December 04, 2009 12:23 PM, Derek Irvine said...

Anonymous, unfortunately that's precisely what too many managers do. But all that accomplishes is a beaten down workforce with no will or desire to give extra effort. For those who remain, they see the culture they are working in and then also decide the extra effort isn't worth it or that they'd far prefer to work for an appreciative organization that fosters an engaging environment.