Friday, January 20, 2012

How Do You Engage With, Retain and Motivate Employees?

Engagement is big in the HR consultancy market, yet there is a dearth of academic research in this area. We believe that engagement is more than a passing fad – it brings clear business benefits. Raising engagement levels, and maintaining them, takes time, effort, commitment and investment – it is not for the half-hearted.

What is engagement?

A clear view of the behaviors demonstrated by the engaged employee are:
  • belief in the organization
  • desire to work to make things better
  • understanding of business context and the "bigger picture"
  • respectful of, and helpful to, colleagues
  • willingness to "go the extra mile"
  • keeping up to date with developments in the field.
Engagement has clear overlaps with the more exhaustively researched concepts of commitment and organizational citizenship behavior, but there are also differences. In particular, engagement is two-way: organizations must work to engage the employee, who in turn has a choice about the level of engagement to offer the employer.

Engagement is defined as:

A positive attitude held by the employee towards the organization and its values. An engaged employee is aware of business context, and works with colleagues to improve performance within the job for the benefit of the organization. The organization must work to develop and nurture engagement, which requires a two-way relationship between employer and employee.

Measuring engagement:

Below are some sure signs of an engaged employee.
  • a positive attitude towards, and pride in, the organization
  • belief in the organization’s products/services
  • a perception that the organization enables the employee to perform well
  • a willingness to behave altruistically and be a good team player
  • an understanding of the bigger picture and a willingness to go beyond the requirements of the job.
Engagement challenges

Levels can vary, in association with a variety of personal and job characteristics and with experiences at work. Some key observances are:
  • engagement levels decline as employees get older – until they reach the oldest group (60 plus), where levels suddenly rise, and show this oldest group to be the most engaged of all
  • minority ethnic respondents have higher engagement levels than their white colleagues
  • managers and professionals tend to have higher engagement levels than their colleagues in supporting roles, although people in the latter group appear to owe greater loyalty to their profession than to the organization in which they practice their craft
  • engagement levels decline as length of service increases
  • having an accident or an injury at work, or experiencing harassment (particularly if the manager is the source of the harassment) both have a big negative impact on engagement
  • employees who have a personal development plan, and who have received a formal performance appraisal within the past year, have significantly higher engagement levels than those who have not.
The above statements demonstrate that you need to work hard to prevent, and minimize the impact of, bad experiences. Companies also need to ensure that employees’ development needs (including the special needs of professionals) are taken seriously; paid attention to, and value the roles of, support staff; and to maintain the interest of longer-serving employees. The relatively high levels of engagement of the oldest employees, and of minority ethnic staff, suggest sources of untapped potential within some organizations.

What drives engagement?

Committed employees perform better. If we accept that engagement, as many believe, is "one step up" from commitment, it is clearly in the organization’s interests to understand the drivers of engagement. Many aspects of working life are strongly correlated with engagement levels. However, the strongest driver of all is a sense of feeling valued and involved. This has several key components:
  • involvement in decision-making
  • the extent to which employees feel able to voice their ideas, and managers listen to these views, and value employees’ contributions
  • the opportunities employees have to develop their jobs
  • the extent to which the organization is concerned for employees’ health and well-being.
In summary, it is critical to realize and support the importance of the "engaged" employee-manager relationship.

How do you engage your employees? We would love to hear what has been successful for you. Please respond below.

No comments:

Post a Comment