The Continuing Need for a Focus on Employee Engagement

Aon Hewitt released it’s 2012 Global Engagement report – a study on employee engagement and the numbers are up – slightly.

Overall, employee engagement is up from 56% to 58%. Aon Hewitt gathers this information based on their employee engagement model of “say, stay, strive” – what do employees say about working in your organization, how long do employees stay in your organization, do employees strive to go above and beyond for your organization?

The study indicates that this increase in engagement is a positive sign in the face of the continuing economic recovery. The authors and other experts in the field also indicate however that it does not reflect complete success in the area – with those numbers 4 out of 10 employees are NOT engaged.

Areas for Opportunity

Trust – levels of trust between employees and their employers have increased. Trust is at the base of an engaged workforce. Investing in building trust is a key element and area for opportunity – and it’s easier than you think.

  • share information with employees about where you are and where things are going
  • involve employees in creating better (and possibly new) ways forward – seek their input
  • acknowledge successes and take responsibility for your part in short falls

Communication – the study showed a perception of decreased effectiveness in communication. This can sometimes be overlooked in our culture of “doing” – we get so busy doing what needs to be done that we miss the opportunity to share the great work we are doing.

  • make it part of your design to communicate, budget the time
  • move beyond the company newsletter – there are innovative and effective ways available – talk to a communicator, they’ll know and be excited to help
  • not sure how it helps the bottom line? Engaged employees contribute better work, saving the costs to fix a negative message

Employee engagement is not a “nice to have” – it’s essential if your organization is to thrive now and in the future. As the study notes, the number 1 driver of employee engagement is career advancement. An easy win in this is to communicate possible career paths to your employees. The number 2 driver is recognition of their contribution and good work – that simply takes time and commitment to doing it consistently.


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