Engagement – An Introduction
The workplace is not what it once was. The concept of a job for life and the 9-5 working practices are long gone.
The employee-employer relationship has changed. New generations are demanding more, expecting more and are willing to move on at the drop of a hat if they don’t get it.
Motivating and retaining these people is becoming harder and harder as businesses are expected to be available 24-7 and many workers have to go beyond the usual workday. The advent of flexible working and new technology means people can be available and accessible at all times and are struggling to switch off.
In this brave new world of 24-7 working and transient employment, how is it possible for both employer and employee to not only survive, but thrive?
What is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is a workplace approach which aims to create the right conditions for all members of an organisation to give their best each day, stay committed to their organisation’s goals and values, be motivated to contribute to organisational success and have an enhanced sense of their own well-being.
Employee engagement is based on trust, integrity, two way commitment and communication between an organisation and its members. It’s an approach that increases the chances of business success, contributing to organisational and individual performance, productivity and well-being. It can be measured on a scale from poor to great. It can be nurtured and dramatically increased; it can be lost and thrown away.
What’s employee engagement for you and me as employers?
Employee engagement is about positive attitudes and behaviors leading to improved business outcomes, in a way that they trigger and reinforce one another.
Employee engagement is about our employees feeling pride and loyalty to our organisation, being a great advocate of the organisation to our clients, users and customers, going the extra mile to finish a piece of work.
Employee engagement is about drawing on our employees’ knowledge and ideas to improve our products and services, and be innovative about how we work.
Employee engagement is about drawing out a deeper commitment from our employees so fewer leave, sick absence reduces, accident rates decline, conflicts and grievances go down, productivity increases.
Employee engagement is about organisation actions that are consistent with the organisation’s values. It is about kept promises, or an explanation why they cannot be kept.
Why employee engagement is important:
Research shows that organisations with high levels of employee engagement are more efficient and effective, and that highly engaged employees:
- Are more customer focused, find they are more creative at work, and take less time off sick
- Care about the future of their organisation and put in greater effort to help it meet its objectives
- Feel proud of the organisation they work for and are inspired to do their best and motivated to deliver the organisation’s objectives.
Organisations embedding the enablers of employee engagement as the way they work have more chance of surviving in the new global economy, because they are building the future with, and around, their people.
Where’s the Evidence?
There are now substantial bodies of evidence showing the correlation between higher engagement and higher performance:
Engaging for Success (2009) – David MacLeod and Nita Clarke’s foundational report identifying four enablers of employee engagement in a range of organisations across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.
Nailing the Evidence (2012) – demonstrating the link between high levels of employee engagement and organisational performance.
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