Employees are the most valuable asset that an organization has, but the majority of companies fail to show their employees how much they are valued. While management might have the best of intentions, the daily execution of this vision falls apart due to a lack of focus on employee engagement initiatives.
Historically, tracking, managing and increasing employee engagement were the role of HR but in recent years this issue has gone to the top of the executive agenda. Deloitte’s Talent Edge 2020 Survey of senior leader’s at large companies found that 83 percent believe significant improvements need to be made to their organization’s talent programs.
It is clear that employee behaviour and actions impact overall organizational success, yet employee engagement remains a struggle for many organizations. It’s a priority for leaders, yet there’s a gap between the vision and the reality.
Understanding Employee Engagement
Employee engagement refers to an employee’s level of commitment to the organization, including their emotional attachment, willingness to work toward goals or strategy, and how they help to further the company’s mission.
There are various levels of employee engagement:
- Highly Engaged — Shows up every day and performs really well, at the same time bettering the company’s position. They are the best of the best and the employees that make the biggest impact on the company’s bottom line.
- Moderately Engaged — Performs at a satisfactory level but does little to go the extra mile, with little tangible contribution to the company’s overall success. They help to maintain the status quo.
- Disengaged — Unfocused and uncommitted. Often lacking in direction with no investment in the company’s success. Disengaged employees are bad for business and usually end up costing the company money.
Studies by Gallup Research since 2008 consistently show that 70% of employees identify as disengaged — with only 52% of those being merely “disengaged” and 18% actively disengaged.
The Gallup study is confirmation of what high performing companies already know. Having engaged, productive and loyal employees is the key to increasing market share, boosting profits, and building customer satisfaction.
Boosting Employee Engagement with Real-Time Insight
As the economy has changed, organizations have failed to modernize their approach to conducting employee research. They may be relying on a paper-based system or on inflexible surveys conducted by third party firms that don’t provide the data in real-time.
Paper-based systems are time consuming to manage and prone to error. The huge task of collecting data using manual processes makes employee research something that is only done infrequently. Working with a third party research firm, the process is time consuming, expensive and often takes months to complete.
Neither of these approaches addresses the fact that business happens in real-time. Organizations need to be able to collect the information they need, and then manage employee engagement on an ongoing basis.
Moving to a system of company-wide, real-time feedback delivers the insight required to help improve employee engagement by:
- Empowering teams. Everyone has the information they need to manage their work effectively and they clearly understand how it connects to the bigger picture.
- Delivering accurate and timely feedback. Instead of gathering feedback only from annual performance reviews, managers have the information they need to coach employees and have meaningful conversations about performance.
- Giving employees a voice. Employees feel empowered as they are asked to provide feedback on an ongoing basis and they can see how that input is used across the organization.
The bottom line
This data has a measurable impact on the day-to-day running of the organization, which in turn helps create a positive culture in which employees are engaged. Over the long-term the company is able to increase overall performance, as issues are quickly identified and addressed, all of which positively impact the bottom line.
For example, instead of losing Dave who works in a key customer-facing role and is adored by all of his clients to a competitor, regular feedback enables his manager to figure out that he needs more of a challenge. Opening up the lines of communication makes Dave feel valued, helps the company to avoid losing key accounts, and make savings on the cost of recruiting for his position.
In short, employees are your competitive advantage, so keeping them engaged is not just good for business, it’s critical to success.
If you would like to explore how your company can improve the way it collects and implements employee feedback, contact us today.
This post is originally from the Questback blog.