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The importance of employee engagement


The importance of employee engagementIn February 2006, Towers Perrin released an international workforce study called Winning Strategies for a Global Workforce. The purpose of the study was to “identify the drivers of attraction, retention, and engagement through the eyes of employees.” One focus of the study was to measure employee engagement (i.e., how loyal, committed, and connected an employee is to his/her employer).The result was disturbing – only a little over 20% of respondents were fully engaged while the remainder were partially engaged, partially disengaged, or completely disengaged.

Workers that are not engaged are not performing at their best, not contributing to the growth of organizations, and, in some cases, may be vocal about their disenchantment with the workplace. If lack of engagement results in poor performance, and the performance of people is recognized as essential to organizational success, knowing that almost 80% of the workforce may not be fully engaged is alarming.

If disengagement links to poor performance then the reverse is, likely, also true – engagement leads to good performance. A survey done by the Hay Group, on their own offices, found that “offices with ‘engaged’ employees were as much as 43 percent more productive.” Within the same report, Engage Employees and Boost Performances are other examples of organizations where increases in employee engagement resulted in increases in performance. The key for organizations is to identify the drivers of engagement for their workers.

One potential driver of employee engagement is being supportive of employees’ career goals. Historically, career planning was seen as the responsibility of the individual. In today’s world of work, however, “planning” is an out-dated term as it implies that careers can be carefully planned and executed. Many employees today, across generations, see their careers as more than just a job or series of jobs; they view integration of their work and life roles more holistically– they manage their careers. Though many workers have career aspirations, these aren’t always related to “moving up the corporate ladder,” but may include specific educational goals, cross-training, and opportunities to contribute to specific projects. Perhaps most of all, workers want opportunities to be challenged and engaged in their work and be seen as valued contributors to the success of the organization.

Recruitment, retention, and active engagement of all employees are key concerns for many employers in today’s environment of skill shortages and a multi-generational workforce. Consider how you and your leadership team can strategically embed career management initiatives into each phase of the hiring and employee development process.



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