The stats—and there are plenty to choose from (you'll find a comprehensive list here )—may vary in the percentages, but the message remains the same: Engaged employees are more productive, and companies are missing out on a large chunk of their workforce's productivity when people are unsatisfied.
Given that engagement is a perennial concern, it's surprising how little progress we seem to have made at re-engaging the workforce since the term "engagement" was first coined more than 25 years ago. Despite the considerable time, effort and money thrown at solving the employee engagement enigma, it has eluded employers. In 2013, Gallup found that 89 percent of workers were either actively disengaged or not engaged — and there's only been a 2 percent improvement since then.
So, what is wrong in the house of engagement, and more importantly, what can be done to put it right?
What We've Learned About Employee Engagement
Well, we've learned a few things about what doesn't work: We know, for example, that doing annual engagement surveys does not mean a company takes engagement seriously, and that "happy" employees are not the same as engaged and productive employees. We know that money does not unlock the door to engaged employees.
We also know a few things about what does work: Successful companies set clear expectations for people, give people tasks that suit their skill sets, develop those and other skills and ensure those people's opinions are heard and valued. Highly engaged employees believe in what they are doing and what their company is doing.
These are "basics," but of course they take time to put into place and may require a huge level of cultural change for a company. And change programs have a somewhat checkered history of their own. Throw the word "culture" into the mix, and changing engagement requires a transformation rather than change—and the complexities are magnified even further.
Engagement Requires a Transformation Not a Change
While the HR industry may be getting better at change management for distinct projects, such as introducing a new performance management system, we are far less adept at the wider idea of transformation. In fact, McKinsey experts estimate, 70 percent of transformation programs fail. And employee engagement definitely falls under the transformation category in many companies.
It's accepted wisdom that people hate change, and a major element of that loathing is to do with the loss of control people feel when something is "done" to them rather than "with" them. So, while it's essential for employee engagement to have backing from the highest level to set the agenda and strategy, it also needs buy-in from the lowest level.
Use Social Media to Listen to Your Employees Needs
If you want to be successful at employee engagement, don't spend too long sitting round the boardroom table discussing engagement strategy. Social media technologies provide an easy platform for people from all corners of the business to express their ideas, their gripes and their fears. Just ask your staff directly via social media what's important to them.
Better still, don't just ask them, but listen to what they are saying among themselves unprompted and act on it. They are the people with the first-hand knowledge of what's going on at ground-level: the glitches in processes that don't work, the opportunities missed and the ideas to make their workplace better. They are best placed to set the engagement agenda.
Of course, a company's ability to take advantage of the power of enterprise social platforms depends on their starting point and their company culture. For some, it will be a natural progression, for others it is a step into the unknown. Even though using social media channels is old hat for many, it has yet to penetrate some businesses.
The advantage for companies is that it doesn't require a huge ERP-level investment of time and money. It's relatively easy and cheap to try out different social media technology in pockets of the business to see what floats or flounders.
Technology alone, of course, is never the complete answer. But in the case of employee engagement, technology has huge potential as an enabler, simply because it can put employees in the driving seat.
Photo: Creative Commons
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El líder ágil: Consejos para mantener a los empleados comprometidos, conectados y productivos
Publicación de blog
El talento de los empleados LGTBQ+
Vivimos en un mundo cada vez más globalizado y conectado, lo cual lleva a encontrarse a gente de todas partes del mundo en las empresas. Aunque esta diversidad puede aportar muchos beneficios, la verdad es que no es fácil conseguir que conecten personas muy distintas. Para ello es imprescindible que las empresas apuesten por programas y estrategias que promuevan la harmonía y la cooperación. Con motivo del día LGTBIQ+ el 28 de junio, queremos llamar la atención a este colectivo severamente castigado socialmente. Aunque es cierto que hoy en día se han hecho muchos avances en temas de legislación para reconocer sus derechos, y la sociedad se ha vuelto más tolerante con su presencia, todavía existe discriminación en varios ámbitos sociales, incluido el laboral. Según Harvard Business Review a día de hoy el 85% de las 500 empresas en el top de fortuna ha implementado políticas de protección sobre orientación sexual, un aumento del 34% respecto al 2000. Sin embargo, como la historia ha demostrado varias veces, las leyes y la práctica no siempre van juntas. Según un informe del sindicato UGT “Las personas LGTBI en la negociación colectiva. Análisis de la protección laboral de las personas LGTBI” solo tres de cada diez convenios colectivos de las empresas españolas han establecido cláusulas destinadas a la protección del colectivo LGTBI. En Cornerstone siempre hemos estado comprometidos con la meritocracia, y el rechazo a un trabajador por su orientación sexual no únicamente es poco ético, sí no también un desperdicio de talento. No tiene ningún sentido para una empresa discriminar a posibles trabajadores solamente por pertenecer a este colectivo, malgastar recursos valiosos por prejuicios no es una buena estrategia. Así pues, con el objetivo de ayudar a este colectivo y a las empresas, hemos elaborado una lista de todos los beneficios que los trabajadores pertenecientes a la comunidad LGTBI+ pueden aportar a una empresa. Aumenta el compromiso de los empleados. Pasamos muchas horas del día en nuestro lugar de trabajo y como resultado, si la empresa en la que trabajamos está comprometida con la sociedad, hará que nosotros de una forma u otra aumentemos también nuestro compromiso con ella. Mejora del entorno laboral. Fomentar la diversidad entre los empleados hará que estos sean más tolerantes entre ellos y se sientan más respetados y acogidos por su empresa. Esto dará como resultado un clima laboral mucho más acogedor que se traducirá en empleados más fidelizados con la empresa y una menor rotación. Favorece a la imagen corporativa de la empresa. Los empleados han cambiado a lo largo de los años, ya no buscan solo ganar más dinero en una empresa, sino que buscan empresas comprometidas, que contribuyan con su labor a la sociedad y que posean valores significativos para ellos. Por lo tanto, es fundamental que las empresas posean esta imagen de compromiso y diversidad, si la tienen muchas más personas desearán trabajar en esa empresa. Hacen las empresas más productivas. Según un informe global de McKinsey, las empresas situadas cuartil superior en cuanto a diversidad étnica y cultural entre sus ejecutivos en 2019 tenían un 36% más de probabilidades de tener beneficios superiores a la media que las empresas menos inclusivas. Está claro, a más diversidad de talento, mayor beneficio.
Publicación de blog
How Smart Engagement Builds a Dynamic Workforce
Real engagement in the workplace is part of a dynamic process of feedback and exchange. The more information you have about your employees, the easier it is to build programs and processes which actively involve them in learning and development. The more engaging your learning and performance strategies are, the greater the rewards in terms of staff productivity. Workforce engagement has never been more important. Gallup research shows that only 13 percent of employees worldwide are engaged. And according to Deloitte, as few as 4 percent of companies believe they are good at engaging with Millennials in the workplace. True engagement boosts company loyalty, reduces absentee days and increases an organisation’s profit. With employee engagement at record lows, the challenge lies in finding new ways to win the hearts and minds of your workers. The best way to do this is by building a culture of strong, creative communication and feedback while driving organisational growth. Practical, Proven Ways to Boost Workplace Engagement This all sounds fine. But how does it work in practice? Breaking the cycle of boredom, distraction and disengagement requires more than enthusiasm and good will. To understand your employees enough to engage them, you need to provide a system of continuous feedback which gives them the chance to tell you exactly what they need, where they’re at, and what they aspire to. This can happen in real time, 24/7, on the smart mobile devices that are central to Millennial communication, and that are becoming increasingly intertwined in the lives of older generations of workers as well. Once you have this vital feedback, you can start setting up central, cloud-based programs which feed their interest, meet their career objectives and fulfil their individual need to be recognised, encouraged, trained, coached, mentored and considered–in all the right ways. Customised programs lead, in turn, to a more focused and engaged workforce. Staff are now keen to collaborate and are increasingly able to innovate in small and major ways. Open lines of communication produce employees who feel valued, connected to their workplace, and able to build relationships in a more effective manner. By collecting real data from your employees, you are in a far better position to connect with them–in ways that resonate with their lifestyle, objectives and expectations. Over time, you have the tools to build a smarter, more engaged and far more productive workforce. How Continuous Feedback Is the Key to Engagement The following examples of continuous feedback show how it can work on the ground. 1) Measure Employee Engagement Craft a customised survey on a recurring quarterly or biannual basis to gather staff opinions on topics as diverse as feeling safe in the office, having opportunities for career development and quality of managerial feedback. 2) Encourage Open Communication Make your surveys fit for purpose to receive maximum possible feedback. Design confidential surveys–encouraging honest, unbiased responses–and dispose of lengthy questionnaires by allowing staff to answer a couple of questions in less than 10 seconds per day. 3) Foster a Culture of Continuous Improvement Create a series of pulse surveys designed to measure specific performance indicators, allowing HR to make ongoing adjustments. Call for targeted feedback on areas of employee dissatisfaction, gathering suggestions to improve company culture and practice. A continuous feedback survey platform like Cornerstone Engage allows your organisation to capture, analyse and act on real-time employee feedback. You can then: Measure engagement more accurately Capture feedback to help identify areas of difficulty and improvement Create customised programs to suit individual needs Track the effectiveness of these programs over time Drilling down into the details will give you the data you need to make truly impactful workforce decisions. So why get stuck in recurring loops of boredom and dissatisfaction? Integrate Cornerstone Engage with your cloud-based talent management platform and find your way out of the maze. Photo: Creative Commons