Employee engagement can have a 'tangible impact on a company's bottom line'

According to the latest biannual Randstad Engagement Study, employers and employees are not on the same page when it comes to how workers feel about their jobs and what they deem as most important to workplace fulfillment and happiness.

When asked if they felt inspired to do their best, 72% of workers agreed with this statement. This is at odds with what employers believe, with 81% reporting their employees feel inspired to do their best work. Additionally, 85% of employers say their employees are proud to work for their company (versus 71% of workers), and 78% of employers say their employees trust the leaders of their company to make good decisions, compared with just 62% of workers feeling this way.

Furthermore, when U.S. workers were asked which two ways they believe are the most effective in keeping employees engaged, the following emerged as the top five:

  1. Offering promotions or bonuses to high performing employees (28%)
  2. Being flexible or accommodating in terms of hours or working arrangements (27%)
  3. Providing a comfortable and stimulating work environment (24%)
  4. Encouraging employees to share their ideas and opinions (22%)
  5. Investing in its employees' careers through training, professional development, or continuing education (21%)

Still, there is a gap in the deployment of these tactics, with workers indicating below how many of their employers actually provide these top incentives as a means to keep them engaged:

  • Offering promotions or bonuses to high performing employees (23%)
  • Being flexible or accommodating in terms of hours or working arrangements (37%)
  • Providing a comfortable and stimulating work environment (32%)
  • Encouraging employees to share their ideas and opinions (39%)
  • Investing in its employees' careers through training, professional development or continuing education (33%)

"What we are seeing here is clearly a disconnect in what employees want and what employers are actually providing," said Jim Link, Chief HR Officer at Randstad North America. "Employee engagement is not just a nice-to-have factor that organizations should consider: it can have a tangible impact on a company's bottom line. In fact, a recent Gallup survey found that organizations with a high level of employee engagement resulted in a 22% greater level of productivity. Engaged workers are invested in their organizations, and businesses that get it right will have a workforce committed to their own personal achievements, as well as the overall mission of their employers."

Five Resolutions for Better Engagement in 2014

  1. Foster a culture where employees can feel their time away from the office truly is their time. The blurring of lines between home and work was seen as having increased the productivity of employees at their company by only 46% of employers, down slightly compared to November 2012. This suggests "constant connectivity" does not necessarily equate to increased productivity. In fact, only two-in-five employees (40%) reported the blurring of lines between work and home has increased their productivity.
  2. Cultivate a more dynamic workforce by asking less conventional questions when interviewing candidates to determine if they are the right cultural fit. Employers selecting cultural fit as among the two most important traits for prospective employees doubled from 15 to 30% since November 2012. In fact, being a good cultural fit was the second highest ranked factor after work ethic, outranking education, relevant on-the-job experience and knowledge of the industry.
  3. Satisfy employees' hunger to continue learning and enhance their skillsets through training and development programs or encouraging them to attend seminars during the work week. Two-in-five employees (40%) said training and development are among the most important skills for growing their career today, while collaboration and teamwork was only deemed important by 26% of respondents.
  4. Establish a social media policy so employees understand the guidelines in place. While staying connected is important, it's important social media does not distract employees from their time at work. Facebook was reported to be the most popular diversion for employees, with 11% of workers spending an hour or more on the site for personal use every day. For an eight-hour work day, that's more than 12% of the entire day. Communicating appropriate uses helps ensure employees are using their time in productive, career-building ways.
  5. Provide employees with a defined career path. Less than half (44%) of employees reported they aspire to have their boss' position, but it's important employees know they are valued and are part of the long-term business plan. Provide opportunities for professional growth and offer new challenges to keep employees stimulated by their roles.

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