Although North America has one of the highest proportions of engaged employees worldwide, fewer than 1 in 3 employees (29%) are fully engaged and 19% are actually disengaged.
Engaged employees are not just committed. They are not just passionate or proud. They have a line-of-sight on their own future and on the organization’s mission and goals. They are “enthused” and “in gear” using their talents and discretionary effort to make a difference in their employer’s quest for sustainable business success.
There is a clear correlation between engagement and retention, with 85% of engaged employees indicating that they plan to stay with their employer through 2008. An effective employee retention strategy is based on an understanding of engagement.
Moreover, engaged employees stay for what they give (they like their work); disengaged employees stay for what they get (favorable job conditions, growth opportunities, job security).
The most common factors influencing job satisfaction are:
■ More opportunities to use talents
■ Career development and training.
This holds true across engagement levels, intent to stay, generations, and job titles.
Drivers of increased contribution vary. Employees who are aligned and already expending discretionary effort are looking for more resources. “Greater clarity about what the organization needs me to do and why” was the top response for employees who, although their level of satisfaction may vary, are at the lowest levels of contribution.
Tales of bullying bosses are exaggerated, but the bad managers out there are cited as the third most common reason for leaving (trailing lack of career growth and dislike of the actual work).
Three in four (75%) employees trust their immediate managers. This finding is consistent across generations, functions, and, for the most part, job titles. 44% of disengaged employees actually trust their managers.
Consistent with findings from past studies, managers fall short in encouraging and rewarding their employees’ use of talents. Although two-thirds of managers overall appear to do this, employees at the lowest engagement levels clearly lack their manager’s support in leveraging their unique capabilities.
Only about half (53%) of employees trust their organization’s senior leaders — the people who set the tone for organizational culture and need to inspire high-performance and commitment.
Key Implications and Recommendations
Employee engagement is a complex equation that reflects each individual’s unique, personal relationship with work. As such, there are limits to what organizations can do with broad-brush workforce processes or communication programs. At a macro level, you need to provide resources, tools, and the overall workplace environment that supports engagement. Ultimately, at a micro level, employees, with their managers’ help, need to establish a thriving personal connection with their work and carve out a satisfying future in the organization.
The most successful organizations make engagement an ongoing priority, not a once-a-year event. They take a multi-faceted approach to address problem areas and improve engagement scores organizationwide.
Those best practices include:
■ Maximize managers – they are the main connection in the employee engagement equation..
■ Align, align, align – clarify strategy and organizational goals.
■ Redefine career – employees need line-of-sight on their future to be truly engaged.
■ Pay attention to culture – culture and employee motivation go hand-in-hand.
■ Survey less, act more – don’t rely purely on an employee engagement survey to drive your strategy
Statistics Bassed on BlessingWhite’s Employee Engagement Report 2008.