‘Business Leaders must raise the bar on employee engagement as increasing workplace engagement is vital to achieve sustainable growth and retaining staff…..‘ Gallup
Research regularly shows that employee engagement has risen to become a key issue on the agenda of senior management. For example, in their Human Capital Survey of 2016, Deloitte find that:
- Employee retention and engagement together are the second most pressing issues on the minds of Global HR professionals – second only to developing leadership skills in their organisations
- 76% of workers are not engaged at work – this means they lack motivation and are unlikely to invest any time in their work other than the contracted minimum
- Only 54% would recommend their company as a place to work.
In addition, it’s becoming clear that when it comes to the employer / employee relationship, the balance of power in the workplace has changed dramatically; moving more and more in favour of the employee.
For example, job seekers no longer have to scan the ‘situations vacant’ column in the Sunday newspapers and send CVs in the post to prospective employers. Today jobs appear in the inbox – technology has changed the whole job search process making it easier for employees not only find new roles, but to know the pros and cons of working for the company with the vacancy. In high technology industries, for example, two thirds of workers say that they could find a new job within 60-days.
Employees are acting more like freelance workers They expect more from their employer and punish those who don’t deliver. Given the high costs of staff turnover, it’s clearly imperative that companies look for ways to measure and improve employee engagement.
The good news is that ways of measuring levels of employee engagement levels have advanced. Traditionally companies used annual satisfactions surveys; the problem being they didn’t give reasons why employees marked the questions as they did making it difficult to understand what actions to take. However, real time ‘pulse’ surveys coupled with improved questioning techniques are providing better insights.
The problem remains how to raise the level of employee engagement given the woeful figures seen and the implications of not taking action.
So what can companies do?
Josh Bersin is an expert in the field of employee engagement. In his article ‘Becoming Irresistible; a New Model for Employee Engagement (2015),’ Bersin lists areas companies need to concentrate on to raise employee engagement based on his own extensive research. The areas include:
- Providing employees with meaningful work
- Fostering great management in the workplace
- Establishing a positive work environment and
- Creating ample growth opportunities for employees.
We thought it would be interesting to see what a best in class company does in each of these four areas in order to achieve ‘expert status’ in employee engagement.
In 2017, Bain and Company was awarded the Glassdoor best place to work. It had also ranked in the top four best places to work in each of the last nine years. The company released a video featuring what managers and staff think about working at Bain.
We have taken statements from the video and categorised them in line with Bersin’s approach:
Providing employees with meaningful work
- We work in teams that are supported and have an impact
- We work extremely hard to produce great work
- We help our clients solve some of their toughest problems
- We pride ourselves on finding solutions that clients can act on
- We pride ourselves on doing work that really makes an impact
- Intellectual curiosity is rewarded here.
Fostering great management in the workplace
- They very much care about their people
- As their only asset beside internal knowledge, keeping their best talent is top priority
- We pride ourselves on hiring people that really get energised and excited and want to come to work every day
- I’ve never been afraid to ask a question of my supervisor.
Establishing a positive work environment
- We create an environment where people want to come to work
- Contagiously positive atmosphere
- An environment filled with support, reinforcement and affirmation
- Culture is warm, inviting and fun and this inspires and invigorates employees
- We have great people that we work with
- Culture is very important
- We have a great sense of community.
Creating ample growth opportunities fo employees
- Individually people create a career that works for them
- Over time when you work across a number of teams you end up with this really great network of mentors and supporters
- Everything is geared to learn and grow from the people you are working with
- I have so many people here who are personally invested in my success
- It’s not about individual skills on the job; it’s about how I’m doing, how I’m feeling and what I am thinking big picture in terms of my career
- There is an environment of continuous skill building and relationship building that goes on and last a lifetime.
Where could your company improve?