Tag: employee engagement

  • Data Drop: Workforce Surveys Reveal Effects of Pandemic

    November 9, 2020

    Tags: , ,

    How 2020 will be remembered is largely going to be shaped by the pandemic, both for larger society and the workplace. There is no industry that hasn’t been impacted by COVID-19 and thus, no segment of the workforce that hasn’t felt its impact.

    We can see this playing out in the data we collect. Perhaps more than any other crisis before it, data is telling its own story around COVID-19. A fair amount of this data comes straight to our inbox and we regularly review it.

    Sharing is caring as they say, so with that in mind, here are some of the latest workforce surveys that have caught our attention and statistics that may help you understand and address the issues within your own organization.

    Less Screen Time = Better Health

    The folks over at Aetna International recently surveyed 4,000 employees at mid-to-large size businesses in the U.K., U.S., UAE and Singapore about their relationship with workplace technology and what effect it had on them. While the majority of respondents say that technology makes them more effective at their jobs and at managing time, particularly at a time where remote work is so common, there was a cost associated with their health.

    Employees feel that sitting at their computer for long durations have hindered their physical health with 70% of those surveyed agreeing that they would exercise more if they spent less time at their computer.

    Additionally, 76% of employees feel that reduced or restricted out of hours technology use would help them manage their physical health better if provided by their employer. Many find themselves checking their emails and Slack or Teams accounts when they normally wouldn’t.

    The impact goes beyond the physical, however. The majority of employees from around the world agreed that the overuse of technology in the workplace has had negative effects on their mental health, with 75% agreeing that restricting the use of screen time during the workday would help them to better manage their mental health. More than half, 56%, said that the overuse of communication platforms and internal emails increases their stress levels.

    Trust

    Recent surveys from JDP asked 2,000 U.S. employees a range of questions about working from home during the pandemic. Among the most unanimous responses was centered on trust, with 92% of respondents saying they believe their bosses trusted them. Additionally, 86% say they feel they have taken advantage of the increased freedom work from home provides.

    More than three quarters of respondents say they are working different hours and two-thirds say they are more likely to work on the weekend now. Different hours didn’t translate to more hours, however, with only 33% of respondents saying they were working more.

    Whose Been Hit Hardest?

    Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown the top careers to be most affected by COVID-19 and it’s a list that won’t surprise you. Retail, hospitality, the performing arts, dental office staff and film and TV production crews have taken the biggest hit. Air transportation and real estate offices also had notable losses.

    The news isn’t necessarily a death sentence for the career of people working in those industries though. The fact is, many of them have soft skills that are becoming more important in a workforce that is taking on a human focus. The folks over at online resume builder Zety performed an analysis of more than 130 thousand resumes created between 2017 and 2019 to find which alternative career paths were most popular amongst people who held jobs in industries that are now struggling.

    By comparing the soft skills many in those industries listed on their resumes to the soft skills needed in other positions, they came up with a list of alternatives that might just help some people get back on their feet. You can see the full list on the Zety blog.

    The Visibility of Productivity

    Everyone wants their employer to know that they’re using this time at home to get work done and broadly speaking, it has shown as data suggests people have been more productive in remote work settings. But, according to recent surveys from Prodoscore, employees are even more open to the idea of productivity monitoring than you might expect.

    The company commissioned the research to put fresh numbers to trends they had been noticing for a few years as work from home arrangements gained traction and that were recently amplified in the wake of COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, around 61% of the survey participants worked from home at least part time. Now that number has increased to 77%.

    A byproduct of this is an increase in the desire to show and see productivity by both employees and employers. For employees, the motivation was clear. They want the monitoring so they can structure their day in ways that have proven to be effective, showcase their efficiency and have their efforts recognized. In all, only 10% of respondents said they didn’t like the idea.

    The survey was conducted in July 2020 in partnership with Propeller Insights. It polled 1,000 U.S.-based workers across diverse industries and included a mix of micro, SMB and enterprise businesses. Most respondents were white-collar workers (79%).

    The Need for People Data and Performance Communication

    At a time where we talk a great deal about employee engagement and experience, asking the question what employees want can trigger a wide variety of responses. A recent survey from Reflektive sought to answer that question and arrived at some conclusions that you probably already suspect.

    The survey was completed by 445 HR professionals and business leaders and 622 employees. Interestingly, employees indicated that they need more coaching and want more recognition from their managers.

    From HR and business leaders, there’s a great deal of interest in employee productivity. HR leaders indicated that they are invested in measuring the health of their performance management practices, which will be music to employees ears as it could lead to more of that coaching they seek.

    People data is a big area of interest as 60% of leaders agree that people analytics efforts are more important to them now than a year ago. Nearly three quarters of those respondents believe that they have a firm grasp of why people leave, but only 50% of them are using analytics to predict employee performance and turnover.

    Employees also expressed frustration with how to acquire feedback. One-in-four say they don’t know how to request feedback and 30% say they don’t feel empowered to initiate those conversations.

    “When tools aren’t used regularly, employees may forget what’s at their fingertips,” Rachel Ernst, CHRO at Reflektive said. “On a quarterly basis, communicate the process for requesting feedback. Additionally, when managers regularly ask for feedback, employees will start mirroring this behavior as well.”

    Originally posted on HR Exchange Network

  • Employee Engagement in a Post-COVID Workplace

    July 27, 2020

    Tags: ,

    “When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” – Simon Sinek

    The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many things. First, it has taught us that empathy and kindness goes a long way. We’ve learned that as individuals, communities, and as a nation, that we can do hard things when we work together. Finally, this pandemic has taught us that the relationship between employer and employee is a valuable one. How much the employee feels valued by their employer is called “engagement.” And this feeling of value is one that more and more companies are investing in in a post-COVID environment.

    Employee engagement is when an employee feels “high levels of involvement (passion and absorption) in the work and the organization (pride and identity) as well as affective energy (enthusiasm and alertness) and a sense of self-presence.” Let’s dive in and look at some fast facts on this subject and how to increase engagement in this new workspace we have found our world occupying.

     

    BY THE NUMBERS

    • 34% of employees and 35% of employers stated they felt engaged in their work in a 2019 Gallup poll.
    • 38% of employees now say they are “highly involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace” via a May 2020 Gallup poll.
    • This is the highest reported engagement since Gallup began measuring this topic in 2000.

     

    BOTTOM LINE

    • Unengaged employees lower productivity, innovation, and the bottom line.
    • Engaged employees have lower absenteeism and lower turnover.
    • When an employee believes that they are being heard and seen as a valued investment, they feel empowered to do their best work.
    • Teams that report being engaged in the workplace have 21% higher profitability than those who report being unengaged.

     

    HOMESCHOOL

    • One way to create engagement in the workplace is to promote learning opportunities at home for employees. This can be done in virtual workshops for remote workers.
    • If a company’s investment is in learning and development, this shows the employee that their employer sees their future as important.
    • Positive results of investing in workforce education include increased employee engagement, more innovation, and increased understanding of the company’s goals.
    • Remote employees who participate in a company’s virtual training report that beyond the educational benefit they receive, they also feel as though they are being equipped with new skills for handling stressful situations once they are able to return to work.

     

    RESOURCES

    There are numerous blogs and articles and creative educational interaction sites to keep employees engaged and learning while remote. Below are some fun and creative sites to help you create your own engagement campaign for your organization.

     

  • The Cause of Disengagement | California Employee Benefits Group

    April 13, 2020

    Tags: , ,

    For decades, employee engagement has been the gold standard in measuring the way employees interact with the business.  In today’s world, especially where the coronavirus is concerned, it’s not just about the interaction but also the level of commitment to the company.  While all human resources professionals would like to believe their employees are committed to their organization, the statistics simply don’t paint that type of picture.

    Over the last two decades, Gallup reports the percentage of employees disengaged at work has averaged 70 percent.1  And it’s been costly.  Disengaged employees have 18 percent lower productivity with profitability being 15 percent lower.2  When put into dollars and cents – “an actively disengaged employee costs their organization $3,400 for every $10,000 of salary, or 34 percent. That means an actively disengaged employee who makes $60,000 a year costs their company $20,400 a year!”3

    So, what’s the answer to increasing engagement across the enterprise and, in doing so, increasing productivity and profits?

    Disengagement and Engagement

    The Causes

    Defining what employee engagement is, in reality, is critical to understanding its benefits and its challenges.  Generally speaking, every HR professional has a different definition but all include the basic component that an engaged employee is one who commits to the organization and gives of him or herself freely to the success of the company.

    Engagement

    But what causes employee engagement?  Let’s take a psychological approach.

    The term was first coined by psychologist William Kahn in a 1990 study titled Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work.4  In the piece, Khan studied two different workplaces:  a very structured and formal architecture firm and a casual summer camp.  From his observations, he defined engagement as “the harnessing of organization members’ selves to their work roles; in engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during role performances”.

    Additionally, Kahn outlined three psychological conditions that allow engagement to exist:

    1. Meaningfulness – Is the work meaningful enough to the employee that he/she engages with their full-self?
    2. Safety – Is the work environment such that a person can bring their full-self without fear of criticism?
    3. Availability – Is the employee mentally and physically able to express their full-self in the work environment?

    Kahn further stated those individuals who are fully engaged with the organization will take ownership of their work and will be loyal to the organization.  Additionally, he said engagement isn’t a constant.  Any number of experiences can cause engagement to change.

    Of course, Kahn’s original definition has changed somewhat over the three decades since it was first coined.  As previously mentioned, engagement has become more about the employee’s willingness to go “above and beyond”5 to benefit the organization.

    “People are wanting to feel that investment from their organization and that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a massive thing, but they want it to feel like it’s a two-way street,” Christopher Lind said.  He’s the Head of Global Digital Learning for GE Healthcare.  “It’s not so much a ‘you’re here to serve the employer’ thing.  People are looking for that partnership. ‘I’m here to serve you.  You’re here to serve me.  And how are we meeting in the middle?”

    Disengagement

    Understanding how engagement works is only half the battle.  For HR to move the needle and make significant improvements, there needs to be an understanding of what can cause disengagement.

    A key indicator of disengagement is apathy.  Other factors occur when there is a lack of:

    • Autonomy
    • Communication
    • Flexibility
    • Development
    • Trust
    • Personal and/or Workplace Challenges

    While it’s not an exhaustive list, it is a very real possibility one or more of these can exist within an organization.  The challenge lies in trying to figure out how best to address each consistently and constantly.

    If we were to rank these factors on a spectrum of difficulty where 10 is the most difficult and one is the least difficult, it might look something like this:

    As you notice, not a one of the factors is easily overcome.  Personal and/or workplace challenges are difficult because some of those situations are not internal.  They are external and companies are in a limited position of power when it comes to impacting those factors.  Apathy isn’t far behind, but it is often a symptom of those perceived challenges.  If a person is having an issue at home, it may present itself as a lack of interest or enthusiasm at work.

    Now, that’s not to say human resources or leadership can’t offer some ways of dealing with these issues.  In some instances, a wellness benefit can be of use i.e. counseling of any type be it emotion or legal.

    When it comes to autonomy, there is often a disconnect about what this actually entails.  It is not:

    • Working in isolation without supervision.
    • Allowing employees to do whatever they like, but rather employers creating guidelines that put boundaries around employee autonomy.
    • Working without a net, but rather employers providing a picture of what success looks like and tips on how to achieve it.

    It’s more about providing the means by which employees have the latitude to make their own decisions and employers provide both the tools and the guidelines to help employees succeed.  Success often leads to engagement.

    Autonomy is often the result of trust.  Leaders who trust their employees allow them to be more autonomous.  But trust goes both ways.  From a disengagement standpoint, the employee who feels they are not trusted by leadership at any level will be less likely to give of themselves.  Trust within this context can also mean the employee does not feel the company has his or her best interest at heart; that they are seen as nothing more than a number rather than a person.

    Communication ranked lower than some might consider, but its difficulty lies in the messaging.  Anyone can send an email, make a phone call or share something on social media.  It’s the context of the message; what are you as a company, as an HR professional trying to convey to the employ?  How is the employee perceiving that message and acting upon it as a result.

    From the employee perspective, it’s about communicating with the organization about any number of things be it needs or desires.  Sometimes that communication is of a sensitive nature.  How is that communication handled?  If it is handled poorly, the employee will disengage.  If it is properly handled, the translation is often an increase in engagement.

    Flexibility presents unique challenges as it is often related to scheduling and working environment.  Can an employee work different hours to complete his or her job and function at the same productivity levels as other members of the team?  Flexibility is also critical in today’s environment especially when considering work-life balance.  Can a parent still get their child to soccer practice on time and provide great service to their employer?

    Finally, we come to development.  Development is not easy.  Not by any means.  The challenges often lay in meeting people where they are, but also what they desire.  There are also challenges in making sure that learning presents a return on investment.

    Impact on the Business

    Employee engagement continues to be one of the most important metrics an organization can track.  It is, after all, not just a check box issue.  It requires constant and consistent attention.  Otherwise, human resources runs the risk of seeing gaps in engagement leading to an increase in disengagement.

    Employees aren’t simply looking for a 9-to-5, Monday through Friday job.  They want to be involved, committed and enthusiastic.  An organization that creates the right environment can continuously feed those employee needs.  In return, the organization sees continued growth and success within their industry.

     

    by Mason Stevenson
    Originally posted on HR Exchange Network

  • Data Drop: Workforce Surveys Reveal Effects of Pandemic

    November 9, 2020

    Tags: , ,

    How 2020 will be remembered is largely going to be shaped by the pandemic, both for larger society and the workplace. There is no industry that hasn’t been impacted by COVID-19 and thus, no segment of the workforce that hasn’t felt its impact.

    We can see this playing out in the data we collect. Perhaps more than any other crisis before it, data is telling its own story around COVID-19. A fair amount of this data comes straight to our inbox and we regularly review it.

    Sharing is caring as they say, so with that in mind, here are some of the latest workforce surveys that have caught our attention and statistics that may help you understand and address the issues within your own organization.

    Less Screen Time = Better Health

    The folks over at Aetna International recently surveyed 4,000 employees at mid-to-large size businesses in the U.K., U.S., UAE and Singapore about their relationship with workplace technology and what effect it had on them. While the majority of respondents say that technology makes them more effective at their jobs and at managing time, particularly at a time where remote work is so common, there was a cost associated with their health.

    Employees feel that sitting at their computer for long durations have hindered their physical health with 70% of those surveyed agreeing that they would exercise more if they spent less time at their computer.

    Additionally, 76% of employees feel that reduced or restricted out of hours technology use would help them manage their physical health better if provided by their employer. Many find themselves checking their emails and Slack or Teams accounts when they normally wouldn’t.

    The impact goes beyond the physical, however. The majority of employees from around the world agreed that the overuse of technology in the workplace has had negative effects on their mental health, with 75% agreeing that restricting the use of screen time during the workday would help them to better manage their mental health. More than half, 56%, said that the overuse of communication platforms and internal emails increases their stress levels.

    Trust

    Recent surveys from JDP asked 2,000 U.S. employees a range of questions about working from home during the pandemic. Among the most unanimous responses was centered on trust, with 92% of respondents saying they believe their bosses trusted them. Additionally, 86% say they feel they have taken advantage of the increased freedom work from home provides.

    More than three quarters of respondents say they are working different hours and two-thirds say they are more likely to work on the weekend now. Different hours didn’t translate to more hours, however, with only 33% of respondents saying they were working more.

    Whose Been Hit Hardest?

    Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown the top careers to be most affected by COVID-19 and it’s a list that won’t surprise you. Retail, hospitality, the performing arts, dental office staff and film and TV production crews have taken the biggest hit. Air transportation and real estate offices also had notable losses.

    The news isn’t necessarily a death sentence for the career of people working in those industries though. The fact is, many of them have soft skills that are becoming more important in a workforce that is taking on a human focus. The folks over at online resume builder Zety performed an analysis of more than 130 thousand resumes created between 2017 and 2019 to find which alternative career paths were most popular amongst people who held jobs in industries that are now struggling.

    By comparing the soft skills many in those industries listed on their resumes to the soft skills needed in other positions, they came up with a list of alternatives that might just help some people get back on their feet. You can see the full list on the Zety blog.

    The Visibility of Productivity

    Everyone wants their employer to know that they’re using this time at home to get work done and broadly speaking, it has shown as data suggests people have been more productive in remote work settings. But, according to recent surveys from Prodoscore, employees are even more open to the idea of productivity monitoring than you might expect.

    The company commissioned the research to put fresh numbers to trends they had been noticing for a few years as work from home arrangements gained traction and that were recently amplified in the wake of COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, around 61% of the survey participants worked from home at least part time. Now that number has increased to 77%.

    A byproduct of this is an increase in the desire to show and see productivity by both employees and employers. For employees, the motivation was clear. They want the monitoring so they can structure their day in ways that have proven to be effective, showcase their efficiency and have their efforts recognized. In all, only 10% of respondents said they didn’t like the idea.

    The survey was conducted in July 2020 in partnership with Propeller Insights. It polled 1,000 U.S.-based workers across diverse industries and included a mix of micro, SMB and enterprise businesses. Most respondents were white-collar workers (79%).

    The Need for People Data and Performance Communication

    At a time where we talk a great deal about employee engagement and experience, asking the question what employees want can trigger a wide variety of responses. A recent survey from Reflektive sought to answer that question and arrived at some conclusions that you probably already suspect.

    The survey was completed by 445 HR professionals and business leaders and 622 employees. Interestingly, employees indicated that they need more coaching and want more recognition from their managers.

    From HR and business leaders, there’s a great deal of interest in employee productivity. HR leaders indicated that they are invested in measuring the health of their performance management practices, which will be music to employees ears as it could lead to more of that coaching they seek.

    People data is a big area of interest as 60% of leaders agree that people analytics efforts are more important to them now than a year ago. Nearly three quarters of those respondents believe that they have a firm grasp of why people leave, but only 50% of them are using analytics to predict employee performance and turnover.

    Employees also expressed frustration with how to acquire feedback. One-in-four say they don’t know how to request feedback and 30% say they don’t feel empowered to initiate those conversations.

    “When tools aren’t used regularly, employees may forget what’s at their fingertips,” Rachel Ernst, CHRO at Reflektive said. “On a quarterly basis, communicate the process for requesting feedback. Additionally, when managers regularly ask for feedback, employees will start mirroring this behavior as well.”

    Originally posted on HR Exchange Network

  • Employee Engagement in a Post-COVID Workplace

    July 27, 2020

    Tags: ,

    “When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” – Simon Sinek

    The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many things. First, it has taught us that empathy and kindness goes a long way. We’ve learned that as individuals, communities, and as a nation, that we can do hard things when we work together. Finally, this pandemic has taught us that the relationship between employer and employee is a valuable one. How much the employee feels valued by their employer is called “engagement.” And this feeling of value is one that more and more companies are investing in in a post-COVID environment.

    Employee engagement is when an employee feels “high levels of involvement (passion and absorption) in the work and the organization (pride and identity) as well as affective energy (enthusiasm and alertness) and a sense of self-presence.” Let’s dive in and look at some fast facts on this subject and how to increase engagement in this new workspace we have found our world occupying.

     

    BY THE NUMBERS

    • 34% of employees and 35% of employers stated they felt engaged in their work in a 2019 Gallup poll.
    • 38% of employees now say they are “highly involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace” via a May 2020 Gallup poll.
    • This is the highest reported engagement since Gallup began measuring this topic in 2000.

     

    BOTTOM LINE

    • Unengaged employees lower productivity, innovation, and the bottom line.
    • Engaged employees have lower absenteeism and lower turnover.
    • When an employee believes that they are being heard and seen as a valued investment, they feel empowered to do their best work.
    • Teams that report being engaged in the workplace have 21% higher profitability than those who report being unengaged.

     

    HOMESCHOOL

    • One way to create engagement in the workplace is to promote learning opportunities at home for employees. This can be done in virtual workshops for remote workers.
    • If a company’s investment is in learning and development, this shows the employee that their employer sees their future as important.
    • Positive results of investing in workforce education include increased employee engagement, more innovation, and increased understanding of the company’s goals.
    • Remote employees who participate in a company’s virtual training report that beyond the educational benefit they receive, they also feel as though they are being equipped with new skills for handling stressful situations once they are able to return to work.

     

    RESOURCES

    There are numerous blogs and articles and creative educational interaction sites to keep employees engaged and learning while remote. Below are some fun and creative sites to help you create your own engagement campaign for your organization.

     

  • The Cause of Disengagement | California Employee Benefits Group

    April 13, 2020

    Tags: , ,

    For decades, employee engagement has been the gold standard in measuring the way employees interact with the business.  In today’s world, especially where the coronavirus is concerned, it’s not just about the interaction but also the level of commitment to the company.  While all human resources professionals would like to believe their employees are committed to their organization, the statistics simply don’t paint that type of picture.

    Over the last two decades, Gallup reports the percentage of employees disengaged at work has averaged 70 percent.1  And it’s been costly.  Disengaged employees have 18 percent lower productivity with profitability being 15 percent lower.2  When put into dollars and cents – “an actively disengaged employee costs their organization $3,400 for every $10,000 of salary, or 34 percent. That means an actively disengaged employee who makes $60,000 a year costs their company $20,400 a year!”3

    So, what’s the answer to increasing engagement across the enterprise and, in doing so, increasing productivity and profits?

    Disengagement and Engagement

    The Causes

    Defining what employee engagement is, in reality, is critical to understanding its benefits and its challenges.  Generally speaking, every HR professional has a different definition but all include the basic component that an engaged employee is one who commits to the organization and gives of him or herself freely to the success of the company.

    Engagement

    But what causes employee engagement?  Let’s take a psychological approach.

    The term was first coined by psychologist William Kahn in a 1990 study titled Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work.4  In the piece, Khan studied two different workplaces:  a very structured and formal architecture firm and a casual summer camp.  From his observations, he defined engagement as “the harnessing of organization members’ selves to their work roles; in engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during role performances”.

    Additionally, Kahn outlined three psychological conditions that allow engagement to exist:

    1. Meaningfulness – Is the work meaningful enough to the employee that he/she engages with their full-self?
    2. Safety – Is the work environment such that a person can bring their full-self without fear of criticism?
    3. Availability – Is the employee mentally and physically able to express their full-self in the work environment?

    Kahn further stated those individuals who are fully engaged with the organization will take ownership of their work and will be loyal to the organization.  Additionally, he said engagement isn’t a constant.  Any number of experiences can cause engagement to change.

    Of course, Kahn’s original definition has changed somewhat over the three decades since it was first coined.  As previously mentioned, engagement has become more about the employee’s willingness to go “above and beyond”5 to benefit the organization.

    “People are wanting to feel that investment from their organization and that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a massive thing, but they want it to feel like it’s a two-way street,” Christopher Lind said.  He’s the Head of Global Digital Learning for GE Healthcare.  “It’s not so much a ‘you’re here to serve the employer’ thing.  People are looking for that partnership. ‘I’m here to serve you.  You’re here to serve me.  And how are we meeting in the middle?”

    Disengagement

    Understanding how engagement works is only half the battle.  For HR to move the needle and make significant improvements, there needs to be an understanding of what can cause disengagement.

    A key indicator of disengagement is apathy.  Other factors occur when there is a lack of:

    • Autonomy
    • Communication
    • Flexibility
    • Development
    • Trust
    • Personal and/or Workplace Challenges

    While it’s not an exhaustive list, it is a very real possibility one or more of these can exist within an organization.  The challenge lies in trying to figure out how best to address each consistently and constantly.

    If we were to rank these factors on a spectrum of difficulty where 10 is the most difficult and one is the least difficult, it might look something like this:

    As you notice, not a one of the factors is easily overcome.  Personal and/or workplace challenges are difficult because some of those situations are not internal.  They are external and companies are in a limited position of power when it comes to impacting those factors.  Apathy isn’t far behind, but it is often a symptom of those perceived challenges.  If a person is having an issue at home, it may present itself as a lack of interest or enthusiasm at work.

    Now, that’s not to say human resources or leadership can’t offer some ways of dealing with these issues.  In some instances, a wellness benefit can be of use i.e. counseling of any type be it emotion or legal.

    When it comes to autonomy, there is often a disconnect about what this actually entails.  It is not:

    • Working in isolation without supervision.
    • Allowing employees to do whatever they like, but rather employers creating guidelines that put boundaries around employee autonomy.
    • Working without a net, but rather employers providing a picture of what success looks like and tips on how to achieve it.

    It’s more about providing the means by which employees have the latitude to make their own decisions and employers provide both the tools and the guidelines to help employees succeed.  Success often leads to engagement.

    Autonomy is often the result of trust.  Leaders who trust their employees allow them to be more autonomous.  But trust goes both ways.  From a disengagement standpoint, the employee who feels they are not trusted by leadership at any level will be less likely to give of themselves.  Trust within this context can also mean the employee does not feel the company has his or her best interest at heart; that they are seen as nothing more than a number rather than a person.

    Communication ranked lower than some might consider, but its difficulty lies in the messaging.  Anyone can send an email, make a phone call or share something on social media.  It’s the context of the message; what are you as a company, as an HR professional trying to convey to the employ?  How is the employee perceiving that message and acting upon it as a result.

    From the employee perspective, it’s about communicating with the organization about any number of things be it needs or desires.  Sometimes that communication is of a sensitive nature.  How is that communication handled?  If it is handled poorly, the employee will disengage.  If it is properly handled, the translation is often an increase in engagement.

    Flexibility presents unique challenges as it is often related to scheduling and working environment.  Can an employee work different hours to complete his or her job and function at the same productivity levels as other members of the team?  Flexibility is also critical in today’s environment especially when considering work-life balance.  Can a parent still get their child to soccer practice on time and provide great service to their employer?

    Finally, we come to development.  Development is not easy.  Not by any means.  The challenges often lay in meeting people where they are, but also what they desire.  There are also challenges in making sure that learning presents a return on investment.

    Impact on the Business

    Employee engagement continues to be one of the most important metrics an organization can track.  It is, after all, not just a check box issue.  It requires constant and consistent attention.  Otherwise, human resources runs the risk of seeing gaps in engagement leading to an increase in disengagement.

    Employees aren’t simply looking for a 9-to-5, Monday through Friday job.  They want to be involved, committed and enthusiastic.  An organization that creates the right environment can continuously feed those employee needs.  In return, the organization sees continued growth and success within their industry.

     

    by Mason Stevenson
    Originally posted on HR Exchange Network

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