The Power or Powerlessness of Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement Blog

Employee turnover is a large problem, well-known by all organizations. Statistically, just about half of your employees are actively looking for a new job as we speak. Scary, right? I know.

Now let’s talk about a strong word that can drastically help, Engagement! Employee engagement can be a daunting task. However, when it’s done with strategy and relevancy, it can be extremely rewarding for your organization.  Evidence has consistently shown that engaging your employees can improve performance in profitability, productivity, turnover, customer satisfaction, and so much more. When you think of employee engagement you might think of mentoring, career development or team building activities. Those are great and powerful, however, it goes way beyond that, and engagement changes as generations change and employee expectations grow. [i]

Sure, engagement activities can be an investment for the company and sometimes don’t pan out, so it’s important to keep in mind the relevancy of your programs, and how they impact each and every employee. Ask yourself, if that team building activity was linked to an employee’s goal or value, does that staff outing create better connections between employees? This is becoming more challenging as companies become more multigenerational. As a leader, the way you show appreciation may come across differently to a Gen-X or a Millennial. Keep in mind, your choice of activity or your appreciation can include a variety of approaches to ensure you encompass all ages, interests, and needs. For instance, our younger generation seems to be more motivated by team building activities, while the older generation feels appreciated by paid time off. So, maybe your organization could try a team building competition with the winners enjoying an extended lunch break, just an idea!

Brandon Hall Group completed a survey on engagement practices which yielded some interesting results on the generational differences in value. [ii]

Younger Age-Mix Older Age-Mix
Team building activities 54% 46%
Recognition programs 44% 29%
Career development 38% 56%
Coaching, mentoring 40% 51%
Work/life balance supports 44% 59%
Wellness/well-being 30% 40%

As a Millennial, I value leadership that is evolving with time. I am part of a generation for whom being constantly plugged into our computers, tablets, and phones seem to be rewarded behavior, and working from home is becoming more regular. I work hard to make sure I am “that” employee. I know nothing else. However, this can hurt an organization’s quality or work, productivity and overall retention. We need to remember to unplug, sometimes, and engage with our co-workers face to face. According to Brandon Hall Group, “Millennials cite a lack of development as a number one reason to leave a job.” [iii] Incorporating instructor-led training into your employee engagement routine that includes integrated team building and career development can really boost enthusiasm creating better work ethic and ultimately increased ROI.

Take a look these 5 elements that can drive engagement:

engagement blog

Companies have found that the spark, which was seen in the interview, dies shortly after the employee’s first day.  Harvard Business School found that in 85% of companies morale declines drastically after six months of employment, and then just continues to decrease. [iv] I recently saw a friend post on Facebook asking her followers to comment if they truly loved their job. If you can imagine, out of her over 1300 followers not one person commented. Was it fear or was it they truly could not say they loved their job. Keep in mind, engagement needs to start from the interview, carry through to onboarding and orientation, and continue throughout the employee’s tenure. If you start out with a bang and then fizzle, it does not go unnoticed. Keep it consistent, keep it relevant and keep it motivating. A great way to recognize if your systems are working is to track results. If you notice something isn’t producing great hype, modify and try again.

It’s time to dig up your creativity and engage your employees! Visit our new hire training page to see how we can benefit your organization.



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