If you have read any article on employee performance or organizational productivity over the last eight years, the chances are good that you came across the concept of Employee Engagement.
What do we understand by the term employee engagement?
It is a first proven method to translate the perceptions and thoughts of employees into a leading indicator or measurable index that can predict retention of top performers, customer satisfaction, employee productivity and more.
Achieving and maintaining employee engagement presents fundamental challenges during difficult macroeconomic times. Hence, your business cannot afford to put off these challenges until “times are better”.
What do you need to know about engagement?
Understanding what to do next begins with comprehending a little more about engagement. However, it is beyond the scope of this article to present all the aspects of employee engagement; there are a handful things about personal engagement that you need to know:
Why should I care? – To an enterprise, the value of employee engagement lies as a predictor of discretionary effort and future behavior. Engagement, when correctly evaluated provides a statistical way to maximize the return on human capital.
An effort on employee engagement enables employers to improve business performance and increase economic contribution while enhancing the quality of work life. In the world of hard to measure intellectual labor and hyper-changing markets, employee engagement is the direct responsibility of leadership and an indispensable organizational tool.
What is the business case for staff engagement? – According to the company leaders, highly engaged employees deal better with problems, are more cognitively flexible, perform at the higher level and respond to change better, than lower engaged employees.
Most significantly, client facing and service organizations with higher engaged employees create and maintain healthy customer relationships. Let’s take a look at some studies exhibiting that higher level of engagement results in:
- Greater loyalty (remains with the organization longer than less-engaged employees)
- Greater ownership in solving customer and organization problems
- The employment cost of an organization consistently reduces
How is employee engagement measured?
A high participation is evaluated from employees response collected through survey questions and feedback interviews. An individual’s degree of loyalty, pride, advocacy, and commitment and, more to the organization and its goals.
Subsequently, engaged results can be diced and sliced in different ways to determine at a strategic business unit level, organizational level, a unit level and other levels including outcomes of varied demographics.
Depending on firm’s “normative” database results can also be compared externally. Country results, local results, industry results, and other sub-groups can further enhance the value of action planning and comparison.
How Does the External Environment Affect Engagement?
In the prevalent economic challenges, most everyone who is employed is happy to have a job. A maximum number of employees, even those who like what they do, are proud of the enterprise and go an extra mile to assist clients. However, some employees who were before abstemiously engaged may be so contented with their job that they became highly involved.
There is simply no doubt the current economic downturn influences employee engagement. Preceding business cycles may have concerned only a small number of personnel. In contrast, the economic fluctuation has affected nearly everyone’s sense of security and safety.
What should employers do?
Characteristically, initiatives and activities aimed at raising employee engagement have been mostly targeted at improving employees’ sense of significance or sense of belonging. These conventional involvements are still crucial; however, when your employees are alarmed more about essential things, these activities do little to temporarily “relieve” anxiety.
Below are four ACTIONS that Recruitment leaders/ CHROs or/and Hiring Managers can take to make a difference during global downturn:
- Communicate Perspective
Regardless of your company’s complexity and size, share the collective thoughts of your senior management team regarding the current economic situation. Such communication includes answers to following questions:
- What inflation model do you support?
- When do you expect sales to change?
- How about margins/profits?
- How or will stimulus package affect your organization?
This exhibits the team is aware what is happening in the world and has considered the information as a part of their planning process.
- Communicate the Positive
When financial information relevant to employees exists, share it fully, formally and frequently. This can include, industry or sector data, financial data, state or national data, state or regional data, and as appropriate or necessary international data.
In case, your organization change plan administrators, communicate the information as a POSITIVE.
- Make it Personal
When it comes to empowering the employees, this action becomes extremely useful, reducing fear and creating a path forward. On organization time, provide confidential and voluntary personal financial review for all personnel interested in the process.
- Empower through Training
Few companies provide financial information or education to their employees beyond basic benefits. Now is the time to do MORE, including,
- Provide company-sponsored economic training on topics like managing a home budget, reducing credit card debt, prioritizing expenses and how to invest, etc.
- Work with the plan administrator to provide updates of company sponsored benefits
Such type of efforts shows employees that organization is genuinely interested in helping them to get through this downturn.
When economic fluctuations occur, there is a direct impact on more than just a bottom line. Employees can quickly lose faith in the future and the leadership of the organization. The CHRO’s and Organization leaders view these times as an opportunity to empower employees with their financial future and minimize employees financial anxiety through knowledge will reap long and short-term benefits.