What image comes to your mind when you hear following phrases - high staff-turnover, high absenteeism, high stress level, and political in-fighting, difficulty in taking decisions, ineffective communication process and poor adherence to company values? Did you see image of your organization or workplace? Well, these are signs of companies that have cultivated a culture which raises disengaged employees.
But I do have employees who are working with us for last 10 years or more. Let’s not confuse Employee Engagement with employee satisfaction or loyalty. Employee loyalty and satisfaction does not necessarily mean that employees are engaged and offer discretionary effort. What might be perceived as loyalty is that although the majority of employees may like their work, they may not necessarily be motivated to give discretionary effort. Research by organizations such as Gallup shows that on an average no matter how long employees stay with an organization or how satisfied they are with their job, ONLY 29% are typically fully engaged with the company and willing to give discretionary effort. Another 49% will be indifferent and 22% actively disengaged.
So, what is employee engagement? Employee engagement is personified by the passion and energy employees have to give of their best to the organization to serve the customer. It is all about the willingness and ability of employees to give sustained discretionary effort to help their organization succeed.
Engagement is characterized by employees being committed to the organization, believing on what it stands for and being prepared to go above and beyond what is expected of them to deliver outstanding service to the customer. Employee engagement is more a psychological contract than a physical one. It is something the employee has to offer. As we will see, employees make choice about how they behave and the extent to which they are engaged. Engaged employees feel inspired by their work, they are customer focused in their approach, and they care about the future of the company and are prepared to invest their own effort to see that the organization succeeds.
Compensation and benefits does not drive employee engagement. It is the organizational culture that drives engagement. A culture that treats them as individuals, respects them, makes them knowledgeable and makes them feel special. An organization, with culture that drives high level of engagement among its employees, demonstrates the following – improved customer experience and loyalty, greater value creation, boosted business growth, sustained and long-term success, a greater sense of team, higher levels of creativity and innovation, higher retention and lowered attrition rate.
If taken in fearless environment, without rigging or fudging the outcome, employee engagement surveys provide excellent image of organizational culture. Organizations can then work off gaps to increase the engagement levels. Employee engagement surveys shall not be taken-up as once in TEN year kind of activity. It must be conducted once in TWO years.
There are companies which give below market compensation and limited benefits but they have employees who are very innovative, customer focussed and work as great team. This is possible because of the organizational culture where their contribution is acknowledged and appreciated; they are respected as individuals, and they are given opportunities to learn and grow. Among all the parameters, it is organizational culture that has direct impact on employee engagement.