Improving Employee Engagement

HR Directors Discuss The Era of Engagement and its Challenges

Human resources departments grapple with employee engagement. There’s a vein of commonality HR directors share when discussing their biggest employee engagement challenges . In an era in which “engaging people well is becoming one of the biggest competitive differentiators in business,” as stated by Josh Bersin, it’s crucial to take a look at some of the most common challenges organizations face to improve employee engagement:

  1. The organization’s employee engagement strategy isn’t part of the business plan.
      This is a critical shift in organizational philosophy. Over the past thirty years employee engagement has become an important part of any organization. Now, though, engagement is considered (and is) intrinsic to success, and a business plan that doesn’t have a strategic employee engagement program is missing a critical piece of the puzzle. The thread that connects employee engagement to customer satisfaction and employee engagement to business performance is irrefutable. Therefore, creating an effective employee engagement strategy that aligns with the organization’s business plan is key.

  2. Organizations don’t have a clear employee engagement strategy.
      Here is where many organizations fall flat. Engagement goes far beyond a checklist of things-to-know or things-to-do. Strategy is culture. Engaged employees have a sense of pertinence to the success of a company. The prototype of success has moved from a top-down model to one in which employees’ ideas must be at the heart of strategic decision making. The world (of business) is becoming flat.

  3. Organizations don’t measure employee engagement in a holistic, regular way.
      Improving employee engagement can’t stop with one survey. The annual survey continues to be an important part of measuring engagement and critical for benchmarking engagement issues. But it can’t stop there. The survey is meant to help an organization act and change. Businesses are now evolving, daily, and if they don’t act upon the data provided by a benchmarked survey to use as a catalyst for change, then the survey is a waste of time and money.

      A more integrated evaluation of employee engagement on a daily basis must be implemented. One option is pulse surveys. They are used to measure the heartbeat of an organization, ideal to catch emerging engagement problems as well as being effective in determining if efforts to improve engagement are working.

  4. Accountability, responsibility, and curbing turnover.
      Creating an organizational culture in which an employee feels like she’s part of the process and is accountable for her actions and development is one of the most elusive issues organizations face. Because organizations are flattening out, each individual has to be responsible for her part in the whole. “Passing the buck” to upper management doesn’t work. This sense of autonomy and valuing each employee as a key contributor topples the archaic top-down model.

There is an old maxim that “employees leave managers.” That has evolved. Employees now leave organizations as well. Tapping into what matters to your employees and aligning that with an organization’s values is a huge challenge. Take a look at what your organization’s biggest challenges are regarding engagement and address them in strategic, meaningful ways.

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