Employees In Alberta

Employee Engagement – Outcome or State of Mind?

Recently, the majority of the conversations I have had with Senior Leaders have revolved around Employee Engagement. While Employee Engagement is not a new issue, it is a topic I am passionate about. Why is engagement consistently such a hot topic?

Before attempting to answer that, I would like to offer a definition of engagement that I found in 2017 HRWINS report, to ensure we are on the same wavelength.

Employee Engagement: “Emotional connection an employee feels toward his or her employment organization, which tends to influence his or her behaviours and level of effort in work related activities.”

This definition resonated with me because it recognizes the emotional aspect of the equation, in influencing work effort. I do not believe that Employee Engagement is an outcome in itself; it is a state of being. I purport that Employee Engagement (like your mood) is fluid and ever changing. Employee Engagement is influenced by a myriad of factors, some of which; like the price of oil and election results, are outside the control of the employer.

To substantiate this view, I offer the results from the 2017 Trends in Global Engagement – a report published by Aon Hewitt, which summarizes how global engagement scores have declined for the first time since 2012. This decline is linked to global events like Brexit, the new US administration and increasingly advanced technologies.

One country where the engagement index went up, was our Northern paradise. Yes, Canada!, where the engagement score went from 69 to 70%. I grant you that this is not a huge increase, but an increase nevertheless. However, I digress….Why should employers care about and frequently measure (attempt to quantify) Employee Engagement?

Well, research from some of the leading consulting firms (like Deloitte and Aon Hewitt, among a few) tell us that many of the factors or ‘drivers’ of Employee Engagement are within the control of the employer.

Deloitte has five factors that drive engagement; Meaningful work, Supportive Management, Positive Work Environment, Opportunity for growth and Trust in leadership. Each factor has its’ own subcategories for more depth.

Aon Hewitt has arrived at six engagement drivers. They are: Company Practices, The Basics, Brand, Leadership, Performance and The Work. Once again there are sub-categories for further explanation.

Both Deloitte and Aon produce great engagement research. I like the simplicity of the Deloitte model (I think it is easier to understand), but I also like how Aon has gone a step further by linking the Engagement Drivers to Engagement Outcomes and ultimately Business Outcomes. This linkage makes it is easier to understand the value of participating in Employee Engagement Surveys.

Employee Engagement feedback can act like a barometer for the leaders of an organization. You can quantify the link between an increase in the emotional connectivity of an employee to an improved business outcome (i.e. a 5% increase in sales or a 10% reduction in employee turnover) by asking about factors you can control.

In summary, there are many contributing factors to the ‘state’ of Employee Engagement. Some of these ‘drivers’ are within the control of the employer. Higher levels of Employee Engagement (state of mind) can lead to improved business outcomes. There is only one way to ascertain what your employees are feeling….ask them.

Want to explore how your organization can leverage Engagement Drivers to improve Business Outcomes? Salopek & Associates would be happy to speak with you about employee engagement and partner with you to conduct an Employee Engagement Survey or develop processes that measure and leverage engagement to drive organizational success. Contact us today to speak with one of our HR consultant in Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto or Fort McMurray.

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