Mirror, Mirror: Who’s the Fairest in Engagementland?

For those of us prone to mirror-gazing and taking stock at this introspective time of year, here’s something worth pondering: are we really doing what it takes to nurture employee engagement within our companies?
It’s a fair question, especially when you consider the powerful benefits that derive from superior employee engagement, e.g., enhanced productivity, improved innovation, greater profitability and reduced turnover, to name a few. The media has been filled with stories about these benefits and about the incentives that employers use to raise engagement levels.
But far less has been written about the attributes shared by companies that enjoy superior employee engagement. A notable exception is the Hay Group’s report titled, “What it takes to become a high performing company.”
In addition to highlighting the key attributes of companies with high employee engagement, the report also calls attention to this critical fact: companies boasting high engagement levels also are high-performing companies. They’re industry leaders in terms of their financial performance. “Indeed, these organizations roughly double industry averages on five-year ROA, ROI and ROE,” the authors write.
As the report shows, here are a few of the key attributes shared by high-performing, high-engagement companies:
·      They treat employee development as a priority. “Employees in high performing companies offer more favorable views of their ability to improve their skills in their jobs. As a result, they are more confident about their ability to achieve their career objectives by continuing to work for the company.”
·      They treat employees with great regard. “Those organizations that show a high regard for employees are more likely to find them willing to go above and beyond the formal requirements of their jobs, pour extra effort into their work, and deliver superior performance.”
·      They have leaders who lead. “Good leadership is widely known to make a significant difference to bottom-line performance … High performing companies are viewed as having effective leadership, leaders (whom) employees can trust and have confidence in, and leaders whose actions and behaviors are consistent with company values.”
·      They keep employees aligned with business goals. “High performing companies help employees to feel fully aligned with the organization by ensuring that strategies and goals are clearly communicated to employees and that employees are regularly informed about business plans and results.”
Again, these are just some of the attributes covered in the report, which also offers related statistical data for you digits-driven thinkers.
Clearly, as responsible employers and HR professionals, we need to give these attributes our serious consideration. But for those of us interested in transforming our companies into high-performance dynamos, our consideration isn’t enough. We must actively nurture these attributes in the New Year.