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Rethink Employee Engagement — Already?

Employee engagement continues to be a hot-button issue for employers and HR professionals worldwide.

Some of the questions swirling around this issue include: How, exactly, should we define employee engagement? Does engagement really drive productivity? Are employee satisfaction and happiness part of employee engagement? And, of course, how can we improve our engagement levels?

Last year, Forbes published an article with the provocative title, “It’s Time To Rethink Employee Engagement.” While many organizations had just begun seriously thinking about engagement, the article declared that we already needed to rethink it. To be fair, the author makes a number of points worth considering. For instance, for companies conducting employee engagement surveys: “Don’t treat every opinion the same. Listen to what your top performers tell you. They’ve proved their value and earned their credibility, so go ahead: play favorites.”

Naturally, whether to think (or rethink) about employee engagement is something each organization must evaluate on its own. And there’s plenty of research available to help. (Just cruise through some of our past posts for links to a variety of helpful reports and sources.) But as we all give thought to engagement, here’s a summary of specific items that have the greatest impact on employee engagement, as ranked by 6,000 HR professionals who participated in a 2013 SHRM/Globoforce survey.

  • Appreciation by direct supervisor – 71%
  • Opportunity to advance – 41%
  • Salary and bonus – 36%
  • Ability to be effective in one’s job – 35%
  • Company’s care for employees’ well-being – 30%
  • Confidence in executive leadership – 29%
  • Relationship with peers – 22%
  • Belief in company’s mission – 18%
  • Appreciation by peers – 11%
  • Job title – 4%
  • Other – 2%

Again, it’s your decision whether to rethink your organization’s employee engagement. But here’s an interesting quote from William Werhane of Hay Group, the global management consulting firm: “In the current economic environment, high performing organizations have remained focused on employee feedback, and as a result, have achieved significant business results through enhanced levels of employee engagement and enablement.”

That’s something worth thinking about.