M. Zulfiquar Hussain
CEO & Lead Consultant, grow n excel, Human Resources & Management Consultants
Are your employees aligned with the organization’s objectives? Are you sure that the employees of your organization have both emotional and rational commitment towards your organization? Do you see high level of enthusiasm by your employees during work? Do you think your employees are willing to go the extra mile to deliver? Are you in need of hr consultancy to help improve your employee performance?
Answers to the above questions are important for HR professionals to understand employee engagement for any organization. In the recent past, C level executives, HR professionals and researchers have been concentrating on this contemporary HR topic and they are concerned about how to improve current level of engagement for maximizing organizational performance. Employee engagement has been recognized as one of the top priorities for today’s organizations. They recognize that employees are what makes their business possible. In fact, more businesses are getting the key man insurance available on this website for their most important employees because they know they won’t be able to cope if they lost them. However, a recent trend shows that employees are not finding meaning in their work, they do not understand how they are contributing to the organization’s objectives and plan to leave the company at an early stage. In order to win the battle for loyal customers and to be ahead of the competition, we need to critically review the elements of employee engagement and its implications in driving high-performance culture and retention.
Companies with highly engaged employees grew revenues two and a half times as much as those with low engagement levels, a Hay Group study found. Therefore, it is important to create that enabling environment where employees feel personally respected and valued, have a strong sense of purpose, and demonstrate the ability to make decisions. In order to understand specific engagement levels and to get further employee insights, an employee engagement survey is conducted periodically by many successful companies across the world. Many companies also tend to see such surveys as means to strengthen their internal communications. This can be so because when companies conduct these surveys, it brings an amount of honest and transparent employee grievances. The main objective of such an engagement survey is to understand the key retention issues as well as areas that require improvement in the different streams of people management practices.
It is evident that there is a strong relationship between employee engagement and customer satisfaction. It means if employee engagement increases by a certain percentage, such improves customer satisfaction and vice versa. The relationship between employees and their customers is mutually reinforcing. Employees who are better aligned with the organization’s values, objectives and mission are more productive, give better service, and even stay in their jobs longer. All of these lead to happier customers. We are aware that happier customers contribute significantly to the profitability of the organization. On the other hand, employee disengagement is costing many organizations substantially.
A good number of international HR consulting firms like Gallup, ISR, and Hewitt have introduced structured models to measure employee engagement. Usually, 10-15 questions are set as main engagement questions. Engagement level is determined after giving proper weightage to these questions. In general, employees respond on a 5 point scale and these are summarized as actively engaged, not engaged and actively disengaged (Source: Towers Perrin – ISR).
The result of the survey is analyzed critically and it is interpreted on several dimensions such as department, tenure, age and geographic location etc. ‘Actively Engaged’ employees are loyal and psychologically committed to the organization. They are more productive and more likely to stay with their company. These employees have most of their performance-related workplace needs to be met. However, ‘not engaged’ employees may be productive but they are not psychologically connected to their company. They are more likely to miss workdays and more likely to leave their company. These employees have some of their performance-related workplace needs met but have many needs unmet. ‘Actively disengaged’ employees are physically present but psychologically absent. They are unhappy with their work situation and insist on sharing that unhappiness with their colleagues. These employees have most of their performance related workplace needs unmet. To alleviate these problems, employee programs like an expansion of job benefits, strengthening employee relationships, focusing on employee engagement, etc., could be brought in. Team building activities like virtual team games (for remote workers), ice-breaker sessions etc., can help the employees regain their motivation.
In addition to employee engagement level, it is important to review number of people management practices and these are equally important for overall organizational success. Usually, practices like innovation, culture, leadership, work environment, collaboration, compensation etc. are incorporated. Ideally, 12-15 people practices are selected where around 50-55 questions are considered.
Designing right questions that capture engagement components and specific needs are challenging and many organizations consider external assistance where HR consulting firms are engaged. Employee comments are also essential for further review and analysis along with measuring the engagement and satisfaction level. Therefore, the survey should also provide employees an option to share their views and comments as many issues are not possible to capture in the survey questionnaire.
Finally, it is important to evaluate and interpret results of employee engagement survey properly. Specially, more focus is required for key engagement questions where detailed analysis is required. Based on the survey observations and findings, Human Resources Department needs to develop a road map for next 12-15 months. However, we should not forget the positive results and strengths highlighted in the survey which requires full attention for the next level of excellence.
Employee engagement is more than job satisfaction and commitment. Business leaders and senior management needs to work with HR and line mangers to improve engagement level on a continuous basis. We need to ensure right focus on employee engagement which influences employees to stay, connect and commit to the organization and certainly, it impacts the bottom line as well.