This just in: Your employee engagement is down

Can’t keep it up?

You’re not alone. Employers worldwide can’t keep it up either. If you’re experiencing snowball effects such as:

  • Increased turnover rates
  • Decreased employee empowerment
  • Unsatisfying performance results
  • Poor team culture

…then it’s time you admit that your employee engagement strategy needs a makeover.

 

Aon Hewitt recently released their disturbing analysis on employee engagement levels in 2011 in workplaces across the world. They reported shockingly low levels of engagement, levels that have failed to increase since 2008.

 “At the end of the third quarter, Aon Hewitt analyzed its employee engagement database of more than 5,700 employers, representing five million employees worldwide. The findings reveal an engagement level of 56 percent thus far in 2011, which is the same as 2010, but lower than 2009 (60 percent) and 2008 (57 percent). Traditionally, engagement levels between 65 percent and 100 percent represent a high-performing culture; 45 percent to 65 percent indicate the workforce is indifferent to organizational success or failure; and anything lower than 45 percent represents a serious or destructive range.”

Take a moment to reflect on that. And then ask yourself, why? Why are we letting ourselves fall victim to the “what goes up must come down” law of nature?

It couldn’t be spelled out more clearly for employers: employees + engagement = business results. And that’s what makes it difficult to understand why companies have failed to evolve – or even adopt – an engagement solution. There are many possible reasons why this problem has been perpetuated. Here are three major trends in 2011 that I believe to have contributed to disengagement. Last year, employers continued to:

  • Remain uninformed about the significance of employee engagement
  • Stereotype “engagement” as a fluffy and immeasurable topic
  • Be completely preoccupied with social media

It’s 2012 now; if you’re looking for business success this year (and really, who isn’t?), then it’s time to get informed about employee engagement.  It’s been researched, studied and published – HR industry analysts stand behind the performance and engagement equation, with recognition being the best form of driving engagement and motivating your workforce. The reality is that a “thank you” is much more powerful than a bonus, not to mention entirely aligned to business success. Makes you wonder why you’re not recognizing more, doesn’t it?

If you can identify with any of the three trends above that reigned top of mind in 2011, I encourage you to consider these in 2012 to boost your employee engagement scores:

  1. Set realistic goals and be transparent with your teams about expectations
  2. Open the lines of communication and meet regularly with employees to provide feedback and facilitate status reports
  3. Establish a recognition rhythm by following-up and using the power of a “thank you” to reinforce positive results
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