The quality and level of employee engagement can have a direct impact on the financial and operational performance of organisations. In an open letter (reported in the Financial Times) leaders of some of the UK’s largest companies are calling on business leaders to ‘engage for success’.
Meanwhile, in an extensive global survey of 32,000 people working in 29 countries around the world, Towers Watson sets out to uncover the current status of employee engagement and to give organisational leaders important insights into the key elements of the work environment that can help shape employee behaviour and performance in positive ways. The report calls for a revised definition of employee engagement – sustainable engagement – which answers the complexities facing 21st century organisations.
Sustainable employee engagement
Employee engagement matters. Highly engaged employees have lower levels of absenteeism, are more productive at work and are less likely to leave their employers.
The report recommends that leaders focus on developing their own competencies, particularly ones which will help strengthen the connections between themselves and their employees. Leadership competencies to develop include: global and cultural acumen; rapid decision making; risk leveraging and technological competence and high level, agile interpersonal skills.
A shared view of goals
Stress levels and a sense of alienation are inevitable if employees feel confused about what they should be doing. Leaders should attempt to identify the cause of this gap in understanding. Remedies include:
- Ensuring managers can understand the link between business strategy and individual/departmental objectives – and are able to communicate these
- Ensuring information is cascaded appropriately
- Ensuring goals and performance are communicated clearly
- Ensuring performance management processes are robust
Organisational policies must enable employees to live more balanced lives, manage their own workload and benefit from increased autonomy about how, where and when they work.
The report, Global Workforce Study 2012 – Engagement at Risk: driving strong performance in a volatile global environment is available free of charge here.