Employee engagement is certainly a buzz phrase at the moment. The Corporate Leadership Council (CLC) estimate that 20% of employees in the UK are highly disengaged meaning they are not happy or satisfied in their roles and not loyal to their employers.
However, in this current climate of high unemployment, is that really a cause for concern? People are not leaving the jobs they have or, if they do, plenty of others are looking so they can easily be replaced. Well, that attitude has a logical argument to support it but doesn’t take into account the benefits of employee engagement. Viewing people as the line in the company accounts titled ‘resource costs’ is short sighted and foolish in business terms.
Positive employee engagement unleashes productivity, creativity and pro-activity. All these ‘tivities’ mean an unrivalled energy in your company that is noticed by customers, prospects, suppliers, competitors and other people who want to become your employee.
“You sort of smell it, don’t you, that engagement of people as people. What goes on in meetings, how people talk to each other. You get the sense of energy, engagement, commitment, belief in what the organisation stands for.”
Lord Currie, former Chair of the Office of Communications (Ofcom) taken from ‘Engaging for Success: enhancing performance through employee engagement’ by David MacLeod and Nita Clarke, 2009.
Furthermore an engaged employee will behave in certain ways which will define certain outcomes such as improved customer satisfaction because the call centre staff have gone the extra mile, or reduced conflict or absenteeism because employees are happier to be at work. As a result, employee engagement is measurable and more and more research is showing that an organisation with engaged employees out perform organisations who do not have the same level of engagement.
In 2006 a Gallup survey found that organisations with low employee engagement levels had 51% more employee turnover than those with high engagement levels. A second Gallup survey in the same year showed that the Earnings per Share growth was 2.6 times higher in organisations with high employee engagement compared to those with low engagement levels.
Of course, many people are already convinced that employee engagement is a good thing. It’s the application of a strategy that causes problems. There is a plethora of studies that show what has worked for other organisations and there are many companies offering services to help you improve your employee engagement. Where to start?
- Recognise that you are dealing with people who are all different, have different emotions and motivators and need to be treated as individuals. Therefore having a ‘one size fits all’ generic solution will probably not work.
- Measuring and benchmarking is important. If done correctly you will know where to focus your effort and you will know if those efforts have been successful.
- Don’t stay on one level, think outside the box.
The levels I use are:
This is the basic level that most people operate on. There are many models available that help us to build teams, create effective managers, measure and benchmark, etc. It’s all valid stuff but, it’s only the beginning.
Don’t overlook the working environment. The most recent Workplace Employee Relations Survey (WERS) showed that job satisfaction levels varied across workplaces suggesting that the working environment had an impact on engagement as well as demographics and the role itself.
There are many aspects of our working environment that have an impact on us biologically, emotionally and mentally such as lighting, ventilation and colour. If detrimental this will affect employee engagement.
This third level is based on classic Feng Shui principles which, in a nutshell, harmonise the energetic levels of the people, with the energetic level of the organisation, within the energetic level of the environment. Harmony is the key word here and it is a crucial factor for high levels of employee engagement.
Pull these three levels together and you have a unique synergistic solution for your organisation. I call this process Business Energetics. It’s a little out of the box and encourages you not to be a sheep. After all, if you want to stay one jump ahead in the market you need to get out of the box first and let the sheep follow you.
Jackie Notman is a copywriter, feng shui consultant and e-commerce retailer. This article is from her blog ‘Life – and everything else’ where you’ll find an eclectic mix of articles and information.
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