Driving Employee Engagement In Your Organization – The Why and The How

Research in Aon Hewitt’s 2015 Trends in Global Engagement study1 has shown that the level of employee engagement of the typical Singaporean employee is now at 59%, which is a decrease of three percent from 2013. 

Row of business people sitting at seminar, focus on attentive young female

The Need to Engage Your Employees

Human capital – a talented and skilled workforce – remains as your company’s top asset in the intense competition of business and market share. A skilled workforce that is actively engaged is the most powerful factor that will drive your organization towards higher productivity levels, business growth and a positive company reputation. Disengaged employees lack enthusiasm for and a connection to their job, and are less committed to your organization. Because they are tuned out or feel disassociated from organizational activities, there is a higher likelihood of them leaving your organization on a negative note. Their ambivalence to what is going on around them can even affect the morale of colleagues around them, and lead to a drop in productivity and performance in the long run.

In the same 2015 Aon Hewitt study, the top five drivers of employee engagement (in Asia Pacific) were found to be career opportunities, EVP, recognition, reputation and lastly pay.

How can you then, as an employer, a HR director or line manager, actively start to identify and re-engage these disengaged employees?  The answer: turn to your talent management solution, study your HR data and put it to work for you.

Detecting Disengagement

In the course of rapidly growing an organization to catch up in a competitive market, it is easy for managers to lose sight of how growth and change can also affect their staff.

Regular performance appraisals are one way managers can stay in touch with their staff and their job development.  A well-designed appraisal process can also allow managers to measure an employee’s engagement and satisfaction levels. 

With an effective integrated talent management system, it means the appraisal process, and the collected results, is built into and unified with your full HR data.  With a perpetual record history of their staff, managers will find they have a full version of the truth of an employee’s job history, job development and engagement levels over his whole tenure with the company. 

The role of the performance appraisal also lets the employee give, and receive, honest feedback.  This is the best opportunity for a manager to listen to feedback from the employee about the organization and his role in the organization.  Even if the employee does not provide direct feedback, a manager that is experienced in the art of employee appraisals, coupled with a well-designed appraisal process and an effective performance appraisal solution, can learn a lot from an employee and discern his levels of association and engagement with the organization.

The performance appraisal should also set the scenario for the manager to provide recognition (third-ranked engagement driver) to the employee where it is due. It is often not realized or shown, but studies have shown that positive recognition of their strengths from management and the organization is a huge motivation point for employees. Motivated employees feel valued by their organization, and the two-way feedback allows them to feel that they are contributing to the organization. This in turn raises their engagement level positively.

The Impact of Learning and Training

After using your performance appraisal software to identify disengaged employees, the next step to consider is the impact of learning, training and professional development on your employees. With career opportunities being the top driver of employee engagement, employers and organizations need to prolong their employees’ tenure with the company by creating new opportunities for their employees’ career development. Even more importantly, there is a need to improve their employees’ skills and knowledge so that they are able to take on their new roles with ease. Of course, career paths and development opportunities should also

The integrated talent management solution is your best launching pad. By analyzing all the available talent analytics, ranging from performance appraisal test scores, to an employee’s various aptitudes, managers can work with the employees to plan out a suitable career development path for each individual person.  Analysis of competency gaps, if any, can be analyzed again with a good learning management solution (LMS). If any competency gaps exist, managers can then identify and recommend any necessary learning and training needs for the employee to fulfil their new or future roles.

A good LMS will also increase the expediency of the HR department in providing learning, training and development to the rest of your staff. Besides having an automated learning / course directory at their fingertips, an integrated LMS allows HR to easily keep track of who is undergoing training, and the different courses and workshops they are attending, and how it contributes to the employee’s career development.  HR can also easily distribute feedback forms to gauge the effectiveness of courses and trainers, in order to improve the types of training and trainers that are made available to employees.

By paying close attention to employees and placing care and focus on what concerns them, employees will feel more valued by the management and become more engaged by participating actively in their own career development. They are also more likely to remain with your organization for longer, thus increasing their contribution and worth to you.

Rewarding and Retaining Your Employees

Besides focusing on their career development, there is a lot more that can be done to retain your employees. Obviously, employees are working for the most basic benefits: monetary rewards in the form of their monthly salary and annual bonuses. But there are also other ways to reward your employees that can benefit both them and the organization.

Different groups of employees will respond differently to different types of reward structures. Employees who are married with families may put in a standard number of work hours a week, but prefer the ease of having periods of time off during the week to spend more time with their families. They may also prefer rewards and benefits that are beneficial to their immediate families, such as increase in paternity leave, childcare leave, medical benefits and more.

Whereas, for younger employees, such as the millennials, putting in more hours of work a week is not a big issue, but they would prefer the attraction of having an autonomous work schedule and setting their own working hours and venues, rather than be attracted by a more ‘standard’ set of benefits or advantages.

With so many different types of benefit and reward structures for different groups of employees, it is advantageous for  any company to invest in a properly integrated talent development solution that can keep track of your reward packages. An integrated solution can also tie these rewards easily to your current payroll software, when necessary, for faultless sync-ups between your line managers, HR and finance departments.

Regardless of which group of employees, rewarding them is a positive factor that can motivate your employees. By using the correct motivator with the correct group of employees, you can positively raise their engagement levels with your organization, and this in turn will raise your retention rates which is an all-important aspect to driving your organizational success.

Continually Re-engage Your Employees

As shown in the Aon Hewitt study, employee engagement changes and fluctuates over time, and can be affected by anything ranging from changes in the work environment, new hires, and even changes in the employees’ personal life.

Employers should be sensitive to this fact, and work actively to continue to be engaged and connected with their employees. With an integrated HR / talent development solution, HR data, talent analytics and the proper processes are already in place for employers to work smartly to make this happen.

Sources:

  1. Aon Hewitt 2015 Trends in Global Engagement Study examines the trends of employee engagement globally,

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