What really engages your employees to give their best at work? I think this has been a question that has stumped most HR professionals for a long time. I believe the problem is that the answer is not the same for every company, every department, every generation, etc.
Yes, there are many large research firms that study this on a regular basis and they have norms or averages on what is driving engagement and I do believe those studies are interesting.
For example, Aon, my former employer has a recent study out, the 2012 Trends in Global Employee Engagement, which looks at global engagement trends over the last three years.
I found the following quite interesting:
The report also analyzed which engagement drivers had the most positive impact on engagement and opportunity for improvement:
The above list is fascinating to me as for the first time in a study I see communication from leadership as being important to employees. I have known this and heard this for years, but here is the data in black and white. In my experience, the communication of the vision and the mission of the organization is key to getting an employee's heart and mind engaged. Yet, that is where most CEO's fall down is in the messaging of organizational strategy.
- Career opportunities (the top driver of engagement…communication of clear career paths, preparing employees for the next role, providing lateral growth opportunities for key employees)
- Recognition (recognizing the extra effort of employees in a tough business climate)
- Organizational reputation (being a part of a respect and winning team)
- Communication (effective and engaging communication from leaders and the organization)
Another interesting point is that nothing about pay and benefits came out as a driver in this research even during a down economy.
I am also surprised by organizational reputation making the list. I guess now more than ever employer brand matters.
The report does say that these 4 items had the MOST POSITIVE IMPACT on engagement AND OPPORTUNITY for improvement. So, it sounds as if the 4 items listed were the top drivers for their sample AND that employers did not score well on those 4 items.
What a shocker!
And..what an opportunity for HR. If in fact, these 4 areas are true for your company as well, what could you do to improve these?
Does your organization rely on your engagement data and take action on the results?