Disecting Employee Engagement – Global Implications

BlessingWhite Research published and Employee Engagement Report in 2011: “Beyond the numbers: A practical approach for individuals, managers and executives”. As organizations embed themselves more into the global business environment gauging employee engagement across various regions will allow HR professionals to tailor policies and practices to the motivators that drive the individual regions becoming more “glocal”. This post is entirely based on BlessingWhite Research and I encourage everyone to download their free copy of the report at this link: http://www.blessingwhite.com/EEE__report.asp

Acknowledging the framework and theories BlessingWhite Research, we are able to transition the study of employee engagement from academic literature to an OD practitioners perspective. HR looks at engagement as a metric of business success. The below shows that individual employees, managers and executives have incremental responsibilities and accountability on employee engagement. Everyone is responsible for their own engagement; and those with direct reports must also coach team members to higher levels of engagement as well as manage their own engagement. Executives must set the tone for engaged organizations as well as shoulder the responsibilities of individuals and managers. Five levels of employee engagement are assessed on two axes, maximum contribution and maximum satisfaction, defining five different employee segments.[i]

The Engaged: The Apex where personal and organizational interests align. Employees contribute fully to the success of the organization with great satisfaction. Organizations need to keep them engaged; a move would impact workforce morale and the bottom line. High Contribution / High Satisfaction

Almost Engaged: High performers who are reasonably satisfied with their job. Organizations should invest in them; they are most likely to be lured away and they have the shortest distance to travel to reach full engagement. Medium to High Contribution and Satisfaction

Honeymooners and Hamsters: Honeymooners: new to organization or role. Have yet to find their stride and clearly understand how they can best contribute. Hamsters: employees who are working hard but are working on non-essential tasks, contributing little to the success of the organization. Employees may become resentful. Medium to High Satisfaction but Low Contribution

Crash & Burners: Disillusioned and potentially exhausted; top employees are top producers who are not achieving their personal definition of success and satisfaction. They may leave, but are more likely to work less hard slipping into disengagement. Medium to High Contribution but Low Satisfaction

The Disengaged:  Most disconnected from the organizational priorities, often employees feel underutilized and are not getting what they need from work. Likely to be skeptical. They collect a paycheque while looking for their next job. Low to Medium Contribution and Satisfaction

BlessingWhite’s current research shows that North America has approximately 33% of engaged employees. The variations are apparent across generations, and organizational function. Baby boomers are approximately 36% engaged whereas Gen Y and Millennials only account for 23% of engaged employees. Over 27% of the North American respondents indicated that opportunities to do what I do best, was a key engagement driver for them. Followed closely by career development opportunities and training at 20%.  While job characteristics came in third, at 15%, asking for more control over how work gets done, flex time and telecommuting. The most important aspect to increasing contribution for employees had to do with increasing resources at 28%. In addition greater clarity about what the organizations needs the individuals to do and why tied with development opportunities and training at 16%. Despite North Americans having high engagement percentages, the number of respondents who intend on leaving the organization has doubled since 2008 from 7% to 13%. These results show that North American companies need focus on to improving their retention practices through employee engagement.

 

The overall 2011 survey suggests that engagement has risen to approximately 31%. The higher you go in an organization the more likely you are to be engaged. Despite this increase in engagement from the 2008 survey more employees are headed out the door. Only 61% of respondents worldwide they plan to remain with their organizations.

 

As the report denotes cross-cultural differences in goals, values, and happiness as well as organizational processes exist, however, existing evidence also shows that human needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness are universal, they transcend culture and context. (Chirkov, Ryan, Kim and Kaplan, 2003; Vansteenkiste, Zhou, Lens and Soens, 2005). Therefore although some differences exist within the percentages of employee engagement each country studied depicts the effect of employee engagement as a factor in growth and productivity.

[i]  Employee Engagement Report 2011, Beyond the numbers: A practical approach for individuals managers and executives. Blessingwhite research. http://www.blessingwhite.com/EEE__report.asp

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