Understanding employee engagement


Are your employees feeling appreciated? Do you and your managers understand what motivates your people? Is your organisation stingy when it comes to rewarding your people?

A number of recent surveys of employees working in SMEs have highlighted some key points about employee engagement. Here are some of the results:

  • 62 percent of employees have rated their managers as "Very Poor", "Poor" or just "Satisfactory" at delivering specific and timely praise.
  • 52 percent of employees say not receiving any recognition would be a contributing factor in their decision to leave their organisation.
  • 40 percent of employees are actively considering leaving their current employer.

So what does it take to keep your good employees happy?

Broadly there are three factors (desire, cost and obligation) which influence an employee's level of engagement at work.

An employee's desire to engage is based on their level of emotional attachment to the organisation. If a staff member can personally identify and align with the vision and goals of the organisation they will feel engaged in their role and provide products and/or services to clients in the best way possible. These employees can be further engaged by positive feedback, career advancement and training and development.

The costs of leaving from an organisation might be viewed as being harmful to an employee. In other words, an employee thinks that by leaving, they may lose their friends/colleagues, high paying salary, bonuses, accrued leave, etc. Staff incentives such as long service leave or flexibility in working arrangements can help engage these staff members.

Some employees feel engaged through a sense of obligation to the organisation. This happens when employees feel a level of indebtedness. In other words – they are engaged because they 'ought to be'. Offering ongoing training and development programs and personalised bonus structures can help engage these staff members.

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