MOST organisations no longer question whether engagement matters. What they want to know is how to achieve it. Administering and managing engagement surveys is the easy part. Implementing the action planning process and improving levels of engagement is the real challenge.
Aon Hewitt’s Best Employers study sheds light on the ways strong engagement translates into better company performance. Best Employers know how to improve and maintain high engagement in four areas: leadership, employee value proposition, total rewards, and enabling performance and productivity.
Strong leadership is a key differentiator between Best Employers and others. The Best Employers study shows that great leaders are highly engaged themselves.
One key strategy used by Best Employers is that engaged leaders lead the way in building employee engagement. With the right set of people in charge, leaders are able to inspire behavioural change in turn, and improve engagement.
To create leadership interest and accountability for building employee engagement, Best Employers stimulate buy-in among their leaders, using relevant data and terms (correlation with employee turnover, sales, customer satisfaction) to prove the business value of engagement.
Furthermore, Aon Hewitt’s Top Companies for Leaders study shows that the best leaders are decisive, and provide a confident vision of the company’s future. They are also comfortable with ambiguity and understand the emotional side of change and transition.
Some best practices are:
Having individual and team coaching programmes and Engagement Action Groups, led by each manager;
Introducing role-model programmes, where strong “people managers” partner with other managers to share stories, practices, and encourage behavioural changes;
Supporting unit managers as they execute engagement improvement action plans.
Employee Value Proposition
Singapore continues to be a challenging market to attract and retain talent, displaying one of Asia’s highest turnover rates. Nevertheless, Best Employers do make a difference when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.
Best Employers differentiate themselves by having a clearly articulated employee value proposition and delivering on their promises to employees. They focus on the most valued elements of their employment “contract”, which are highly connected to total rewards — the next area that sets Best Employers apart.
Best Employers take a holistic view of compensation, benefits, performance and recognition, career management, and learning and development.
The Aon Hewitt study’s employee data reveals a 25 per cent average gap between how Best Employers and other organsations in Singapore are perceived to be rewarding their employees.
It is vital not only to get basic pay and benefits right, but also to recognise performance and nurture future talent.
Enabling Performance and Productivity
Is it possible to have engaged employees without enabling them? An engaged employee who is not enabled to perform is not likely to stay engaged or stay with the organisation for long. Here again, employees of Best Employers emphasise they have ready access to tools, resources and processes that enable them to perform at a much higher level than employees from other organisations.
The path forward
It is vital to get the full support of the chief executive officer (CEO) to improve engagement levels. CEOs must be accountable for engagement across the organisation, be interested in survey results, and let employees know that engagement is a primary focus. Engagement initiatives must be a key component of ongoing business management and survey results seen as leading indicators of business performance.
The Aon Hewitt survey analyses underscore the clear point that engagement matters — both in terms of employees’ perceptions of the organisation, as well as how these perceptions can lead to a higher level of employee performance.
The employee survey data indicates four key areas for attention: leaders’ ownership of improvement in engagement capability; building a strong employee value proposition; strong total rewards; and enabling performance of employees. These all point to holistic solutions and processes that must be embedded in the organisation’s culture.
How will you approach employee engagement holistically within your organisation?