Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The role of employee engagement in the return to growth

Unless they reach out to dissatisfied workers, companies will face an employee exodus as the strengthening economy offers more job opportunities.

While facing the recent recession, the threat of employee turnover seemed low due to a rigid labor market. During that time, however, employee engagement levels dropped. Today, as employees see signs of recovery, they increasingly plan to leave their positions suggesting a looming employee-retention problem and a talent exodus that could have long-term impact on corporate performance. In fact, Corporate Executive Board's Corporate Leadership Council conducted research that finds less than one quarter of employees (23 percent) exhibited a high level of "intent to stay," a leading measure of turnover, in the second quarter of 2010.

The extensive employee engagement study also found that the employees most committed to their organizations put forth 57 percent more effort and are 87 percent less likely to leave their company than employees who consider themselves disengaged. It should be no surprise then that employee engagement, or lack thereof, is a critical factor in an organization's overall financial success.

Most companies use surveys to anticipate and respond to these types of employee engagement and emerging workforce challenges, but analysis has shown that they struggle to arrive at the desired results. The engagement surveys used today typically only provide a read out on the levels of employee engagement within critical workforce populations, enabling the organization to understand where there might be future retention or productivity issues, but not providing the types of actionable insight that aid in addressing them.

Leading companies are now moving beyond just understanding the levels of their employees' engagement, and are using surveys to understand the drivers behind it. These insights inform proactive and plan-specific interventions to improve engagement effectively and realize business results. Companies that use an employee engagement survey as a change management tool—rather than a data source—can reduce voluntary turnover in at-risk populations exponentially and also improve discretionary effort. Click here to read the full article.

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