Employee engagement is important because employees are the driving force in any organisation. And employee training techniques have long been around, with the training techniques ever changing through time.
One simple example is that traditional employee training techniques were aimed at fixing weaknesses and transforming workers into all-rounded performers. This had been the industrial standard for employee training until American psychologist Donald O.Clifton and author Marcus Buckingham made a groundbreaking discovery. While traditional management styles focused on fixing and reducing weaknesses, Clifton’s new method focused on improving the innate strengths of an individual. Individuals were able to improve their skills with newfound speed and efficiency with this new model.
Despite the obvious paradigm shift, both techniques had one goal in common – to get employees trained to be better at their work. And organisations are doing this to better the performance of their businesses.
Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, once shared, “any company trying to compete with competitors should figure out a way to engage the mind of every employee.”
Employee engagement will make workplaces more meaningful, conducive and inspire greater teamwork and dynamics.
It will ultimately impact the performance of the organisation itself.
And we are going to explain how in this article.
The Correlation Between Employee Engagement and Longevity
Perhaps it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the level of engagement in employees affects their longevity within an organisation.
A recent research conducted on 32 million LinkedIn profiles provided some insightful figures. The accumulated data suggests a 76% chance of an employee still being at a company after 12 months of employment. After two years, there’s a 59% likelihood, and after three years, a 48% chance. There is a pretty significant dip for each subsequent year.
The study went on to identify three factors associated with improving the chances of staff retention. These include varying job positions within the company, highly rated management and the level of empowerment given to employees.
We can see that modern employees are constantly seeking validation for their efforts. They prefer a workplace where their unique talents are constantly honed while presented with opportunities in advancing their career.
Changes in Employee Behaviour Trends
There are two possibilities when an employee is underutilised at the workplace. A, the individual physically quits, and B, perhaps worse of the two, the person becomes disengaged.
Disengaged employees are not happy with where they are at at work, and it will be apparent in their contributions that should drive the organisation’s progress.
The labour force is constantly changing. During the industrial revolution, philosophers such as Jeremy Bentham, proposed a reward and punishment method as the default means of management and employee engagement. Fast forward to 2020, this approach is definitely antiquated and will probably leave a position permanently unfilled.
These days, quality management is all about talent development. LinkedIn’s 2018 Learning Report revealed that 68% of employees loved to learn at work. Although it is important to stay updated with technical skills in the rapid world of technology, most organisations often stay ahead of the competition by focusing on the soft skills of their workers.
Soft skills such as analytical thinking, interpersonal relations, leadership, creativity, innovation, and communication are known to fuel the growth and development of people and businesses across all sectors.
Google conducted Project Oxygen in 2008, in hopes of discovering the hidden qualities that determine an effective manager. The process involved 10,000 manager observations, which included surveys and performance reviews.
In a shocking turn of events, the tech giant discovered that none of the defining qualities of an effective manager was technical or STEM (science, technology, engineering, medicine) in nature. In fact, the researchers established 8 powerful leadership qualities that were applicable to any leader in any type of organisation. They are essentially almost all soft skills.
Some of these notable qualities of a leader include creating an inclusive team environment through showing concern for team members’ success and well-being, as well as the ability to support career development and discuss performance.
Over the years, Google conducted further research, which uncovered two other important qualities of a leader: Having the ability to collaborate with the rest of the company, and being a strong decision-maker.
The significance of soft skills was further proven in another study. According to Cathy Davidson, the Founding Director of the Futures Initiatives, “a recent survey of 260 employers by the nonprofit National Association of Colleges and Employers, which includes both small firms and behemoths like Chevron and IBM, also ranks communication skills in the top three most-sought after qualities by job recruiters.”
Employee Engagement and Business Performance
According to keynote speaker and customer experience futurist, Blake Morgan, “There is an undeniable link between employee experience and customer experience. Companies that lead in customer experience have 60% more engaged employees, and study after study has shown that investing in employee experience impacts the customer experience and can generate a high ROI for the company.”
A Gallup study of over 20,000 businesses established that businesses with lower engagement scores averaged 31%-51% higher turnover rates than businesses with greater engagement.
High turnover rates may lead to a chain of problems (i.e. additional staff training fees, onboarding downtime, and the uncertainties of new hires). Companies with employees who are less engaged are more likely to experience high turnover rates.
As such, it is important to keep workers involved and focused on the corporate vision and mission. This is more relevant than ever in a modern workforce that emphasises on self-development and meaningful engagement, which determines staff longevity.
Fostering a Culture that Promotes Engagement – More Pressing Now than Ever Before
Engagement is receiving greater attention and priority from employers due to recent trends in employee behaviour.
According to a recent Gallup research titled: How Millennials Want to Work and Live, millennials are being identified for job-hopping practices. It is reported that 21% of Millennials have changed jobs within the last year. The amount is a staggering three times the amount reported by non-millennial groups.
Gallup discovered that high millennial turnover rates are tied to their level of engagement at the workplace.
Research shows that only 29% of millennials are engaged at work, meaning only about three in 10 are emotionally and behaviourally attuned to their roles at the workplace. Another 16% of millennials are actively disengaged, meaning they are more or less out to do damage to their company. The remaining 55% of millennials are disengaged.
This is worrying for many companies, especially when considering the fact that 51% of all employees claim that they’re actively seeking a job. Millennials are constantly looking for opportunities to make their careers worthwhile.
Gallup suggests that employers define engagement goals in realistic everyday terms. This is extremely important. Rather than keeping things abstract or vague, leaders should ensure that their engagement goals are meaningful to employees on a daily basis.
How are these goals conveyed to the team in the most effective language according to the unique talent themes of each team member? There is the pressing need to align individual engagement goals with those of the organisation to create a deeply fulfilling and empowering experience.
Creating An Engaged Workplace
Organizational leaders can create engaged workplaces by encouraging employee contribution based on their own unique strengths, providing constant guidance and seeking opportunities that maximise worker potential.
Studies have shown that when organisations focus on the strengths of their people, employees are 6x more likely to be engaged at work. When individuals focus on their own strengths, they are also likely to lead a 3X better quality of life, which translate to better health, better relationships and better well-being altogether.
Your organisation could start reframing the way they build success in a workplace by identifying and developing the unique strengths of employees, where candidates are not being chosen simply for their technical skill sets or academic background.
By doing so, instead of feeling like they’re applying for a mere job position, candidates will have a genuine sense of excitement and fulfillment in becoming a part of your organisation. They’ll anticipate a long-term learning journey where their own unique set of skills and strengths are put to good use.
The Soundwave tool can also equip organisations with the know-how to communicate with anyone in the most effective manner.
Employers who use the right voices and approach are also more likely to keep their staff motivated. This can be followed up and calibrated interpersonally with regular discussions and meetings.
This also provides greater opportunity for bosses to reframe their organisation’s engagement models into attainable and structured goals.
In Gallup’s report, Re-engineering Performance Management, only 2 in 10 employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work. This is mainly because traditional management methods that emphasised on fixing weaknesses has been long outdated.
With more effective engagement techniques developed through the years, employees will greatly benefit from the current programs. They will more likely stay committed and bring forth their best work for the organisation. And organisations will more effectively solve their engagement problems.
StrengthsAsia has helped many individual and corporate clients all throughout the region in identifying and maximizing their talents, in driving engagement and increasing motivation in their work and life.
Sign up for our upcoming StrengthsAsia Showcase Workshop to enjoy a world-class facilitated experience to learn how you can optimise performance with Cliftonstrengths engagement strategies.