Will Current Employee Engagement Trends Continue Into Next Year?

employee engagement, organizationsThere is a scene from the movie, “Office Space” where a co-worker asks Peter if he has a case of the Mondays. If you have ever seen the movie, you know that Peter is far from engaged in his work. In real life, it isn’t exactly news that productivity depends on employee engagement either.

Some companies get it right

There are probably a large number of companies who have engaged employees but we tend to see more examples such as shown in the comic, Dilbert Two examples that have been highlighted in the news are Diamond Pet Foods in the US and Dah Sing Banking Group Limited in Hong Kong.

The Diamond Pet Group, featured in this Inc article,  enable higher levels of employee engagement because they believe in ROB (return on benefits). Their health insurance is paid for, emergency leave is granted without questions as well as receiving bonuses and profit sharing. Their pay is not substantially better but the benefits are. According to the example set by Diamond Pet Group, employees who aren’t worrying about their insurance costs or other financial concerns are more likely to stay longer with the company, offer ideas about how the company could operate better and maintain higher productivity levels.

In the case of Dah Sing Banking Group Limited, they were recognized by The Best Practice Management Group and received  “The Best Practice Award 2013 in Employee Engagement.” They believe that providing an environment where the employees are stakeholders and participants in strategy formation, implementation, accepting responsibility for their behavior and emphasizing alignment, transparency and communication.

Current global employee engagement trends

An interesting study by Aon Hewitt which looked at employee engagement around the world from 2008 to 2010. They surveyed 6.7 million employees in 2, 900 organizations. Overall there is a mixed picture geographically. Employee engagement is down in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific and yet no change in Latin America. Globally, employee engagement is beginning to improve and as was noted in the report,

While organizations acknowledge the power of engagement, many struggle to make progress in this area. Our research shows that employee loyalty and engagement is waning, especially in Europe. At a time when organizations are looking to employees to help them reduce costs, identify areas for growth, streamline processes, and innovate faster than their competitors, employees in many organizations are showing fatigue in response to the lengthy period of stress, uncertainty, and confusion of the economic downturn.
As long as employers do not offer (or offer on a limited basis) professional development or career opportunities, there is little to motivate employees from re-engaging or engaging more deeply.

Some of the current trends being noted in research by both Aon Hewitt, McKinsey and Company and BlessingWhite:

1. Career opportunities
2. Constant distraction and demanding workloads
3. Financial rewards matter
4. It helps if you are higher up in the organization
5. Companies with higher profits have better levels of engagement
6. Millenials are moving into leadership positions
7. Remote work is becoming norm
8. Intrapreneurship is encouraged to spur innovation
9. Women are gaining momentum

Employee engagement is an ongoing process of change and adaptation

The goals of attracting and retaining talent haven’t changed. However, employees are looking for more. As we’ve discussed on #KaizenBiz before, work and lifestyle choices are being integrated more frequently as the people are connected via smartphones and other devices. This changes how employees engage and what they want to make the engagement more enticing. Even employees with lower level positions are looking for their organizations to invest in them as well.

Do you have some thoughts on employee engagement? What are the trends telling us? Join us on Twitter and use the hastag #KaizenBiz to join the conversation on Friday, November 23, 2013 at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT.

How is employee engagement defined by different generations?

What 2013 employee engagement trends will continue into 2014?

What do these trends have in common?

In real terms, how do you link employee engagement with accomplishing an organization’s business goals?

How could redefining management as facilitation rather than order-giver affect levels of employee engagement?