Employee Engagement Research Paper With Case Examples
Employee Engagement Research Paper
CHAPTER 1: Introduction
As organizations struggle to adapt to the challenges of an aging workforce and a competitive environment for highly engaged employees, it is important to tap into the values, expectations and behaviors of a multi generational workforce. As human asset departments strive to demonstrate their relevance and impact to business units, HR leaders must become change agents in creating a workplace that can get, keep and grow talent from all four generations. (Kovary, 2013)
Those that prevail with regards to recruiting, retaining, and developing a high-performance, multigenerational workforce will outperform the competition and will have the capacity to manage their “people” risk by building programs that address operational challenges. Part of the changing role of HR is to accept greater accountability for the success of key performance metrics that impact business results. To achieve this goal, leaders and managers ought to become partners with HR in tackling people issues. Then again, HR is presently being charged with owning part of operational successes. (Miller 2006)
Creating a People-Focused Organization
To create a people-focused organization that engages all four generations, change must happen at an organizational level (through integrated strategies and programs) and at a manager level (through enhanced people leadership skills.)
To successfully design and execute people strategies that target all four generations, HR ought to focus on two key considerations:
- First, it’s important to understand how each generational cohort behaves and reacts to you as an employer.
- Second, it’s also important understand what you can do to tap into each cohort in order to drive engagement. We can no longer expect employees to be engaged without demonstrating that our organization is also engaged. (Kovary, 2013)
Remember that employees are investors in your organization. It is important to demonstrate an appreciation of the fact that they are choosing to invest their knowledge, skills, abilities, time and effort in your organization. At the same time, proactively managing employee expectations during the hiring process is crucial. Doing so increases the likelihood that you will recruit employees will’s identity the best fit with your organization. Also, retention will increase because there will be alignment between what you promise and what is actually experienced.
At a manager level, it is important to recognize generational identities and how work styles are influenced by these identities. This is valid for both leaders and team members. Regardless of age, all employees seek a positive and collaborative relationship with their manager. In any case, the grace period that Gen X or Gen Y employees give managers to get the relationship right is often considerably shorter than that of Baby Boomers or Traditionalists. (Kovary, 2013)
The essential policy drivers and dangers for the inspiration of employees and multi generational workforce are career openings, wellbeing and prosperity of employee, corporate communal duty, notoriety of employee, learning and advancement, senior administration, administration of execution and the adjust of work and life. All these drivers and dangers are connected as for the generations as relevance changes among generations in light of shifted qualities and components. The most honed and most compelling engagement drivers are career openings and administration of the execution. Be that as it may, notoriety of employee and the administration of execution are seen as strategy dangers for the engagement of the multigenerational workforce (Gilbert 2008).
The employee engagement is an assessment or an instrument that measures variety as for the multiple eras at the association. It is further imperative to concede that arrangements and drivers which have been connected effectively by one association can’t effectively actualized by another association. This relies on upon the proportion of different generational force at the association. Without a doubt, Boomers are altogether unique of Millennials and the effects on them of arrangements shift as well (Gilbert 2008).
Subsequently, this can be developed on the certainties said over that the multigenerational workforce has positive and negative effects on the approaches of HR and these arrangements are liable to improve the engagement of employees of every one of the four eras accordingly, the specified drivers and dangers ought to be drilled.
This examination is further planned to accumulate information identified with HR strategies of two organizations, Unilever and Shell, and to investigate the methods these organizations utilize to meet the issues of multi-generational workforce.
Explanation for the Topic of Interest
The significant explanation for the choice of this area of topic is that it has turned into a major source of concern for organizations working in today’s profoundly competitive workplace to keep its employees drew in, particularly when there is a multi-generational workforce working inside the association. It has turned out to be basic for the associations to keep its multi-generational workforce motivated, through upgrading the general engagement prepare. Along these lines, the organizations must plan their HR policies which could improve the level of fulfillment and inspiration of the multi-generational workforce. Something else, the association will most likely need to bring about substantial costs which would be as high employee retention rate, or a disappointed and de-motivated workforce, both of which are profoundly unfavorable for the execution of the business.
Aims of the Study
The research paper aims to direct an inside and out investigation of the effect which HR policies of an organisation could have over a multi-generational workforce. Be that as it may, a particular concentration of this review will be towards the upgrade of employee engagement inside two multi-national organisations Shell and Unilever. Thus, the study will explore the nature of HR policies and practices with a specific end goal to decide and prescribe the HR policies and practices which could be utilized by organisations to fulfil the necessities and needs of the multi-generational workforce keeping in mind the end goal to improve employee engagement.
The objectives of the research include;
- To decide how particular HR policies and practices could be intended to fulfil the requirements of the multi-generational workforce
- To determine the similarities and differences between generational values and how these shape expectations of employment.
- To recognize the scope of HR policies and systems that add to employee engagement at both organisations Shell and Unilever
- To recognize the components which impact levels of engagement crosswise over multi-generational workforce working inside Shell and Unilever
- To determine the nature of employee engagement and its influence on HR policy and practice
Critical Examination of Literature
As per a review led by Stevens, (2010) it was resolved that the administration of multi-generational work force can turn out to be a troublesome task as the desire of the business are totally not quite the same as that of the employee’s desires. In another review led by (Gursoy et al. 2008) it was verify that administration of a multi-generational workforce has turned out to be very basic in this day and age, where on one side there is an employee who is new, motivated and loaded with vitality however unpracticed. Furthermore, on the opposite side we have a man who is not exactly productive but rather has years of experience (Gursoy et.al, 2008). A business ought to comprehend what’s in store. It won’t be a bother free occupation at all for the business since it will be very hard to bring the both age consider in the meantime and at a similar place.
In a review led by Rath and Harter (2011) found that an abnormal state of employee engagement raises the fulfillment by work and also it raises the level of yield. It additionally empowers the employees of the organization to achieve more. They ought to rest easy and satisfied independent from anyone else and by their work. This research was centered around revenue driven associations and how they can raise the engagement to rise the general status of yield, extension, advancement and incomes as positive effects of policies.
As per a review directed by (Kupperschmidt, 2000), it was presumed that the Silent Generation may see the Millennials very out talked and additionally impudent. Because of the era hole, the Millennials may understand it difficult to work alongside the Silent Generation too in light of the fact that they may see them as very prideful and unsavoury to work with due to their age calculate and their experience. In any case, a great director can transform this into a brilliant open door for himself/herself as he or she may utilize the times of understanding of the noiseless generation and consolidation it with the new and vigorous Millennials. On the off chance that the supervisor figures out how to do that, then it will be very hard to beat his or her group in light of the fact that the group will have both brains and brawns.
Background of the Study
Employee Engagement and HR Policies
The employee engagement by ramifications of HR policies, especially for multi-generational workforce, is contained strategies and policies which impart the general estimations of the association and offer everybody a steady wonder to take after. These policies and controls offer employees a marvel to exchange learning by which they can unhesitatingly achieve the circumstance and issues, particularly the perplexing ones. These policies are required on the grounds that the act of employee engagement is associated specifically with an expanded level of profit, larger amount of consumer loyalty, employee retention and profitability, mischance, less non-appearance and higher assurance at work environment (IBEC 2014).
These days, at our work places, there are four kind of generation present to work. Pre-Boomers (1925-1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1976) and Generation Y (1977-1994). There is a generation which is said to come in the work environments by the following couple of years and that is the Generation Z (1995-Present). In any case, it is vital to notice that there exists a variety of the generations as specified for every grouping and classification of eras as a result of difference of sentiment of creators and specialists.
Structure of the Thesis
This investigation is intended to be drawn on approach records, insights, government enactment, different inquires about and pertinent hypothesis. Numerous strategies and perspectives of different researchers are intended to be investigated at that segment of the proposal. After the chapter of literature review, the following section depends on the discussions of the considerable number of facts which has been assembled by different type of investigation. This section is intended to be built by basic assessment of the considerable number of techniques connected and looked into.
It would incorporate the basic examination of literature with little background of HR practices for employee engagement, especially at the earth of multi-generational workforce. At the last, the structure of the entire thesis is talked about for the illumination to the readers about the made system and future strides of the research to determine the research questions which have been pre-decided. This has been discovered by the research that an engagement of employee can be brought about by numerous ways and it is actually a multi-faceted type of development (Kahn 1990). It is recommended on the premise of review that an employee who is locked in by ramifications of HR policies gets to be distinctly idealistic, energetic, exceedingly engaged and willing to run additional mile for the commitment of the achievement of the association on the premise of long run, independent of his connection with a particular generation period. It is further recommended that the practices of HR work as precursor to make organisations among HR practices, engagement of employees and the authoritative outcomes. By this chapter investigation, it can be understood that the administration ought to consider taking precaution at most extreme level to execute adept practices of HR to serve the necessities of multi-generational workforce and to summon positive conduct; for instance, employee engagement.
CHAPTER 2: Methodology
The literature review recognizes and organizes the concepts in relevant literature. All research should be informed by existing knowledge in a subject area. A literature review needs to draw on and evaluate a range of different types of sources including academic and professional journal articles, books, and web-based resources. By setting out on a research project the researcher ought to search and review existing literature. (Saunders, 2009)
What is a literature review?
A literature review is an sovereign section of formed work that gives a brief summary of past disclosures in a region of the research literature. It reflects a researcher’s information and comprehension of the area of interest. Like all bits of created research yield it should fuse a depiction of the methods used to make the work. (Saunders, 2009) Literature reviews move widely in their significance and broadness, and furthermore style of introduction, dependent upon the reason arranged by the researcher (Claus, 2016).
Researchers focused on composing a review, be that as it may, ought to be urged to go past superficial searches and just posting research works; they will definitely get a one-sided or inadequate perspective of the research area under scrutiny. Rather, they ought to create abilities that will empower them to systematically search for literature and critically review the research revealed by the search. This paper means to critically examine the nature of HR policy/practice required to satisfy multi-generations and improve employee enhanced. (Hewitt, 2007)
Why Literature Review?
A preparatory review of the literature will help in further recognizing and clearing up the research problem. Somewhat sometime later it might give the theoretical input to the research thought and help in the detailing of the research address. All the more particularly, a literature review will:
- Supporting the distinguishing proof of a research point, question or theory;
- Identifying the literature to which the research will make a commitment, and contextualizing the research inside that literature;
- Building a comprehension of hypothetical ideas and phrasing;
- Facilitating the building of a bibliography or rundown of the sources that have been counselled;
- Suggesting research methods that may be helpful; and in,
- Analyzing and deciphering results. (Russell, 2015)
Companies like Shell and Unilever are giants in their respective industries, and operate differently as compared to their competitors. They are the ones that focus on the goals that were set instead of setting strict policies and rules for their employees (Reilly & Williams, 2016). The purpose of using the this particular research method is to distinguish methods of investigation that could be utilized as a part of further research by discussing the case study in regard to these two companies.
In summary, fruition of the literature review would empower the researcher to return to the original research thought and characterize the correct concentration of the research problem concerning the HR policies and principles in concern. (Hewitt. 2007)
What is meant by the ‘Literature’?
The main body of the literature exists in academic and professional journals. It has been evaluated that various journals published every year convey articles that are worried to the exploration of employee engagement and multi-generation workforce. Notwithstanding journal articles, research is additionally published in books, reports, conference proceedings, thesis and dissertations. The distinctive components of the research literature are depicted beneath. (Hewitt. 2007)
A extent of information sources might be used to represent the research question and diagram. The assessment of these sources is an obvious issue. Regularly in expert orders, like information frameworks, and business and administration, there will be both scholastic and expert literature. Both may have a section in the recognizing evidence of a research subject; however the scholarly literature contains a firmer hypothetical start, with more basic treatment of ideas and models. Articles in insightful and research journals should shape the focal point of the literature review. Most such articles should be united in the research. (Thoms, 2016) The research fundamental concentration is to fuse a literature review, an examination of the research methodologies, an examination of results, and centered articulations of conclusions and proposals. Web resources are definitely not hard to situate through basic searches in standard web indexes. The web offers access to a broad assortment of information, yet these sources are given by an extent of different individuals and associations, each with their own specific messages to impart, and clarifications behind making the information open (Thoms, 2016).
A key stage in the literature review is to search out all the research literature on a specific subject. This may at first appear an unthinkable errand given the huge volume of research literature published worldwide. This problem, be that as it may, has long been perceived and considerable effort has been made to simplify and accelerate the procedure. The results of this effort are accessible through on-line, web-based databases, otherwise called bibliographic databases. These offer offices for searching for published research. In this regard they vary from other web-based search engines like Google that offer access to huge measures of information however does not really discover research articles that have had some degree of quality control. (Slack, 2004)
CHAPTER 3: Literature Review
Much has been composed about the nearness of four distinct generations in the workforce and the routes in which their view and values influence the way work completes (Salopek, 2006). The literature defines a generation comparably: A generation is a group of individuals who are “programmed” in the meantime in history. Every generation shares a typical arrangement of occasions and patterns during their formative years, including headlines and heroes, music and mood, parenting style and education systems. Individuals from every generation learn and grow through age; they modify their practices and construct their skills. Be that as it may, they by and large don’t radically change the way they see the world (Murphy, 2007). Johnson and Johnson (2010) define generation as “a group of individuals born and living contemporaneously who have common knowledge and experiences that affect their thoughts, attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors.”
In his paper, “The Problem with Generations” (1952), sociologist Karl Mannheim depicts a generation as being not really a concrete group, rather a social location, where the individuals share more than a birth year; they additionally share regular experiences and reactions to those experiences. All the more as of late, sociologists have included cultural elements, for example, music, fashion, and pop culture, alongside historical, economic, and political occasions and characters (Parry and Tyson, 2011).
While the definition of generation is fairly steady in the literature, the birth year or age boundaries of each generational group have demonstrated some variance (Cennamo and Gardner, 2008). The names and birth years for the generations change starting with one model then onto the next. All are thought to be arbitrary; a generation or a period does not simply end one day and another begins the following day (Murphy, 2007). In “Generations at Work” (2000), creators Zemke, Raines, and Filipczak recognize the distinction in their age boundaries by explaining the “feel” notwithstanding the “face” of a generation. Following their research, the birth year boundaries were set in light of the similitude of values and views of the research subjects.
Descriptions and Characteristics
To perceive and comprehend generational contrasts, the following area depicts a portion of the qualities unique to each generational cohort, and a portion of the defining events that speak to shared experiences by individuals from every generation.
Traditionalists/Veterans (born 1922–1945)
The Traditionalists (born 1945 or before) are sporadically alluded to as Veterans, the Silent Generation or The Greatest Generation, a gesture to the book of a similar title by Tom Brokaw (1998). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, seven million Traditionalists make up five per cent of the 2011 workforce (Murphy, 2007). The core values of the Traditionalists are dedication, hard work, and respect for authority (Arsenault and Patrick, 2008). The formative years for this generation depended on a strong sense of duty to family, nation, and group. Strong nuclear, extended families were the norm. As children, they were disciplined by strict parents. They matured from these experiences with their own sense of self-discipline and strong work ethic. Employees from this generation who are currently in the workforce experienced childhood in the wake of a world-wide economic crisis. As a result of war and rations, the Traditionalists are patriotic and fiscally conservative (Murphy, 2007). Traditionalists are loyal and consistent (Stevens, 2010); they will make sacrifices and consider the common good (Murphy, 2007).
Baby Boomers (born 1946–1964)
The Baby Boomer generation (born 1946-1964) is the largest generation in U.S. history as a result of the post-war birth rates. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 60 million Baby Boomers make up 38 per cent of the 2011 workforce (Murphy, 2007). The core values of the Baby Boomers are optimism, personal gratification, and growth (Arsenault and Patrick, 2008). Raised by parents who survived the Depression and made innumerable sacrifices with the conviction that things would be better for their children, Baby Boomers inherited that sense of optimism and the conviction that they could do anything they needed and change the world (Murphy, 2007). As children they were adulated for “working well with others” and as adults in the workplace they esteem team orientation and relationship building (Stevens, 2010).
Baby Boomers are focused and committed however battle with balancing work and family (Cennamo and Gardner, 2008). Many Baby Boomers define themselves by their job, equating work with self-worth (Nicholas, 2009). In the 1970s, the expression “workaholic” was coined to depict the work ethic of the Baby Boomers (Zemke, et al, 2000)
Generation X (born 1965–1980)
Generation X (born 1965-1980), every so often called Gen X, delivered a generation of children whose Baby Boomers mothers worked (once in a while excessively) outside of the home creating another epithet for this generation, latchkey kids. With working mothers, and frequently the product of a divorced family, Generation X individuals wound up noticeably self-reliant and cynical (Murphy, 2007). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 51 million Generation Xers make up 32 per cent of the 2011 workforce (Murphy, 2007). The core values of Generation X are diversity, technoliteracy, fun, and informality (Arsenault and Patrick, 2008). Gen Xers brought the idea of work-life balance to the forefront of workplace issues. This generational cohort concentrates on the outcome more so than the process and the politics of work. Gen Xers trust that producing results is what matters, and like to do as such autonomously (Lancaster and Stillman, 2002). As these children saw their Baby Boomer parents’ “live to work” approach be reacted to with corporate down-sizing and lay-offs, Gen Xers built up a “work to live” approach, committed to having balance in their lives (Zemke, et al, 2000).
Generation Y/Millenials (1981–1990)
The Millennials (born 1981-2000) are additionally alluded to a Generation Y. This generation grew up with technology and the Internet. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40 million Millennials make up 25 per cent of the 2011 workforce (Murphy, 2007). The core values of the Millennials are optimism, civic duty, confidence, and achievement (Arsenault and Patrick, 2008). Millennials were the busiest generation to-date: schedules substantial with activities, close supervision and extensive support from their parents drove this generational cohort to end up objective and achievement-situated. As a result, they have elevated requirements for themselves and of their employers. Millennials are well-associated and globally-minded. They have been linked in to the Internet practically since birth; global issues and multiculturalism are a piece of the generational identity for Millennials (Murphy, 2007).
Among the challenges facing managers today is effectively dealing with a diverse workforce. This diversity is not restricted to gender, religion, ethnicity, and racial foundation; it additionally relates to the various generational values found in the workplace today (Gibson, Greenwood, and Murphy, 2009). The previous section depicted the attributes and defining events, trends, and technology for each generational cohort. Next, the literature review looks for confirmation of whether these differences in attributes translate into value differences in the workplace. Knowledge of these values can help in the understanding of what employees within each generational cohort need occupationally and how they can be motivated to be committed and productive individuals from their respective work teams (Gibson, et al, 2009).
Although much has been composed about the phenomenon of four unique generations working together in the workforce today, the greater part of the literature is not academic or empirical. An abundance of the literature lives in practitioner publications and in management consultant guide or handbooks. The academic research that exists gives mixed evidence that there are generational differences in work values (Parry and Tyson, 2011).
For the purpose of this study, the literature review included three research studies on values and one study on work ethic. The instrument utilized was the Rokeach Value Survey (RVS) which was developed in 1968 as a research tool to measure beliefs, attitudes, and values. The RVS measures terminal values and instrumental values. Terminal values are portrayed as “the ultimate end goals of existence”, such as wisdom, equality, peace, and family security. Instrumental values are “the behavioral means for achieving the end-goals” and include values such as the importance of being honest, ambitious, forgiving, or logical (Gibson, et al, 2009).
In the case of the Baby Boomers, managers can motivate them with money and overtime, utilize praise and position to perceive their efforts, and expect that they will be loyal. Baby Boomers will champion a cause and embrace change. They work hard and feel they have earned the privilege to be in charge (Gibson, et al, 2009).
Gen Xers as children were independent and self-reliant; they tend to be cynical and suspicious. Work—life balance is especially important to this cohort. Generation X does not expect loyalty from an employer, but rather they will be loyal as “a means to an end” to achieve the high-ranking values of work-life balance, comfortable life, and inner harmony. Managers ought to endeavor to make their work meaningful and fun and understand the Gen Xer’s wariness for what it is: a reflection of their honest observations about the employee-employer relationship (Gibson, et al, 2009).
Primarily as a result of being “connected” almost from birth, Millennials seek excitement and instant gratification. Millennials will want fun and relevant work assignments with much attention and feedback from their managers (Gibson, et al, 2009).
The authors conclude that the study supports the generational depictions of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials and that the profiles of the generations can be helpful to managers in understanding the differences exhibit in each of these generational groups. “The challenge is to provide enough motivational stimulation and communicate in various modalities in order to reach all your employees, not just the one who agree in principle with your values and beliefs” (Gibson, et al, 2009).
Cennamo and Gardner (2008) utilize the Work Values Questionnaire (WVQ) and Work Values Scale (WVS) to study value differences among 504 employees in New Zealand. The authors report “significant generational differences were found for individual work values involving status and freedom, but not for extrinsic, intrinsic, social, and altruism-related values.”
Overall, the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials had some value differences, but less than expected (Cennamo and Gardner, 2008). One explanation found in the literature is the career stage for the respondents, especially Baby Boomers. Current rankings for values such as status may be affected by the level of status already achieved by this cohort based on the stage of their careers (Parry and Tyson, 2011).
Arsenault and Patrick (2008) concentrated the value differences of the generational cohorts using the Rokeach Value Survey (RVS), a short survey about gender and political party inclination, and a third instrument: a photograph of the NCAA Women’s Championship Team with President George W. Hedge. The athletes in the photo were wearing flip-flops and the respondents were surveyed as to whether the footwear was appropriate the situation being what it is.
For the 467 respondents, the results demonstrate a significant difference in values for seven out of nine measured values: warm relationships with others; being well-respected; fun and enjoyment of life; security; self-respect; a sense of accomplishment; excitement. Differences in the values of sense of belonging and self-satisfaction were not significant. Two analyses were directed on the appropriateness of the footwear reactions. A significant difference was reported for Traditionalists as compared to the other three generational cohorts, with these respondents ranking the footwear as 2.15 on a scale of 1 being extremely inappropriate and 5 being exceptionally appropriate. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers ranked the photo equally (2.48); Millennials ranked the photo 2.75 (Arsenault and Patrick, 2008).
Answering the challenge
As mentioned, each generational group is distinctive. They bring with them distinctive views of authority, their own arrangement of values and orientation to the world. They see loyalty distinctively and have unique perspectives on leadership, ideal work conditions and their own particular place in history. A positive slant on this is that they all bring something new, unique and important to the workforce and given that HR industry is driven by team working, this mix of skills, talents, views and perspectives offers a singular advantage for the accomplishment of team working.
In any case, leading the distinctive generational groups introduces its own challenges that also should be considered (Sheahan 2005). Understanding each of the distinctive groups can lead to new headings for addressing the issues of retention and enlistment Before addressing the challenges further, nonetheless, it is important to point out that some of differences between age-related groups may actually be myths and a level of caution is required before everyone from each generation is labeled and boxed by their generational group. It is also prudent to specify that within each generational group there are a multitude of individuals who bring with them, their own particular unique personalities and cultural imprints. (Hayes 2013)
Kogan’s (2007) see that generational conflict is evident in the workplace and that generational difference will inevitably lead to conflict and misunderstandings. Kogan (2007) in exploring these differences indicates that Baby Boomers for example, expected to be gazed upward to and respected, while Generation X commonly wanted to be treated as equals regardless of their status or experience. Veterans were commonly depicted as out-dated or level distant, while Baby Boomers were characterized as workaholics. Generation X has been depicted as the slacker generation and Generation Y are characterized as demanding, disloyal and impatient. These generalizations may lead to conflict, stereotyping and bias and with regards to work satisfaction, career progression opportunities and quality care, it may result in a frustrating, demanding and stressful work place. These issues have the potential to further unsettle new employees, old employees and add to the enlistment and retention issues facing the nursing workforce. (Hayes 2013)
Kowalski et al. (2006) found a link between the leadership approach and the retention of job satisfaction from all generations. Therefore it is recommended that the work of an appropriate leadership approach will facilitate greater adequacy when dealing with generational issues. In the present study it is recommended that Congruent Leadership which sees the leader took after because their actions are matched (or are Congruent) with their values and beliefs is a suitable leadership approach when dealing with a range of employees from various generations. This approach to leadership lays on the leaders’ values and beliefs being demonstrated and on their part modeling of their personal nursing/health care or organizational values. Adherents with the same or similar values support and take after these leaders because their own values align. While a few values vary between the generational groups are probably going to offer significant common ground for this leadership approach to be utilized effectively.
It is also recommended that each employee ought to be held to equal business expectations, organizational goals, arrangements and methods. Along these lines each employee is valued equally, regardless of their generational group and level. This sets standard procedures and allows for common, organizational understanding. Individual or generational differences can be cultivated, but just once these common issues are agreed. Employers may also beneﬁt from opening a forum for dialog with all employees, but in particular those from newer generations who are seeking to express their voice within the organization. Generation X and Y are both quick to play a part, “take the lead” and “make a difference” (Hayes 2013).
Organizations hoping to retain newer generational workers should be ﬂexible and approachable. Indeed this approach will lead to general staff satisfaction and so to greater retention across the board. Employees who feel they can inﬂuence operational choices and organization also feel more satisfied and again retention may be positively affected.
To engage more effectively with the general population in their teams it may be instructive for managers and leaders to concentrate more on individuals. This approach negates the generational issues altogether and allows leaders and managers to perceive what shapes or drives each persons values. It allows a more personal approach to leadership and management and supports Deals (2007) see that it is the individual and not their generational group that matters.
Another approach is to involve everyone by developing policies to create a supportive work condition. Individuals want to feel valued and involved regardless of what their age or generational group and regardless of what their level of experience or insight. This may also be important as far as looking behind the cause of any conflict. It may be easy to put the conflict down to generational issues or differences, but it may be shrewd for a leader or manager to consider the broader individual issues before addressing the arrangement.
Understanding each generational group allows leaders and managers an opportunity to grasp what it is that may drive or motivate each of the distinctive groups and effectively deal with the impending employee shortage understanding how to attract and retain employees from across the generational range may demonstrate vital. Be that as it may, it is also vital to perceive that all individuals and that they all bring unique insights, perspectives and views to the team. On the off chance that managers and leaders can find ways to engage with each of the generational groups and the individuals within them then the nursing profession could be considerably further along the way to dealing with the current and looming enrollment and retention crisis. (Hayes 2013)
In dealing with multigenerational issues it may be valuable to meet the top ﬁve employee needs of any generation. These are commonly observed as providing an opportunity to advance within the organization, facilitating a superior work/life balance, offering better or more focused remuneration and benefits, providing respect and acknowledgment and access to opportunities for learning and improvement (Hall 2005). Finally, employers can better support a multigenerational workforce by offering opportunities to train, coach and motivate all generational groups. This may be particularly the case for issues of leadership, advanced clinical skills, problem solving and basic leadership skills, team working and communication skills.
HR Policy and Practices
HR departments remain involved in the improvement of business strategy either from the outset or through consultation, although their involvement has declined somewhat (ranging from 80% in 2004 to 78% in 2009 to 76% in 2014/15). There was a decrease in the percentage of HR departments NOT counselled when the organization was going through a merger, relocation or acquisition in the vicinity of 2004 and 2009 (8% in 2004, 4% in 2009); nonetheless, in 2014/15 the percentage came back to 9%, a level similar to that reported in 2004. More positively, more than one half of HR departments report that they are counselled from the outset in such situations, which has remained stable since 2004 at 54-61% (depending on the sort of organizational change), an indication that HR continues to be involved in processes vital to the accomplishment of organizations. (Farndale. E, Vidovic. M, Rockey. E, 2015)
The HR department appears to move away from working jointly with line management as far as where the obligation lies for major policy decisions across an entire range of HRM activities such as pay and benefits, enlistment and determination, training and improvement, industrial relations and workforce expansion/decrease. In many cases, there has been an increase in either the HR department taking sole obligation regarding these activities or line management taking duty (but at a much lower absolute level), with a simultaneous decrease in the quantity of cases where both parties collaborated on the activity drove either by HR or by line management. On average, line management is most active in the area of training and improvement and least active in establishing pay and benefits policies.
This trend implies that HR and line management roles may end up plainly institutionalized, with each party focusing all alone duties. The increasing regulatory condition may play a part here, with firms needing clear guidelines around obligations to ensure compliance with regulations and standards. (Farndale. E, Vidovic. M, Rockey. E, 2015)
HR Policies and Practices
There is good evidence in previous research that HR policies and practices play a critical role in shaping the relationship amongst employers and employees (Gould-Williams 2007). Our analysis reveals that lone about a quarter of employees are satisfied with the HR practices in their organization. The majority of all respondents, 38%, are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and a considerable number, 35%, indicate their dissatisfaction with HR practices.
Respondents indicate several areas for improvement, such as performance appraisal systems, training and advancement opportunities and career management systems Previous studies have demonstrated that individuals’ perceptions of HR practices positively impact upon employee outcomes, such as organizational commitment and job satisfaction (Conway and Monks 2009, Kinnie et al 2005). We therefore aimed to assess whether HR practices are also a significant predictor of employee engagement by analyzing the relationship between both variables through statistical tests. (Gatenby. M (2010)
In contrast to what we expected, we don’t find a direct association between HR policies and practices and employee engagement. Rather, our analysis reveals that the relationship between HR practices and engagement is indirect. HR practices impact on two key factors: the behavior of line managers and person–job fit, or the match amongst individuals and their jobs. It is these two factors that have the most important impact on engagement and not HR practices in and of themselves. (Gatenby. M (2010)
Old policies in the new age
In this continually changing condition the one thing that has remained constant is Human Resources. Most organizations are either unaware or loathe to relook at set ways of managing HR. In any case, to see change, the old HR policies should be secured to make way for new ideas and another way of doing business in the knowledge economy. (Deodhar, S. 2017)
What Matters More: Time At Work, Or Time On Work?
In the pre-digital age, with the vast majority working a standard 8-hour shift, keeping track of employee hours was straightforward simply a matter of punching-in and punching-out, at the same time each day.
In today’s digital era, productivity isn’t about quantity (number of hours at office), but quality (how the time at work is being spent). It’s about the value that an individual brings which adds to an organization’s bottom-line. How would you quantify that output against a 40-hour week scale? Spending one minute on writing a code that saves an organization billions of dollars just cannot be seen through the myopic extent of number of hours in a day.
Moreover, as we’ve mentioned earlier, organizations are spread across geographies, and fluid policies such as work-from-home and flexi-hours make it increasingly hard to capture productive hours.
Also, with the penetration of gadgets like Smartphone, it is no longer conceivable to keep personal life outside of work life. And it is no longer conceivable to work uninterrupted. What are considered to be the best personal productivity tools are also the major digital distractions. (Deodhar, S. 2017)
Unless your kin are supremely focused and diligent, chances are, they are wasting time, knowingly or unknowingly. The distractions could act naturally inflicted like stopping mid-task to check Facebook, to post a tweet, or to react to an email. Research has demonstrated that, on an average, individuals switch between tasks at regular intervals and five seconds. The same research also says that it takes approximately 23 minutes to return to the original task. In this way, that ‘I’ll simply check Facebook for five minutes’ is actually 5 minutes, in addition to 23 minutes.
What may appear to be small distractions rapidly heap up to wind up plainly large pieces of wasted time that cannot be ignored. Research has demonstrated that of all the time wasted about 35-38% is on the internet, 23% on emails, and another 23% in meetings and almost half on calls or texts. The amount of time lost in doing non-productive work (official or personal) can cause your organization to bleed financially.
Organizations need to look past a system that captures time for the sake of marking attendance as it were. In today’s digital and knowledge economy, organizations require a management system that will capture data for compliance as well as to increase employee engagement. Time and Attendance system ought to be a tool that not just captures data for time and attendance, but can also be utilized by HR for driving employee engagement and productivity. (Deodhar, S. 2017)
Why Can’t Individuals Work From Home?
Many individuals are intentionally choosing to stay away from the clamor of the city. Unfortunately, most offices still live within these commercial districts. How, then, do the two meet? By giving employees the flexibility to work from home. The time and effort saved in simply the drive, also the money, can be used to improve productivity.
Naturally, a few organizations have reservations about the effectiveness of this system. Without the constant supervision or the correct working condition, would it be feasible for employees to actually work and not fritter away time? Also, how does an organization track its employees’ time when they’re not in office?
Yes, there are timesheets and manual registers that can be filled either from home or on days the employee is at office. But these can be fudged– employees can allocate more hours than they’ve actually worked, utilize office hours for personal work, take longer breaks during work hours and do excessive overtime. While it won’t not appear like a significant problem, these minutes and hours can rapidly heap up. Not just is that a financial liability, it is also wastage of productive hours. (Deodhar, S. 2017)
For employees who have selected to work from home, productivity software proves to be useful, working independently and clocking in productive time. The data captured from these automated systems can be transferred to a centralized computer that monitors employee attendance, actual working time and the resulting output. A consolidated dashboard gives managers a one-glance perspective of time versus productivity. This works in more ways than one. Organizations can not just track employee time when working from home, but they can also identify top achievers, study their effective work patterns and replicate those across the team, drive employee engagement and empower managers with the knowledge required to help employees.
Each organization depends on its managers’ ability to assess and map employee productivity in a single session – the annual appraisal.
Ideally, employees ought to get constant and regular feedback from their managers. This gives employees an opportunity to assess their skills, their strengths and weaknesses in a real life scenario and they can take action to amend their ways immediately. (Deodhar, S. 2017)
Employee Engagement – One size does not fit all
A report by Dale Carnegie Training demonstrates that Indian employees are more engaged than their global counterparts, with the Indian figure standing at 46% while the global average is 34% and that of the US is at 30%. Before we take pride in these numbers, we should begin to think about the remaining are dissatisfied, disgruntled and disengaged at the workplace.
In today’s dynamic, competitive and complex business condition, organizations must realize that to stay relevant they require highly engaged employees to maintain high levels of productivity.
Before embarking upon any initiatives, organizations must understand that not each employee works in the same way. Productivity times, skills and abilities, all vary, and engagement plans must be implemented accordingly. Ensuring correct work allocation with realistic timelines, encouraging work life balance, promoting employee wellness and implementing a positive work culture are recently a portion of the things organizations can do to increase employee motivation. (Deodhar, S. 2017)
The following strides can help employers increase employee engagement in their organization:
Recognizing the efforts of your employees
Regularly recognizing efforts and the achievement of an employee keeps employee morale up. The feel-good factor motivates them to perform up to their highest potential.
Removing roadblocks that hinder achievement
By monitoring employee performance, management can identify issues that employees are facing while at the same time executing their tasks. Eliminating these issues enhances the trust factor between the employees and the management, which eventually leads to better engagement at work.
Guiding the performance by effective feedback
Feedback must be used to chart the future of an employee’s growth. Utilized effectively, this is a transparent tool and offers nothing but honest and constructive feedback. Accordingly, employees are more engaged and search for ways to enhance their performance.
Reward individuals to help them build better work habits
Utilize the failsafe R&R program. By giving public incentives and public rewards, it is conceivable to boost productivity. Organizations can announce monthly winners based on either one of these parameters:
- Maximum work done during normal business hours: This can help eliminate overworked employees who cannot otherwise strike the elusive work-life balance.
- Reduced distractions: Employees will be incentivised to spend more hours on core activities instead of non-core ones.
- Use smart technologies: Companies can adopt software that will give data about how individuals spend their time at work, which in turn can be utilized to create customized L&D programs that will encourage individuals to adopt better work habits.
This leads us to conclude in an era of fast changing global macro-economic-social scenarios, the modern enterprise would need to adopt progressive HR policies. (Deodhar, S. 2017)
A Change in Engagement: How Different Generations Engage
While examining the characteristics of each generation, we find differences in employee engagement amongst the prominent generations within the workplace. Baby Boomers have learned the value of teamwork; they have an inordinate appreciation for the power of teams and for working in harmony with others (Johnson and Johnson, 2010). Boomers’ value of teamwork is important in understanding their engagement in the workplace. (Fong. W. S. V, 2015). Baby Boomers tend to be most engaged when they feel valuable to the organization, have the freedom to act on their accumulated knowledge and skills, are not micromanaged, are motivated about their jobs, and feel secure about the organization supporting their needs (Johnson and Johnson, 2010).
In contrast, Generation Xers tend to be highly independent workers, not liking to work in teams. Gen Xers’ disdain for teamwork is just superseded by their explicit or tacit requirement for sustainability (Johnson and Johnson, 2010). Gen Xers expect work to engage, place high value on fast-paced action and having fun, tend to get bored rapidly, and appreciate work conditions that are challenging, exciting, and have opportunities for growth (Johnson and Johnson, 2010). Millennials require interest in them as a person and view engaging as the ability to reach out and relationally interface with their direct report, while finding points of association (Espinoza, Ukleja, and Rusch, 2010).
In addition, Millennials expect others in the workplace to be empathetic, curious, and to invest in relationships based on trust (Espinoza et al., 2010). For Baby Boomers, work has turned into the most important goal in their lives. Boomers work hard and self-identify by their work performance (Zemke et al., 1999). Therefore, Boomers put bunches of effort into their work. Thus, Boomers expect to get recognition, especially publicly, and are resultantly looking for respect for their accomplishments (Zemke et al., 1999). Generation Xers consider survival most important to them and are regularly focused on the struggle to achieve work-life balance (Kupperschmidt, 2000). Gen Xers are regarded to be “the most attention-deprived and neglected generation in a long time” (Zemke et al., 1999).
Millennials are considered to possess characteristics from both the Boomer and Gen Xer cohorts: teamwork spirit and technological savvy, respectively (Zemke et al., 1999). Nonetheless, Millennials are deemed unpolished in areas of experience and interpersonal skills, especially handling troublesome individuals issues. These unpolished areas bring Millennials hard times in the workplace (Zemke et al., 1999). Millennials experienced childhood in protective situations, secured by parents and teachers who have counseled and consoled them throughout their lives (Zemke et al. 1999). Millennials want to innovate, revamp and make things better (Lancaster and Stillman, 2010). The combination of Millennials’ outward confidence and competency in technology characterizes them as a cohort wanting its voice to be heard (Lancaster and Stillman, 2010).
The most effective method to Engage Millennials
Creating engagement strategies is one of management’s big goals. But managers who have developed fruitful strategies for retaining boomers are going to have put those strategies in the corporate archives. Creating strategies to engage millennials requires an entire different approach – and strategy.
My research explored various key issues around Millennials and engagement. I continued to remember two main contemplations throughout. To begin with, are millennial and baby boomer engagement needs different? Are they sufficiently different to warrant different engagement strategies for each generation? And second, I wanted to identify which engagement drivers were appropriate for each generation. Using both quantitative analyses, which used employee engagement survey data from more than 3,500 millennial and baby boomer respondents in six companies, as well as 10 qualitative interviews, I ordered conclusions that are relevant for senior leaders in charge of engagement policies. (Gilbert. J, 2011)
With regards to employee engagement, I concluded that generational differences do exist amongst millennials and baby boomers. As the social characteristics of the generations differ, it appeared to be plausible at the outset that the ways in which employees wind up plainly satisfied with their work and bring both their bodies and their minds to work each day would be different. In pushing these findings further and into practice, employers ought to adopt the conviction that to sustain prolonged engagement, they should understand carefully manage the engagement drivers and threats.
To give you an idea of what engagement drivers (an increase in the perception of the driver generates an increase in engagement) and engagement threats (a decrease in the perception of the driver generates a decrease in engagement) (Gilbert. J, 2011) are part of the overall engagement equation, here is a subset of the full rundown of drivers and threats measured in the study: career opportunities; corporate social responsibility; employee health and well-being; employer reputation; learning and development; managing performance; senior leadership, and work-life balance.
As part of the outputs from my analysis, “Managing Performance” and “Career Opportunities” were seen as the most important engagement drivers. “Employer Reputation” and “Managing Performance” were seen as the most important engagement threats. (Gilbert. J, 2011)
In the interviews, participants shared the following observations on their engagement experience with employers.
- “If corporations wish to motivate and engage their workforce, a one-size fits all approach will not work. Middle management should be tasked and empowered to manage employee engagement on a micro scale. The corporation should be tasked on managing engagement on a macro scale.”
- “Many baby boomer employees with greater than 30 years experience with the company recognize the need to be flexible, adapt to new conditions and work as a team. Another portion of this group, however, are ‘stuck’ in old habits and are not flexible to new changes. A smaller but growing group of millennials with less than 5 years experience are eager to learn and develop, and are flexible to change.”
- “There has been a focus in the last couple of years to train and retain top talent. This involves making sure these individuals have access to different opportunities including business development, challenging/interesting engagements and international assignments.”
- “If I get feedback from above as to if what I am doing is ok, needs changes, should do more or less, etc., I do not care about the message. I am very receptive to even quite negative feedback, but I like knowing where I stand, and I like knowing what the expectations are and how I’m stacking up.” (Gilbert. J, 2011)
Engagement is a measure where inputs vary in the overall engagement equation across organizations. One company cannot necessarily imitate the engagement practices or utilize the engagement variables of another to achieve success. The job of managers and human resources professionals in charge of engagement is to realize that there are generational differences, and that the engagement drivers for their company won’t always be the same as their leading competitor, business partner, or parent company. By buying into this notion, leaders ought to begin conversations in their own organizations in pushing to learn which drivers they can adjust to increase engagement, and which drivers they should protect to prevent decreases in engagement across generations.
What is Employee Engagement?
‘Engagement is about creating opportunities for employees to connect with their colleagues, managers and wider organisation. It is also about creating an environment where employees are motivated to want to connect with their work and really care about doing a good job … It is a concept that places flexibility, change and continuous improvement at the heart of what it means to be an employee and an employer in a twenty-first-century workplace.’ (CIPD 2009)
Engagement is more than simply satisfaction or even commitment. Satisfied employees may be happy but make little contribution to the organization; yet committed employees may concentrate on the wrong goals. Producing a satisfied and committed workforce is a worthwhile aim but all alone it is insufficient. (CIPD, 2008)
We measured and analyzed levels of engagement in various different ways. Individuals were asked a series of inquiries that were designed to evaluate how engaged they are with their work, each using a five-point reaction scale. These inquiries combine to create three separate scales each measuring social, affective and intellectual engagement. We measured these facets of engagement in terms of both extent – that is the manner by which engaged the person is – and frequency – that is the means by which often they are engaged. We also analyzed our data in terms of the overall extent and frequency of engagement, combining the three scales into an aggregate measure of engagement. This means that we are able to talk about engagement from various angles.
In terms of the overall extent of engagement, on the off chance that we separate our respondents into five categories corresponding to our five-point reaction scale, we found that 8% of respondents are ‘strongly engaged’ with their work (that is, scoring 4.5 or over on the scale out of a conceivable 5). A further 70% can be portrayed as “moderately” or “somewhat” engaged (scoring in the vicinity of 3.5 and 4.5 on the scale), and only 1% as weakly engaged, with the remaining 21% neither engaged nor disengaged. (CIPD, 2008)
Employee engagement can be distinguished in three facets of engagement.
- Social Engagement
- Affective Engagement
- Intellectual Engagement
These findings comparing across the three facets of engagement give an interesting insight into how engagement operates in practice. Scores for social engagement are the lowest, which was reflected within each of the organizations individually, both in terms of extent and frequency. Levels of affective engagement are highest, with intellectual engagement occupying an intermediate position. The relatively low level of social engagement in terms of both extent and frequency is of concern. Social engagement is a measure of how much individuals at work participate in constructive dialog with people around them about their work or how to improve working techniques or skills (CIPD, 2008). This is firmly linked with notions of organizational social capital, which proposes that one of the most important resources at an organization’s disposal is the network of relationships both within the organization and past. Where levels of social engagement are low, this may mean that organizations are not capitalizing on the unique strengths and knowledge of their workforce. (Alfes. K 2010)
Importance and Benefits of Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is not a management fad. While each organization wants committed and enthusiastic individuals working for it, the evidence recommends there is a genuine shortfall in levels of motivation in UK workplaces. Research for the (CIPD 2006) found that lone about a third of UK employees are engaged with their work; Gallup distinguishes a figure of 29% for the United States. (Alfes. K 2010)
More recent research (CIPD 2009) recommends that UK employers are adopting engagement strategies to achieve a range of business targets, including:
- Setting another strategic direction for the organization
- Improving organizational performance through positive contributions of employees
- Maintaining maximum flexibility and openness to change in an uncertain market climate.
Many organizations know they have to find ways to maintain employee engagement in the subsidence to protect their ability to react in the upturn.
CIPD (2006) research demonstrates engaged employees perform better than others, are more likely to recommend their organization to others, take less wiped out leave, and are more averse to quit. They experience increased job satisfaction and more positive attitudes and feelings towards their work. This recommends that enhanced levels of engagement benefit both individual and employer. (Alfes. K 2010)
Most employers that measure and manage employee engagement trust it has significant performance benefits for them. For example, figures at Visa Europe indicate customer satisfaction increasing in the course of the last five years in parallel with levels of employee engagement. In the Department for Work and Pensions, perceptions of customer administration are influenced by differences in the level of engagement between individual employees.
The experience of employers like these demonstrates that employee engagement can reinforce individuals’ management strategies by:
- focusing on the core issues of trust and involvement that are central to high performance
- offering a framework for identifying and addressing issues that can undermine positive employment relations
- supporting an effective performance management process.
Engaged employees can be defined as those displaying ‘discretionary effort’, which they can volunteer or withhold. The CIPD ‘people and performance’ model (2003) developed at Bath University and drawing on extensive casework, demonstrates that discretionary employee behavior is associated with higher business performance. There has been no genuine challenge to the research on which this model is based, or to the proposition that engaged employees outperform the individuals who are not engaged.
Employees benefit from Employee Engagement
Without a doubt they do: engaged employees will have a greater sense of well-being than the individuals who are less engaged. They are more likely to be satisfied with their work, less likely to be sick and less likely to leave the organization. This is unsurprising since good management is critical to employee engagement. Employee engagement is not a synonym for work intensity: on the contrary, high engagement levels are associated with flexible working patterns. Surveys also demonstrate that engaged employees see their work as more meaningful and fulfilling. (Wyatt. W. 2006)
The idea of engagement also comes as near as any practical management philosophy is likely to do to incorporating the idea of ‘pluralism’, which underpinned classical academic thinking about industrial relations.
In other words, employee engagement focuses on the employment relationship as being at the heart of sustainable high performance. And it perceives that both employer and employee have to make a genuine contribution. That level of performance cannot be achieved by a top-down, or ‘unitarist’, style of management.
Looking at more recent ideas about what drives high performance, the idea of “flow” is a product of the US school of positive psychology. (Csíkszentmihályi, 2008) distinguishes various factors as accompanying an experience of flow, including:
- Clear goals
- Concentration on a limited field of attention
- Absence of self-consciousness
- Direct and immediate feedback
- Balance between ability level and challenge
- A sense of personal control over the situation or activity.
The idea of flow has wide application – for example, to leisure activities such as playing a musical instrument – and are not limited in its application to the workplace. It would, moreover, be unrealistic to recommend it as a target for the experience of work in all circumstances. Be that as it may, it highlights the potential pay-off for employees who are completely engaged with their work.
The Drivers Of Employee Engagement
Surveys demonstrate that organizations have their own particular issues, and there is no standard template for deciding which specific policies and practices will have most impact on performance. Different groups of employees are influenced by different combinations of factors, and organizations need to consider carefully what is most important to their own particular staff. In any case, CIPD (2006) recommends that key drivers of employee engagement are:
- Employees having opportunities to sustain views upwards
- Feeling well informed about what is happening in the organization
- Thinking that their manager is committed to the organization.
These findings reinforce the importance of internal communications. They also underline that organizations need to shift from a traditional ‘command and control’ management style towards a more consultative and participative style. Managerial fairness in dealing with problems, and treating employees with respect, also has an important influence on outcomes.
CIPD (2004) research into the ‘psychological contract’ underlines the importance for morale of employees feeling they can trust the employer and believing they are treated fairly. This has encouraged into current thinking about the ’employer brand’, which is the place marketing and HR functions meet. Organizations can utilize their employer brand to identify the positive elements of the deal on offer that assistance to select and retain employees. (Wyatt. W. 2006)
Having a clear organizational purpose and values are also critical to gaining effective employee commitment. Having a clear ‘line of sight’ means that employees’ energies won’t be directed towards irrelevant or low priority targets, but to meeting business priorities. People want to work for organizations that do well and are respected. Employers such as Marks and Spencer adopt policies to protect nature as much to engage their workforce as to appeal to customers (‘because there is no plan B’).
People on flexible employment contracts tend to be more emotionally engaged, more satisfied with their work, more likely to speak positively about their organization and less likely to quit than those not on such contracts.
The drive for an engaged workforce needs to build on good people management and development policies as well as the active support of line managers. People management strategies and policies should be aligned with those of the wider business. Employees need to understand how their work contributes to organizational outcomes. There is no shortcut to building and maintaining employee engagement, but the time, effort and asset required will be amply repaid by the performance benefits.
Employee engagement is essentially an outcome of high-performance working or good people management. But organizations that adopt strategies aimed at increasing employee engagement are aiming to identify priorities for leveraging performance – engagement offers a tool for doing this. It is also a term that resonates with senior managers, which means that it require not be hard to get support for engagement strategies across the organization.
Most if not all employee engagement initiatives start with the use of employee attitude surveys to measure attitudes and establish areas that need attention. But surveys should be followed by effective action to address issues distinguished or they will have a negative impact on attitudes. Survey findings can be of particular value where they support benchmarking of performance, whether after some time or between work units or with other organizations. (Wyatt. W. 2006)
Fundamental to managing engagement as a process is ensuring that action is taken on the findings of employee attitude surveys. Failure to follow through generally has a damaging effect on attitudes and on the rate of response to subsequent surveys.
The Barriers To Successful Employee Engagement
Attitudes to senior managers are often quite negative. The evidence is that exclusive a third of employees have confidence in or trusts their senior management team while just two in five say that directors and senior managers treat employees with respect. Simply under half of all employees say they see their work as ‘only a job’ or are interested but not looking to be more involved. On the off chance that organizations want to build an engagement agenda on secure foundations, they should hope to create a management culture based on mutual trust and respect.
The key to engaging employees is line management effectiveness. It is said that people don’t leave their jobs; they leave individual managers. Survey evidence demonstrates that people are generally unhappy with the way they are managed: employees see their line managers as being poor at many of the basic things expected to support positive attitudes. (Wyatt. W. 2006)
Responding to surveys, employees say their managers don’t talk about their training and development needs, don’t give feedback on how they are performing and don’t make them feel their work counts. Those employees with positive views about their managers and senior managers are most engaged with their work, perform better and are less likely to quit.
Building employee engagement into appraisal of managers’ performance
Organizations that have adopted employee engagement strategies for a few years don’t necessarily spend their time trying to raise engagement levels across the board. Where engagement scores bolster into the appraisal process for managers, low scores in individual units can give as much useful information as higher scores. Identifying line managers whose poor leadership skills are leaching value from the organization can be a worthwhile target. This is not about penalizing individuals with low engagement scores. It is about using department or team results to identify managers who require help, in order to offer them appropriate coaching and development. (Doe. M 2015)
Managing through the recession
Maintaining employee engagement in a recession can be a challenge. Anxieties about job security can distract employees and undermine their enthusiasm. The problems are heightened if redundancies take place: research demonstrates that changing employment conditions, particularly where jobs are lost, are extremely damaging to the psychological contract. This applies to those employees who are not themselves made redundant but who mirror ‘that could have been me’. More employees will experience the ill effects of stress as a result.
Stress at work and mental health problems, like anxiety and depression, are likely to wind up plainly a growing challenge for individuals and employers during the recession. Research demonstrates that the longer someone is off sick the less likely they are to make a successful come back to work. Employers need to address these issues, for example by giving employees access to counselling support, to maintain a positive workplace climate. (Doe. M 2015)
Another important engagement blocker is conflict. Bullying or lack of respect will undermine employee engagement, pointing to the importance of policies on diversity and conflict management. The key is encouraging line managers to spot problems at an early stage and take action to determine them. Training or coaching managers in handling ‘difficult conversations’, or giving them mediation skills, can be a valuable investment in developing a positive organizational culture. This will not just lessen the time and vitality went through in dealing with conflict but will contribute to improving relationships across the organization and helping employees feel valued.
Dissatisfaction with pay will often lead people to quit. A sound pay policy, including benchmarking surveys, is therefore critical to retention of top performers. In any case, the real issue for performance is whether or not the content of the job is meaningful to the individual. The quality of management is more important than pay and conditions in this respect. Managers ought to also consider how jobs are organized, job content and the working environment to create meaningful work for everyone. (Doe. M 2015)
There is no standard list of the constituents of employee engagement. In any case, there is widespread agreement that surveys ought to measure various factors, including employee commitment, organizational citizenship, and satisfaction, attitudes to management, work–life balance and intention to leave.
The Q12 ‘elements of great managing’ identified by (Gallup, 2006), based on extensive research correlating employee responses with a range of business outcomes, offer a useful summary of what engagement looks and feels like. They include ‘I know what is expected of me at work’, ‘In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work’ and ‘At work, my opinions appear to count’. Other organizations, including the CIPD and the Institute of Employment Studies, have published lists of up to 100 survey questions that can be used to measure employee engagement.
Responsibility to Manage Employee Engagement
Employee engagement has to be the responsibility of both senior management and line managers. In terms of the Gallup tool Q12, for example, senior management is responsible for setting a culture within which ‘the mission/purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important’, while the line manager needs to ensure that ‘I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow’. There are obvious links with organizational leadership. (Ferndale. E 2015)
For employee engagement initiatives to be effective, they need to be owned by the top management team. But the CIPD believes that the key focus for organizations ought to be on line management capability. It is often remarked that people join organizations but leave individual managers. The influence of the line manager on people’s perceptions of their work is profound.
HR departments have a key role to play in implementing engagement initiatives. This will generally include designing and carrying out employee surveys, testing the findings through focus groups and advising senior managers on their significance. HR professionals will also have the job of helping line managers to raise their game. HR may need to liaise with marketing to build up the ’employer brand’ or incorporate the findings of employee surveys within performance management processes. Several major employers, including retailer B&Q, use team engagement scores to distinguish good and weak performance by line managers. (Doe. M 2015)
Trade Unions Help With Employee Engagement
Given the importance of two-way dialog in driving employee engagement, a genuinely consultative climate will clearly contribute to raising levels of employee engagement. Where the relationship amongst management and trade unions is viewed as a ‘partnership’, union support for engagement strategies may be valuable in raising their profile. (Farndale. E 2015)
Be that as it may, HR directors in the private sector tend to see at best a limited relationship between machinery for negotiation or consultation and employee engagement. Some union officials may be suspicious of employee surveys and may (wrongly) see employee engagement as a union avoidance strategy. Employers may also need to address worries about the confidentiality of survey data.
A ‘Human Capital’ Approach
A human capital model can link HR information such as attitudes, recruitment and turnover from across a range of business units in a consistent way, so it can then be analyzed with key business indicators. The credibility of the model depends on the ability to demonstrate how engagement helps employees add value. Analysis of performance data can demonstrate how productivity varies in relation to engagement levels and can identify the levers management can pull to make a difference to levels of discretionary effort by employees. (Ferndale. E 2015)
CHAPTER 4: Discussion
Shell and Unilever case study
Great Ambition, Greater Challenge
Headquartered in its administrative seat of Holland, The Hague, Shell is a global energy company with businesses in upstream, downstream, and, as a third stream, projects and technology. In upstream, Shell searches for and recovers crude oil and natural gas. The downstream businesses refine, supply, trade, and ship crude oil worldwide and also manufacture and market a range of petrochemicals and products for industrial customers. The projects and technology stream manages the delivery of Shell’s major projects and drives the research and innovation needed to create technology solutions. (Günther. R, 2015)
With about 3,300 employees and a budget of US$810 million, Shell’s Human Resources (HR) function is one of the largest among multinational corporations. Traditionally, HR offices at Shell were largely administrative, handling transactions while also providing services, such as recruitment and training, as well as advice to those leading the businesses. Until the late 1990s, Shell HR was completely decentralized geographically and offered flexible support and problem solving as its offices were designed to cater to the needs of individual countries and business units. HR IT systems were aligned with this decentralized business model with different systems at country level or even within countries for different business units. The high level of flexibility, be that as it may, had resulted in inconsistent policies and processes and kept down the development of a professional business advisory capability. Because individual countries and business units shared neither a single infrastructure nor a common way of working, the decentralized HR functions constantly replicated solutions when trying to deal with similar problems. (Günther. R, 2015)
Case Study: Shell Group
Measuring the measures
The Shell Group of energy and petrochemical companies invests a great deal in developing its people and measuring their performance. So as a company that strives to be in the top quartile for all of its activities, Shell wanted to assess how well its own particular HR professionals regarded the career development, performance management, and talent management processes for HR people against a best in class benchmark.
As this initial project has more than demonstrated its worth, Shell extended the scope of Hay Group’s work, with a broader program of research, with 100 interviews across a broader range of people and a greater range of subjects under investigation. Interviewees were informed in advance by Lee Patterson, head of HR strategy that:
The HR executive has engaged the Hay Group to direct an independent qualitative assessment of Shell’s HR performance against a best practice peer group from Fortune100 companies. (Haygroup.com, 2013).
The Beginning: Shell People as the Global Platform
In 2000, Shell People was launched with the aim of harmonizing processes and harvesting the benefits of commonality through a global IT platform. The plan was to reveal the platform country by country across the world.
The project steering group drove by senior HR managers, organized extensive road shows to communicate the vision to business units after presenting the vision and business case to Shell’s top management. Behind the transformational vision was a simple reality. As Group HR Director, Hugh Mitchell, commented:
“Shell People was an outcome of the condition of the existing infrastructure rather than our identifying another way of doing things out there … We had to spend an enormous amount of capital anyway on fixing and upgrading the existing infrastructure, so it was evident that we ought to include another system.” (Haygroup.com, 2013)
The steering group committed to executing Shell People in line with Shell’s corporate culture. Notwithstanding the standardization goals of the project, the Shell People steering group was ready to listen to individual voices and offer adaptation to local needs. The promise was that Shell People would be a win-win situation. It would fulfill HR’s transformation vision, offer local business units an a great deal more efficient and reliable system, and would not cost the company extra money.
The new IT platform was offered to local business units as a service. HR provided the development funding while local businesses were asked to pay for the implementation cost. A Shell business manager in Asia believed in the transformation and was prepared to take the risk. “He was our pioneer”, said Senior Project Manager, Arthur Williamson. “When we had the pioneer, then we had some early adopters to follow.” (Haygroup.com, 2013).
The followers were far less than HR had wanted. By mid-2002, just six countries out of 100 had implemented the Shell People platform. Local business units argued that since they were paying for the implementation, they wanted it customized. “We dismissed all our common process and data goals”, said Williamson. “There were constant challenges between local teams, which got to a point where we had spent all of the money that was budgeted and still had whatever is left of the world to go.” (Günther. R, 2015)
Amanda Manzoni, Vice President HR Shared Services, reflected on the problem: “Everyone adores standardization as long as it is standardization according to their own rules.” There was a ton of disbelief at the receiving end, she recalled. “People didn’t take the time to understand the strategy behind Shell People. At the point when change hit them, they didn’t want to be there. So they largely ignored it.” This typical reaction to change represented both business and HR communities at Shell. “They tried to ignore it for as long as possible until that point where they could no longer do things the old way”, Manzoni added.
Four years after the initial launch of Shell People, the result was devastating. In spite of a major investment, the project was massively over budget and after some time, not well received by business units, and the user interface was described as “obnoxious”. The failure of Shell People started to pose a potential threat on the Board agenda. (Günther. R, 2015)
Crisis as Opportunity
Despite the negative perspectives on Shell People, the Board did not give up on the HR transformation because it believed in the ultimate value of the program, even with significant outlay of funds. Determined to make it work, Shell’s then Chairman, Phil Watts, intervened personally. He replaced the steering group that used to consist exclusively of HR people with a Program Board that included the CFO, HR Director, and IT Director under his personal direction. He introduced totally new funding and governance models that followed a top-down approach, which was the opposite of the former consensual approach, and acquired five senior managers to run the program. (Günther. R, 2015)
Shell HR Online
The next phase of the program was focused on HR Online, which took three years to finish from July 2006 to June 2009. Its initial rollout in September 2008 took place in 84 countries and affected 96,000 people, including the user community, business managers, employees, and supervisors. Built on the global platform of Shell People, it supports a single global HR policy, uniform transaction process, and self-service functions.
Shell Business Service Centre Vice President, Mike Sinclair, said: “HR Online is really cool. It has a search facility that is almost ‘Google-like’ and is continuing to improve. The web forms are outstanding: When it is time to give somebody a bonus or promote somebody, you just click, up comes a web form pre-populated with the data, and with two clicks, the transaction is processed. Previously, there would have been all sorts of dialogue and exchange of e-mails, and it might still take a long time for things to get done timely.”
Key Learnings from the HR Transformation at Shell
From 2005 to 2009, Shell successfully transformed its HR from a decentralized organization to an efficient centralized organization. Shell HR can rise to its maximum capacity in the now clearly differentiated activities of transaction processing, centers of excellence, and business partnering, winning top management recognition as a “best-in-class” function. Because administrative processes are largely simplified, Shell has achieved significant cost savings.
- Take advantage of events that assistance to push forward fast. Slow advance in the first phase of HR Transformation put pressure on the company to improve project management and decision processes. This was underpinned by the cultural change that accompanied Shell’s Corporate rebuild. The coincidence of these events accelerated Shell’s HR Transformation. In Mitchell’s words: “At the end of the day, the arguments for change were compelling, but the Corporate Restructure crystallized the arguments into a strategy which drove things forward in a way that may not have happened otherwise.” (Bruch, H., 2013).
- Create a powerful guiding coalition. In response to slow advance, Shell introduced a tight top-down governance body to manage HR transformation – championed by the Group CEO, controlled by key business heads, and drove by the Group HR Director – with a clear mandate for action. With this new governance model, decision-making power was recentralized, enabling Shell to push the transformation forward. As Manzoni said: “Without strong leadership, we would not have advanced as expected.”
- Reflect on events and learn from them. Shell learned from the first phase of its HR Transformation, following an emergent rather than deliberate path and always looking back to make the a large portion of what worked and adjust what didn’t. Like any adventure of change, as Manzoni watched, “one needs to backpedal and reinforce, time and time again, to ensure that the learning is really implanted, and then one can leverage from that point.” (Bruch, H., 2013).
- Make a holistic case for change. At the point when compared to other investment opportunities, the case for a HR Change project will never be won based on financial indicators. In any case, management believed in the necessity of such transformation to support a global organization reliant on highly skilled resources and also to remain cost competitive. As Mitchell put it: “Just by looking at the transformation holistically can one drive it on course.” Shell followed its sense of reality to make the transformation happen. (Bruch, H., 2013).
- Enact clear governance. Shell implemented a tight and clear governance model rather than the agreement model previously used. Mitchell remarked: “The transformation is an activity that has to be done. While change is difficult for some, they ultimately realize that, overall, things work for the better and at less cost.”
- Get alignment. A transparent cost allocation model aligned to governance structures drove project decisions and outcomes in the right direction. In the phase of Shell People when local market units were asked to fund the project, they wanted it customized to their tastes. In the phase of Shell HR Online, funding came from headquarters so the market units had to follow what headquarters demanded, making it possible to move all of Shell toward the same goal. (Bruch, H., 2013).
- Make the vast majority of a big win for some key stakeholders. The HR Online rollout was aligned with the introduction of new Expatriate Policies and processes to support them. HR Online underpinned this change, supporting self-service and automation. The new way of working was quickly recognized as a big stride forward. From the experiences of this large group of influential managers, a more positive attitude toward the HR transformation emerged in the wider employee community.
- Leverage well-networked middle managers as cultural bridges for disruptive change. To manage HR transformation, Shell leveraged the knowledge and skills of middle managers who knew both business and IT. They are the link between senior management and IT professionals, ensuring that direction given by the top will reach the work floor and be well understood. These middle managers also have extensive networks within Shell, knowing whom to call for particular issues, which made the execution of HR transformation significantly easier. (Haygroup.com, 2013).
Case Study: Unilever
Unilever’s Human Resource Management
Unilever is one of the companies that have set examples of efficient human asset management. The company focuses greatly on human rights and ensures that compliance with human rights is carried out through its positive assurance process. In order to learn about the perspective of its employees, Unilever carried out self-assessments of employees, external audits, and trainings. The strategic management of Unilever realizes that happiness among employees directly influences the success and growth of its business.
Unilever has initiated numerous campaigns internationally that strengthen its HRM strategy and enhance the motivation of employees. In 2013, Unilever held a global ‘Winning with Integrity’ week that comprised of surveys and interviews regarding human rights, and it encouraged the suppliers of Unilever to operate to the standard set by the company. This campaign was continued in the form of the ‘speaking up’ initiative in 2014, which also helped the company learn the worries of employees around the world.
In 2013, Unilever also launched a ‘Social Impact Hub’ on its employee portal which helped the company introduce its employees to social activities. This had a positive impact on the society and linked the business with its corporate social responsibility. The center point also included information regarding human rights in order to help the employees learn about their rights in the workplace.
Apart from the international human asset campaigns, the local subsidiaries of Unilever also carry out activities that are worthy of note. For example, Unilever Klev recently installed a device that tracked employee motivation and job satisfaction on a daily basis. The employees were required to input their mood to the device consistently before exiting, and this information helped the management identify whether the employees were satisfied or dissatisfied. (Zolkifi et al., 2014)
Since its creation in 1930, Unilever never ceased to be taken as an example for many aspects: from their financial reports that continuously increased throughout the year to the creation of a foundation for people in need.
Present in 190 countries, this multinational gathers 400 brands and 174 000 people. Ranked among the top 2000 Leading Companies for 2014 by Forbes, this company generates today more than one billion euros for their income.
In the popular opinion, Unilever’s brands are often described as near people and accessible: putting the human before the brand. You may remember the ad campaign created by Dove that aims at convince women (and men) that they are « more beautiful that they think » or the numerous ads for Ben and Jerry’s Fair Trade Ice Cream. (Zolkifi et al., 2014)
Small actions Big difference
Each HR professionals would agree that managing small and large companies is two different things, although similarities remain like optimizing your coworker’s work and lead them at the edge.
Unilever is one of these companies that set in motion new and efficient human asset management pattern. The strategic management of Unilever drove by the Chief Human Resource Officer, Douglas Baillie is convinced that happiness among employees has a direct influence on the success and growth of its business.
International campaigns throughout the world have driven employees from Unilever to actively give their opinions and worries about their job and their situation. Last year, Unilever launched a « Social Impact Hub » to help employees to associate and find new social activities.
But the company also encourages local subsidiaries to create their own human resources strategies. For example Unliever Klev invented a device that tracked employee motivation and job satisfaction on daily basis. These small actions prompted big results: an increasing in net income of the company, a rise of the profitability in the course of recent years and a positive impact on the corporate social responsibility. (Zolkifi et al., 2014)
Douglas Baillie, Chief HR Officer at the HR One Gala
One of the main people behind all these projects is Douglas Baillie, Chief HR Officer. Appointed in 2011 as the Head of the Human Resources department, Douglas Baillie has been actively working for Unilever since 1978 in the South African Division.
He meets the big challenge of running a multinational company on the employee’s side. In this time of high competition, the workforce is more and more difficult to retain. Unilever has implemented innovative ways to ensure high employee motivation and ensure that their best assets will remain in the company. By tracking employees’ motivation, carrying out surveys or employees’ interview, Unilever can be taken as an example by small and large companies.
Douglas Baillie has been working with Unilever for many years, and has obtained a clear overview about the different situations for each country. He will give his main discourse at the HR One Gala on November 27th. (Hrone.lu, 2014)
Advantages of Keeping Track of Employee Motivation
In this age of highly competitive business environments, the workforce has become increasingly fluid, and it has become a challenge for organizations to retain their valuable employees. In such a scenario, one of the best ways to diminish employee turnover is to ensure that the level of motivation of employees is maintained continuously at a high level. This results in high job satisfaction and high organizational commitment, which shields the employees from switching to other organizations.
Organizations such as Unilever have implemented innovative ways to ensure high employee motivation, and the example of Unilever Klev is one of those innovative methods. At the core of all of Unilever’s strategies, was the extensive use of software technology that made communication easy within the company. Businesses, both small and big, can take a tip from Unilever’s example regarding how using the right tools and strategies shows signs of improvement employee satisfaction data. Tracking employee satisfaction and ensuring continuous communication with software driven employee scheduling helps the enterprise management devise impactful HR strategies, regardless of the size of the company. (Zolkifi et al., 2014)
Important Take Aways from the Case Study
The aim ought to be to use these software and tools towards the goal of achieving employee satisfaction. This is not so difficult when interfaces are employee and management friendly. Such software centric approaches help you plan, communicate, and manage part-time employees and freelancers as well. Accordingly, the approach used by Unilever is resonant with what small businesses and enterprises are looking to accomplish using similar tools and strategies. (Hrone.lu, 2014)
The strong financial performance of Unilever, its impressive human asset strategies, and valuable workforce have had a positive impact on the stock performance of the company. Considering the positive trend in income and profitability, it can be said that the net income of Unilever will continue to increase in the prospective periods, which will have a positive impact on the stock performance of the company. In light of this information, it can be said that Unilever stock is a ‘purchase’. (Zolkifi et al., 2014)
CHAPTER 5: Conclusion
Baby boomers are currently the largest generation of active workers. Research has demonstrated that boomers identify their strengths as organizational memory, optimism, and their willingness to work long hours. This generation experienced childhood in organizations with large corporate hierarchies, rather than flat management structures and teamwork-based job roles.
Millennials have a drastically different outlook on what they expect from their employment experience. Millennials are well educated, skilled in technology, exceptionally self-confident, able to multi-task, and have a lot of energy. They have high expectations for themselves, and prefer to work in teams, rather than as individuals. Millennials seek challenges, yet work life balance is of most extreme importance to them. They do, nonetheless, realize that their need for social interaction, immediate results in their work, and desire for expedient advancement may be viewed as weaknesses by more seasoned colleagues.
Millennials are creating a change in how work completes, as they work more in teams and use more technology. Their social mindset, be that as it may, is also a significant factor. As Leigh Buchanon writes in Meet the Millennials, “One of the characteristics of millennials, besides the fact that they are masters of digital communication, is that they are primed to do well by doing good. Almost 70 percent say that giving back and being civically engaged are their highest priorities.” (Gilbert. J, 2011)
Combined with the socially minded millennial comes their desire to be creative. Millennials have grown up in a time where information has become available instantly. Through a Google or Wikipedia search, answers to even quite complicated questions can be found. As such, millennials have developed into a group that wants to work on new and tough problems, and ones that require creative solutions. In a 2009 article by Tamara Erickson, a millennial who had been struggling in her role, admitted to peers that, “I figure I recently expected that I would get the opportunity to act on more of my ideas, and that the higher ups here would have figured out at this point that the model’s changing.” (Gen Y in the Workforce, Tamara Erickson, Harvard Business Review, February 2009)
The millennial employee is interested in feedback on his or her performance. But traditional semi-annual reviews are too infrequent for millennials. They want to know that they’ve done a good job, and they want to know now. A 2008 article in Nonprofit World provides readers with a checklist on the topic of providing millennial feedback. The list includes: give them checklists, offer a lot of help, reward them for innovating and taking appropriate risks, engage them with incessant feedback, provide them with mentors, create a collegial and team-oriented culture, and so forth. Feedback should also be given in such a way that millennials are receptive.
Not just are the timing and frequency important, but so too is the way in which feedback is framed and delivered. In Joanne Sujanski’s article “Don’t be so touchy! – The key to giving feedback to millennials,” she writes, “Instead of feeling appreciated, be that as it may, the few short accolades of “good job” were overshadowed in the employee’s mind by the more incessant criticisms he received – without guidance as to how exactly he could improve.” (SuperVision, December 2009). Sujanski reaches an insightful conclusion: Whether positive or negative, feedback needs to be organized in a way that leaves no space for misunderstanding. Feedback needs to be clear and specific to be effective. (Gilbert. J, 2011)
The Key Findings from the Study
Generational gaps do exist. The results reveal that employee engagement differences are likely to exist across generations. These gaps have distinct impacts on employee engagement. While companies have unique drivers within their organizations, there were trends among the participating companies in this study that indicate which drivers are more likely to become high priority for employees (managing performance, recognition, career opportunities). Furthermore, this study identified that drivers can be categorized by generation. This is another learning not currently discussed in existing research.
Having an engagement strategy is insufficient. By looking in detail at the results, companies can understand those drivers on which boomers and millennials are aligned – and those on which they are not aligned. Whether a driver is more or less important for millennials is just the first indicator. Ought to there be a difference in how millennials and boomers react to a driver, the larger the gap between generations, the larger the opportunity for making adjustments will be. For example, data from one company in the study, where intrinsic motivation was a key engagement driver, proposed that 11 percent more boomers get a sense of accomplishment from their work than millennials. Increasing the statistic for millennials would offer increases in overall engagement for millennials. In the same company, there was just a difference of 3 percent across generations relating to People/HR Practices (“Our people/HR practices create a positive work environment for me”). When using engagement survey data, managers can use the data to identify and prioritize the largest opportunities to improve engagement. A key challenge will exist around creating approaches to engagement that are perceived as equitable across generations.
Managing performance is the most incessant engagement driver. Across all six companies that participated in my study, the performance management process was one of the top five drivers. Performance management also appeared as the main overall driver during millennial interviews. This takeaway relates directly to existing research on millennials’ need for feedback discussed earlier in the article. Existing research communicates that the timing (without delay), frequency (often), and way in which feedback is delivered (clear and specific) impacts millennials. The importance of this organizational process is essential in managing engagement.
Employer reputation is the most successive engagement threat. Across all six companies, employer reputation was one of the top five engagement threats. This learning proposes that highly engaged employees are pleased with the organizations they work for. At the point when perceptions of employer reputations decrease, a similar decrease in engagement spreads throughout the workforce. This finding is profound; engaged employees are emotionally attached to their organizations, and when employer reputation changes, so do relationships of employees with employers.
All in all, by what means can you as a manager take the key learnings from this article and translate them into action? Engagement is becoming more important than ever and talent retention can act as a key competitive advantage for businesses over the coming years. With the high expenses of employee turnover, peaking at up to 150 percent of the employee’s annual salary, engagement and retention initiatives done properly will have a significant impact on an organization. Below, I discuss my key recommendations developed from this work.
Lead annual engagement studies. To facilitate the engagement monitoring process, firms ought to direct annual engagement studies. The measurement and monitoring process must be managed carefully. Employers must recognize that surveys and other internal data collection activities may become cumbersome for employees. To ensure participation and purchase in from those asked to contribute, employers must have the capacity to demonstrate the strategic value of the studies to employees and show tangible outcomes as a result of doing the work.
Ensure transparent processes. Engagement monitoring needs to be transparent. Ensuring transparency is a critical element of success for new program development. The process and results must be presented to all stakeholders clearly and the participants must be demonstrated how their participation is making a positive impact on the organization.
Identify key engagement drivers and threats that most significantly impact workforces. Employers ought to be benchmarking themselves against these drivers, which will act as the key metrics for monitoring.
Set appropriate targets and goals for your engagement strategy. Goal-setting exercises must be properly designed in order to create reasonable targets. There are multiple ways to think about setting targets. Implications for employees must be considered when deciding which approach to use. Ask whether targets ought to be designed to increase all engagement drivers, or if the focus ought to be on the top two to three key drivers.
Have multiple strategies. The research has demonstrated that differences across generations have a meaningful impact on engagement. Employers ought to design strategies for each of their major employee groups: baby boomers, generation Xers, and millennials. By doing this, employees across generations ought to become more engaged, and will ideally notice the commitment their employers have made in improving their employee experience.
Assign engagement champions. By designating an individual to champion the engagement monitoring and evaluation process, a key role is created in the organization. This person ought to liaise with all stakeholders, including managers, employees from each generation, and human resources. The champion ought to be responsible to gather and share information from across the organization relating to engagement. In large organizations, this role will be an important communication channel that spreads news, results, ideas, and feedback.
Give proper discretion to managers. In order to generate successful engagement monitoring and advance, it is recommended and essential that managers be given appropriate discretion and authority in managing employees. Because millennials are highly relationship based and require regular and specific feedback, managers must have the power to reward and recognize when appropriate. Without this power, organizations will face difficulty in executing their engagement strategies. The execution of the strategy is similarly as important as having the strategy itself, as employees’ engagement levels are the result the strategy.
Organizations will be better positioned to engage and retain their workers simply by committing to understanding engagement drivers within their companies and by recognizing differences across generations of employees. For managers, the above discoveries ought to spark important questions as they think about their own particular engagement strategies. (Gilbert. J, 2011)
In September 2008, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform appointed David MacLeod and Nita Clarke to examine the barriers that are preventing businesses engaging with their employees and consider non-regulatory solutions that can be offered to help businesses overcome such obstacles. The review is expected to report in June and offer the Government specific recommendations for action to advance employee engagement.
One way that government can influence employer practice is to lead by example. It is encouraging that National Health Service trusts, local authorities and central government employers are taking employee engagement initiatives seriously. There appear, be that as it may, to be particular issues affecting employee attitudes in the public sector. For example, public sector employees are more likely not to feel their senior managers have a clear vision for the organization and to have less trust and confidence in their senior managers. They are also less likely to believe organizational communications. This proposes that there is a great deal of ground to make up before public sector employees are completely engaged.
More widely, the Government ought to encourage the business and voluntary sectors to focus more on engagement as a key driver of productivity. The CIPD has made the case to establish a Workplace Commission to raise the standard of people management and improve the arrival on human capital in UK workplaces. We also believe there ought to be better recognition of the importance of management and leadership, and more government funding allocated specifically for training in this area. (Williams, T., 2016)
The long-standing focus on “skills” as key to increasing productivity is too limited. The ‘people and performance’ model identifies the three requirements for releasing employees’ discretionary effort as ability, motivation and opportunity. The skills agenda addresses just the first of these – employee engagement addresses all three. There is a historic opportunity for the Government to demonstrate that it understands the drivers of economic performance.
The Government could demonstrate leadership by identifying employee engagement as a key theme underpinning its economic and industrial policies. It needs also to review the balance of public funding allocated to the acquisition and management of skills, in view of overwhelming evidence about the importance of management and leadership.
Such funding might be used, for example, to support the development and sharing of knowledge through employer networks and consortia targeting solutions to practical workplace issues. This is the core of the approach that the CIPD is adopting to raising standards of people management and development through its current shaping the Future project.
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