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Friday, July 26, 2013

The Top Five Drivers of Employee Engagement

A narrative based on The Modern Survey article Who really owns employee engagement?

Twice a year for the past six years, Modern Survey has conducted a National Employee Engagement Study. For the Spring 2013 rendition, the group polled nearly 1,000 employees from more than 750 organizations to gauge their attitudes, opinions, and understanding of engagement. These most recent results may come as a surprise.

Employee disengagement among U.S. workers is on the rise. Up four points from last fall, disengaged employees now make up 32 percent of the workforce. At the same time, the percentage of fully engaged employees fell 3 points this spring to just 10 percent. The following engagement indicators also dropped, a signal of the challenges many organization face:
  • Number of employees willing to refer their company to others- down 5 percent.
  • Number of employees who are proud of their company- down 1 percent.
  • Number who said the feel they have a future with their company- down 2 percent.
The results are loud and clear- employees are less engaged than they have been in the past. So the question remains, what has changed? What has caused engagement to slip and how do we reverse it? By understanding what influences engagement, we can begin to identify areas of weakness. Only then can we react accordingly. Below are the top five engagement drivers that have emerged from the results of Modern Survey’s six years of research.
  1. Confidence in senior management - do the employees trust their leaders? Do they believe they are driving the organization in the right direction? 
    A belief that there is an opportunity for personal growth and development - can employees move up in the organization? 
  2. A sense of personal accomplishment from their work - does the work have a purpose? Can the employees see the results of their efforts?   
  3. Confidence in the future of the organization - is the company growing? Is progress and innovation a top priority?   
  4. Getting helpful feedback from the managers - do employees recognize their strengths and weaknesses? Is management advice and criticism beneficial?   
Understanding the factors driving engagement is a critical, but ultimately it just a starting point. Improving employee engagement means getting the whole organization on board- everyone plays a role. Leaders need to shape strategies with these drivers in mind and implement programs that foster engagement. Then, individual employees become responsible for deciding whether to be engaged. Educating the entire organization about engagement can help align certain perceptions and fuel collaboration.

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