We are in the digital age characterized by a rapid shift from the Industrial Revolution brought through industrialization to an economy based on information technology. Businesses and organizations are in a competition, strive, to hire top talent and this competition is on a global scale. An organization is better placed with one enthusiastic and motivated employee, over five disengaged ones, who contribute nothing but wasted resources.
Disengaged employees result in high staff turnovers, or worse, continue to stay on, costing the business a lot directly and indirectly. An underperformer can impact the overall morale of a team, and this is especially bad if they have to make up for the mistakes of the one person who couldn’t perform. The reason for this disengagement might be as a result of the decline in employee engagement.
Effects of employee engagement down the years
According to research, low engagement levels affect employee performance, resulting in lower customer satisfaction, and absenteeism. Other than affecting immediate co-workers, low employee engagement has other financial effects. In short, the present competitive business environment requires employers to engage better with employees, for their organizations to succeed.
According to the Gallup organization’s American Workplace: 2010-2012 report, the cost for keeping actively disengaged workers over a five-year period was approximately $300 billion in lost productivity and employee performance. Additionally, in 2012, a study by Robert Half International found that supervisors spent over 17% of their time. This roughly translates to nearly one day every week just overseeing poorly performing employees. In crisp words, corporate organizations are in a bleak situation as far as employee engagement is concerned.
In the present time, Gallup’s latest poll, based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted with 80,844 adults working for an employer highlights that –
- 24% of employees worldwide are actively disengaged
- 35% of female employees are more engaged compared to 29% of men
- 44% of employees say they would consider taking a job with a different company even for a raise of 20% or less
According to Gallup’s 15-year history of measuring and tracking, employee engagement became stagnant in 2015 and is yet to experience any large year-over-year improvements; employee engagement has consistently averaged less than 33%.
Factors that drive employee engagement
Given the low levels of highly engaged workers, it is essential for companies to understand the factors that drive sustainable engagement. Management must understand that employee engagement has become a leadership priority as they constantly seek different methods to keep their workforce engaged.
Some of these include, but are not limited to:
- Relationship with immediate co-workers & supervisor
- Pride in working for the company. The variety of skills that an employee gets to use in the role
- How important the employee believes their position is in the company
- Being matched to the right job, and thus job satisfaction
- Having a clear understanding of the desired outcomes for their roles
- Having enough opportunities to learn and grow
Traditionally, you can only find out about these factors by having a direct conversation with the individual. However, not everyone can be upfront, or honest while talking about their emotions. The factors related to engagement are driven in large part by the attitude of an individual, and thus the most effective method in measuring the gaps required to increase engagement is found to be assessments that measure the emotions behind a person’s actions.
Thankfully technological advancement has made it possible to measure such emotions with psychometric assessments. Psychometric assessments are used to identify a candidate’s skills, knowledge, and personality and can help in understanding where employees stand, their expectations from the company. There are tests specifically designed to measure stress levels, motivation levels, leadership attributes, and others that cater to specific personality traits of an individual thereby helping map the cause for an employee’s disengagement.
For instance, some individuals desire praise or recognition for their work more than they value monetary appreciation. A motivation test can point this out to a manager, thus alerting him to the need for using suitable recognition for the employee. By having a peek at what goes on under the human mind, employers can compare an individual’s performance with that of another individual and have an idea about what the strong and weak points are in an individual.
Employee engagement is important to an organization from perspectives beyond making employees go that extra mile. It also helps organizations to plan individual and team performance appraisals, helps reassign people to roles that are better suited to their personalities, and above all, helps create tailored learning and development modules that can cover areas of deficit for each of an organization’s employee.