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Engagement Industry Briefs


Dueling Studies: Either Way, Engagement Remains Flat 

According to analysis recently released by Aon Hewitt, employee engagement continues to be sluggish and remains at its lowest level since 2008. At the same time, data from HR Solutions International reveals that the number of engaged employees rose from 27% in 2010 to 29% in 2011. What accounts for these seemingly opposing stats? Actually they’re not that different; both show little movement in terms of overall engagement levels

Aon Hewitt analyzed its Employee Engagement Database of more than 5,700 employers representing five million employees worldwide, finding an engagement level of 56% through the third quarter of last year, which is the same as 2010, but lower than 2009 (60%) and 2008 (57%). Further analysis reveals that Managing Performance (“the way we manage performance here keeps me focused on achieving this organization’s goals”) dropped nearly 8 percentage points globally, and engagement scores related to Managing Performance are also are relatively low. 

In researching its 2011 Overall Employee Engagement norms, HR Solutions analyzed employee survey responses from more than 3.3 million employees at over 2,400 organizations, finding that the number of “actively engaged” employees increased two percentage points, from 27% in 2010 to 29% in 2011.  During the same time period, the percent of “ambivalent” employees (neither engaged nor disengaged) slightly decreased, from 60% to 59%, while the percent of “actively disengaged” employees declined from 13% to 12%. 

For more on these studies, go to www.aonhewitt.com and www.hrsolutionsinc.com

Employee Engagement

Forum Focuses On ‘Virtual Employee’ Engagement

“With off-site workers now representing up to 40% of the U.S. workforce in companies with 5,000 employees or more, and as many as three out of four organizations already using remote employees, we felt it was important to examine ways that employers can better engage their remote employees,” says Keith Fenhaus, President of The Forum (formerly known as The Forum for People Performance Management & Measurement). At their Fourth Annual Think Tank, Fenhaus explained that The Forum’s latest study examined the challenges of building relationships between a company and virtual workers who may feel disenfranchised due to geography or cultural barriers. Analysis of the interviews resulted in these key findings:

  1. Engaging remote employees must be a strategic part of a bigger virtual employee management practice endorsed by top organizational leaders.
  2. Virtual employment helps address the trade-off between finding quality talent needed within a restricted geographic area.
  3. Periodic face-to-face contact can help overcome the disconnect of distance.
  4. Formal policies and programs for virtual employees enhance the performance and quality of the work experience.
  5. Companies need to invest in technology that empowers virtual employees.
  6. Leaders need to actively work on integrating virtual employees into the organizational culture.

For more on The Forum’s Fourth Annual Think Tank, go to www.performanceforum.org


Beware of ‘Surface Acting’

To help nonprofit organizations better understand engagement, Opportunity Knocks recently conducted a study on what factors engage nonprofit and not-for-profit employees, focusing especially on factors employers have the ability to change. The report, Engaging the Nonprofit Workforce: Mission, Management and Emotion, helps nonprofit employers better understand the important role they can play in the engagement of their employees, and the reciprocal role that engagement plays in the success of the organization. Some highlights:

  • Employees want to work in a place where they can advance and develop skills.
  • Employers need to be aware of the negative side of emotional work – what is sometimes called “surface acting” – where employees feel the need to hide their true feelings. This is common among employees who work in human services nonprofits and deal with clients who are in difficult situations.
  • Only 55% of respondents plan to continue working for their current employer. Of those planning on leaving their current organization (45%), more than half plan on leaving within the next two years.

For more information, go to www.opportunityknocks.org/


Sodexo Identifies Top Drivers of Employee Engagement

Human capital management firm Sodexo recently released its 2012 Workplace Trends Report, offering a unique perspective on the workplace that combines insight from clients, academia, principal research and leading facilities management and human resource trade organizations. Highlights:

  • Employees are looking to organizations for tools and resources to help them simplify their lives, stay healthy and balanced, and bring their “whole self” to work as these continue to be top drivers of engagement.
  • Employee engagement, productivity, brand image and loyalty continue to be relevant measures of success.
  • Employees perceive the level of attention given to soft benefits, such as wellness programs, on-site dining and gyms as a direct reflection on senior leadership, and more importantly, their level of engagement.

The complete report, including trend abstracts, can be viewed at http://bit.ly/SDXworkplacetrends2012

Health & Wellness

The Engagement/Wellness Connection

A recent article by Neil Crawford in Benefits Canada notes that research carried out in conjunction with Aon Hewitt’s Best Employers in Canada study shows a link between highly engaged employees and improved health and overall well-being. Those working at high-engagement organizations reported better physical health: 56% vs. 47% for employees at organizations with moderate engagement and 41% with low-engagement. Job stress levels were lower, too. Only 28% of employees at high-engagement locations reported high job stress, as opposed to 33% at moderate-engagement firms and 39% of those at low-engagement companies. Researchers found that organizations with high engagement scores are also more likely to proactively encourage employee health. Many offer health management tools and resources, including health risk assessments, screening, health coaching and education. And employees are more likely to respond to perks if the employer seems excited about offering them: 65% of employees surveyed at high-engagement organizations indicate that they take full advantage of their organization’s health and wellness initiatives, compared with 53% at low-engagement.

Get a PDF of the full article at www.benefitscanada.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/BC0112-BenefitsTrends.pdf


Gallup: Engaged Workers Experience Less Stress from Commuting

Fourteen percent of all American workers report they spend at least 45 minutes getting to work. Now, Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index data confirms that for many Americans lengthy treks to work hamper their mood. The good news is that workers who are engaged in their work and workplace appear to be buffered from some of the effects of long commutes. The percentage of actively disengaged workers who report a lot of stress and worry in their lives without a lot of happiness and enjoyment increases from 15.5% for those with short commutes to 27.1% for those with long commutes. In contrast, engaged workers’ low worry and stress levels do not change significantly, regardless of commute time.

To learn more, go to www.well-beingindex.com

Customer Engagement

1to1 Media Names 2011 ‘Customer Champions’ 

Peppers & Rogers Group’s 1to1 Media division has announced its 2011 class of 1to1 Customer Champions. The 1to1 Customer Champions program recognizes executives who believe in treating customers in a way that builds loyalty and engagement while driving bottom-line results for their organizations. Now in its eighth year, the program honors 15 executives annually who use innovative approaches to instill customer-centric strategies throughout their organizations.

For a complete list of 2011 honorees, go to www.1to1media.com/view.aspx?DocID=33197


Older Workers Are Most Engaged

A new research study by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College examines work experiences of employees, finding that those 40 years old and older are the most engaged and demonstrate the highest level of organizational commitment, and that those 50 years old and older are the most satisfied with their jobs. Employees between the ages of 30 and 39 evidenced the least satisfaction with their jobs. The Generations of Talent study is one of few to assess the effects of country, age, and career stage among employees worldwide. It gathered data about work experiences from 11,298 individuals, working for seven multinational companies, at 24 worksites in 11 countries.

For more information on the report, go to www.bc.edu/content/bc/research/agingandwork/archive_news/2011/2011-12-01_GOT.html

Case Study

Journal Article Examines Rapid Improvement in Engagement

Average levels of employee engagement weren’t good enough for Stryker, as one New Jersey plant discovered. The Gallup Management Journal recently published an extensive case study looking at how a fast-moving manager changed the plant’s culture in less than a year, improving engagement levels from 48% to 57%. Stryker believes that employee engagement is part of its success – the company has been deeply committed to employee engagement, strengths development and leadership development for years. Many of its locations are among the best and most engaged Gallup has ever studied, helping Stryker win Gallup’s Great Workplace Award four times.

To read the case study in its entirety, go to http://gmj.gallup.com/home.aspx

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