Employee engagement is a strategic corporate asset. Yet, despite all the attention now being paid to the subject, the employee engagement rate remains particularly low.
This is one of the main concerns of HR departments. Employee engagement to their company is now recognized as a strategic asset of organizations. And with good reason! The committed employee is passionate about his or her job and will demonstrate a true dedication to the company. Less inclined than their colleagues to leave it, they are also less absent and much more efficient. In short, this is the Holy Grail of any company. And rightly so: according to a Gallup survey from 2013, the more committed a company’s employees are, the more profitable it is. Yet despite all the attention now being paid to the subject, employee engagement remains particularly low.
Very low engagement rates
In 2016, a survey by the Gallup Institute showed that despite all the initiatives taken by companies, only 13% of American employees said they were actively involved. Another similar survey by the same institute revealed, in 2017, that in France the figures were even lower, with only 6% of French employees declaring themselves committed to their work. Would an increase in the engagement rate be mission impossible?
Certainly not. Increasing employee engagement is an achievable goal. Provided, however, that the plural dimension of the issue is really taken into account. Because you don’t make committed employees like you grow mushrooms. There are many levers of commitment, and HR managers have to play on all of them, hence the difficulty of the task.
Satisfaction and engagement are not the same
First of all, it is already a question of not confusing the notions. In this respect, satisfaction and commitment are not synonymous. Employee satisfaction is only the first brick that will ultimately lead to employee commitment. An employee who is satisfied with his working hours and conditions, his salary and his relationship with the team will be more inclined to make a real commitment to his company. But this is only the first step. In order to reach a state of genuine commitment, all the concerns of employees must be taken into account, and 81% of them say they are ready to leave their place for a better proposal.
The reasons for employer/employee divorce
According to a 2017 study by Employee Benefits News, the main reasons for employees to leave their jobs are:
- Work-life balance issues
- Career opportunities
- Relationships with their supervisor
- Lack of recognition
It is therefore on these different aspects that the company will have to play in order to maximize the commitment of its employees. And to achieve this, there are no miracle recipes, but one imperative: communication.
The importance of effective internal communication
Engaging people means first of all ensuring effective communication between not only managers and employees, but also between the employees themselves. This creates a deep bond between employees, whatever their hierarchical level and, ultimately, produces a genuine adherence among employees to the vision, values and objectives of the company that employs them. To achieve this, the HR department must:
- Promote transparency through clearly identified communication channels.
- Encouraging communication between employees, including through social networks
- Rewarding and communicating the efforts of employees
- Use digital platforms to best customize communications to meet individual needs
- Developing a culture of sharing
Today, many HR solution providers offer platforms with functionality to maximize employee engagement through mobile, flexible tools, etc. This can, for example, take the form of a chatbot that will allow them to communicate in real time on issues that concern them (marriage, moving house, etc.), to suggest a lunch to their colleagues, or to make an appointment with their manager.
Engagement, a continuous effort
However, nothing should be taken for granted. In terms of employee engagement, the effort made by the company must be continuous. To do so, it must be attentive to the employee’s aspirations at all stages of his or her career. As Maria Pia Donati, psychologist consultant and recruitment officer at Central Test, publisher of online psychometric tests, notes in an interview with the myRHLine website, “a junior employee will more often show great ambition and a thirst to learn and prove himself, while a more senior employee will be more motivated to pass on his know-how and share his experience. But if that’s all there was to it, it would be easier to analyze. All elements of variation must be taken into account, including the personality of the subjects.”
Companies have to be extremely finely tuned in order to increase the rate of employee commitment. At the same time, at a time when there is a real war for talent, they have little choice if they want to retain the best people. In order to achieve this, they are ultimately required to develop a genuine culture of trust with their employees. Proof that encouraging employee engagement is also a matter of ethics.