Employee engagement can mean different things to different people, and certainly includes a slew of different subsets, from health and well-being, to volunteering and corporate social responsibility. As such, we continue to hear from companies that figuring out where and how to start an employee engagement program is often the most difficult part of the process.
Now that’s not to say that these companies don’t understand the benefits and positive impact of such programs. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. So much has been made over the past couple of years around just how valuable these programs can be to improving employee satisfaction, retention, productivity and overall bottom-line profits.
Don’t believe us? We’ve rounded up the best, most compelling employee engagement reports of the past year.
These reports provide interesting, valuable insights into how companies are approaching employee engagement, what employees are looking for from the companies they work for, and more.
As the report highlights, global organizations today must navigate a new world of work ‘ one that requires a dramatic change in strategies for leadership, talent and human resources. As such, more HR and business leaders are focusing on employee engagement, with 50 percent indicating the initiative as being very important. Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP, explained: As demand for talent picks up, the balance of power in business is rapidly shifting from the employer to the employee. Moreover, workers are becoming more mobile, contingent, and autonomous, and as a result, harder to manage and engage. In this new world of work, organizations need to re-imagine the way they manage people and come up with new, out-of-the-box ideas to make themselves relevant.”
The key takeaway here is that employees no longer simply clock-in at work, complete their tasks and clock-out. Therefore, organizations must by agile and strategic in their offerings for employees who are demanding flexible schedules, their ability to deliver more benefits (not all necessarily in the form of pay) and their diligence in providing opportunities ‘ whether it be volunteering or leading a corporate recycling program ‘ that enable employees to find deep and personal meaning in and outside of work.
The survey’s overarching message is this: Businesses should focus on people and purpose, not just products and profits. For the report, Deloitte surveyed 7,800 Millennials from 29 countries on effective leadership and how businesses operate and impact society. Among other findings, the report reveals that 73 percent of Millennials believe that businesses are having a positive impact, 37 percent think businesses should place a priority on employee well-being and 32 percent see employee growth and development as a business priority. Moreover, six out of 10 Millennials said a sense of purpose is part of the reason they chose to work for their current employer.
The study, which may be one of the largest of the year, features analysis that measures the engagement of 27 million employees across 2.5 million manager-led teams in 195 countries. The report examines the crucial link among talent, engagement and vital business outcomes, including profitability and productivity. The report also reveals that engagement is highest among employees who communicate with their managers on a daily basis. And as the relationship between employee and manager becomes increasingly critical in driving an engaged workforce, the report sheds light on how best to achieve that.
This is important, because until recently, not much attention was paid to the value of positive employee-manager relationships. But as companies are finding out, this is a key aspect in driving an engaged workforce, increased productivity, decreased turnover and widespread business benefits.
Engaged in What? Creating Connections to Performance with Rewards and Recognition and Roles ‘ Incentive Research Foundation (IRF)
The paper, led by Dr. Theresa M. Welbourne, Distinguished Professor at the Center for Entrepreneurship on University of Nebraska, evaluates the broad determinants, measurements and roles of employee engagement. The report is a culmination of hundreds of academic and consulting papers on the topic of engagement, and explores how the term has changed over the past 25 years ‘ from meaning simply, bringing one’s self to work to a new goal of going above and beyond for the company ‘ and the key role engagement plays in the initiatives of today’s organizations. Melissa Van Dyke, the IRF president, said: It is important for organizations to demonstrate synergy between its values, mission, goals, daily behavioral expectations and engagement ‘ all coming together with their rewards strategy.
Ethical Corporation released its State of Sustainability report this year after surveying nearly 1,500 sustainability and CSR professionals from around the world. In the report, the majority of respondents (71 percent) said their company’s organizational leader understood the value of sustainability, and 87 percent agreed that sustainability was becoming an increasingly important strategy.
What we’re seeing here is that, maybe for the first time, businesses are approaching sustainability and CSR initiatives as need-to-haves, not just nice-to-haves. And as consumers demand more and more from the companies they engage and spend money with (more on that later), businesses are debunking the myth that pursuing sustainability is a drain on profits. Instead, they are understanding that by delivering on customer demands, as well as trying to do what’s right as global citizens, these programs can actually boost the bottom line.
This report, which is now in its third year, looks at the employee engagement efforts across 206 companies, each supporting at least 1,000 employees. The report then ranked companies by their employee engagement maturity level in five competencies: inform, inspire, instruct, involve and incent. While employee engagement efforts have continued to progress, this report argues that there is still more to be done ‘ of the companies surveyed, 69 percent measured employee engagement at least once a year, but executives at only 45 percent of those companies consider taking action on the results as a high priority.
If 2015 has proved anything, it’s that CSR is here to stay ‘ not only because consumers are demanding it, but also because companies are leading their own initiatives to adopt sound corporate behavior and drive positive impact. Among other findings in this report, 90 percent of respondents worldwide indicated they would switch brands to support a specific cause, and 84 percent purposefully sought out socially-responsible products. Beyond that, 61 percent of respondents globally indicated they would buy a lesser-quality product to support a CSR initiative.
And these types of findings aren’t just wishful thinking ‘ look at companies like Patagonia, Timberland and TOMS, who have all openly committed to delivering sustainable products and supporting positive impact programs domestically and abroad; these companies have intensely loyal customers (brand advocates, if you will), are all experiencing incredible profits (despite focusing efforts on great products, service and positivity first), and establishing themselves as industry leaders in more ways than one.
7th Annual State of Sustainable Business Report ‘ Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and GlobalScan
BSR is associated with an impressive number of businesses worldwide, so this report is critical in understanding the global mindset around sustainability and CSR. And as some of the other reports this year suggest, the connection between corporate actions and consumer demand is more closely connected than ever before. The findings from the Annual State of Sustainable Business Report suggest that companies are further integrating sustainable initiatives into their business strategies; sustainability is playing an increasingly important business role; human rights remains the top CSR priority for companies; and a large majority of companies include sustainability measures in their key performance indicators (KPIs).
We would be remiss if we didn’t include our own 2015 employee engagement survey, The Evolution of Employee Engagement, which looks at the direct and indirect factors impacting employee engagement across organizations including the role of the manager, corporate transparency, and employee choice and collaboration. Among other findings, the report reveals that only 27 percent of organizations have an official employee engagement policy, and further, 76 percent of employees under the age of 30 (read: Millennials) want to see their employer do more around employee engagement.
What all of these reports tell us is that we have reached a new height for the importance of employee engagement, CSR and sustainability in the business world. So important, in fact, that I would argue these factors are going to be key differentiators for whether a company succeeds or fails.
Original article published on November 4th, 2015 on Triple Pundit.