Rethinking Employee Engagement

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Employee Engagement Strategies
Employee Engagement
As we race towards 2016 and the U.S. labor market continues to gain strength, industry observers are forecasting an upsurge among employees who jump ship from their workplaces. Strictly from a compensation standpoint, an increase in employee turnover is understandable. According to Mercer, Towers Watson, and other human resources firms, salary increases for employees are expected to rise 3.0 percent or less next year. By comparison, the average wage increase for workers who leave for new jobs is typically in the 10-to-20 percent range, according to Cameron Keng, a contributor to Forbes. For organizational leaders who are pondering the steps that can be taken to retain their best talent and keep them excited about their work, they should think a lot more carefully about actions that can be taken to generate a great employee experience.

As we race towards 2016 and the U.S. labor market continues to gain strength, industry observers are forecasting an upsurge among employees who jump ship from their workplaces. Strictly from a compensation standpoint, an increase in employee turnover is understandable. According to Mercer, Towers Watson, and other human resources firms, salary increases for employees are expected to rise 3.0 percent or less next year. By comparison, the average wage increase for workers who leave for new jobs is typically in the 10-to-20 percent range, according to Cameron Keng, a contributor to Forbes. For organizational leaders who are pondering the steps that can be taken to retain their best talent and keep them excited about their work, they should think a lot more carefully about actions that can be taken to generate a great employee experience.Too often, when employers embark on employee engagement initiatives, the end goal is to drive higher productivity from their workforces. But that's a misguided approach employee engagement, says Brady G. Wilson, author of Beyond Engagement: A Brain-Based Approach That Blends the Engagement Managers Want with the Energy Employees Need.

"I've been privy to many leadership dialogues where the CEO admits that the reason they went down the engagement path was that they wanted to be on a top 50 list of best workplaces. Or they wanted to boost productivity," says Wilson. "But what isn't universally said is that they're doing it to create a great employee experience."

Instead, employee engagement efforts should be aimed at energizing employees, says Wilson. An energized employee will bring passion and commitment to their role which will result in better customer experiences and improved business performance, Wilson adds.

"If employees can feel energized and they feel their work is meaningful, that's what will deliver unforgettable customer experiences," says Wilson.

One way to energize employees is by having quality conversations with them, says Wilson. Conversations strengthen relationships and build trust. This includes speaking with employees about what energizes them most.

Like customers, each employee is different, says Wilson. They each have different needs and interests. "With some employees, the connection with the work team or their involvement with customers is the thing that will release energy inside them," says Wilson.

Wilson raises some great points. Just as customer-centric companies engender improved business results from a more satisfied customer base, energized and motivated employees will provide companies a sustainable lift in productivity and more meaningful interactions with customers.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION