Employee Engagement in the Wake of the Great Resignation

“Employee engagement” – it’s a term we hear often these days.  As this McKinsey feature dives into, we are in the midst of a wave of resignations, as employees are rejecting a “transactional” relationship with their employers. What they want instead is a feeling of being valued by the organization and its managers: in short, they want to be engaged.

What Is Employee Engagement?

An engaged employee is one who is interested in and enthusiastic about their work. This may be because they enjoy their task, the benefits it provides, or the accomplishments that it leads to. An engaged employee may also see the organization and its goals as something they agree with and care about.

In contrast, a disengaged employee would disagree with at least a few of the above statements and likely put the minimum effort into their jobs. Still others – those who are “actively disengaged” – are unprofessional and can damage company morale with their attitude.

According to recent statistics, 39% of US employees are engaged, 47% are disengaged, and 14% are actively disengaged.

Why Is Employee Engagement Important?

Obtaining the maximum level of employee engagement can benefit an organization in a number of ways.

Increased participation: Engaged employees are enthusiastic and may even go beyond expectations. Their attitudes can be contagious for both clients and coworkers. Even when away from work, it’s common for engaged employees to become advocates for their companies – 33% of them post unsolicited, positive comments about their work on social media.

Reduced turnover: When an employee leaves, turmoil can be the consequence. Revenue will suffer until a replacement is found, trained, and becomes acclimatized. This process is one of the reasons why it costs nine months of a salaried employee’s earnings to hire a replacement.

Enhanced effectiveness: When a worker is interested in maintaining or even improving their output, they will do a better job. For example, attitude is very important when it comes to customer service. We’ve all dealt with engaged customer service staff – they are polite, positive, want to help, and know how to do so. The result is a fast interaction and a happy customer.

Better performance: It can be easy to assess the performance of certain employees if they have measurable output, for example, how many widgets they produce, or their sales volume per month. But increased engagement really benefits an organization in the areas that can’t be measured – areas in which employees take the initiative to improve their operations and their communities (hint: posting their stories can be a great morale booster). According to this research from Thread, companies with engaged employees outperform those that lack engagement by up to 202%.

Employee Engagement Ideas

There are many employee development ideas and engagement strategies that can be implemented by organizations. Perhaps the simplest, in a conceptual sense, is to examine the apparent symptoms of disengagement, their causes, and their solutions.

For example, turnover is one of the results of disengagement. When an unhappy worker gets a chance to leave, they certainly will take it.

In fact, this may be one of the reasons behind ‘The Great Resignation’. According to Gallup, there is a direct connection between high rates of disengagement and turnover as the US sees a record number of unfilled positions in the workforce, and as almost half of the working population is actively searching for a job.

So, why are they leaving? The top three reasons for turnover are a lack of career development opportunities (20%), poor work-life balance (12%), and manager behavior (12%). Accordingly, the most important employee engagement activities should counter these reasons. So, in terms of the prevailing cause of turnover: if an employee lacks career development opportunities, then organizations should provide them in abundance.

But, There’s a Catch

The problem is that the employee development methods in use today are not working. According Harvard Business Review, only 25% of surveyed employees say that learning programs improved their performance.

Supplying unproductive development programs is a bit like giving someone a car without any gas – it seems great until you try to use it. It is not enough just to come up with some sort of learning & development program and assume it will keep workers happy. If they don’t see progress, then they will remain unhappy and more likely to disengage.

Grow Engagement with GrowthSpace 

There is one solution on the market that is changing this. GrowthSpace has developed an L&D platform that delivers individualized programs on a wide scale. It’s no longer necessary to put workers who want development initiatives into one basket and give them a learning program that does not focus on the needs of each individual. Nor is it required to save the specialized guidance for senior staffers only.

GrowthSpace has combined technology and a new way of looking at employee development into the market’s most effective L&D programs. GrowthSpace has the ability to identify the granular development needs of each individual; locate an expert with specific expertise in that area; and measure the results of the growth program that they provide.

For companies in search of improved employee engagement, GrowthSpace serves up an essential piece of the puzzle.