Communicate Effectively If You Want High Employee Engagement

A feature in the Financial Times last week caught our eye as it draws upon a subject we’ve been talking about this month – stakeholder and employee engagement.

The feature focuses on how the best companies ensure that employees are fully engaged. This topic is especially important given that 25% of employees are actively disengaged according to the Towers Watson 2014 Global Workforce Study.

The big question that emerges from this statistic is “How do I ensure employees are engaged?”

In this blog post we take a look at some of the main drivers of employee engagement, including some tell-tale signs of a fully engaged workforce.

How important is employee engagement?

Research has shown time and time again that a correlation exists between employee engagement and business performance. For example, a recent study by Hay Group found that companies with the highest engagement scores enjoy revenue streams 4.5 times higher on average than those companies with low engagement scores.

What are the main drivers of employee engagement?

At the core of employee engagement sits effective communication and delivering on promises.

Carole Hathaway, global head of reward at Towers Watson, stated that “The best companies are thoughtful about what [their employee-value proposition] is. They communicate it, articulate it; and they make sure they deliver on the promises.”

The key takeaway from this is the value of communication. In our experience, we’ve found that communication plays a major role in driving engagement among employees. More specifically, some of the main drivers of engagement include:

  • Opportunities to feed views upwards
  • Feeling well-informed about what is happening in the company
  • Believing that managers are committed to the company

Robinson (2004) and Penna (2007) expand on this with their model of the drivers of employee engagement (below). As you can see, communication is of high importance to making employees feel valued and involved.

Robinson et al (2004) Model Of The Drivers Of Employee Engagement

Model of the drivers of employee engagement (Robinson)

Other drivers of employee engagement include co-operation, performance reviews and appraisals, and training and development opportunities.

With this in mind, what behaviours does an engaged workforce exhibit that you can look out for in your company?

  • They speak positively about the company to colleagues, potential employees and customers
  • They have a strong desire to be a member of the company
  • They give an extra effort to contribute to the company’s success

While behaviours such as these provide a useful indication of employee engagement, the most effective way of measuring engagement is with employee engagement research. This type of research can include individual interviews, focus groups, telephone interviews and online interviews.

Employee engagement is crucial to business success. As research shows, companies with high engagement scores can see much higher revenues than those with the lowest. Communication, as discussed in this blog post, is a key driver of employee engagement. Make your employees feel valued and involved and you are well on your way to achieving higher engagement scores. If you want to effectively measure engagement in your company, you might want to consider carrying out employee engagement research.

To learn more about employee engagement research, check out some of our publications on the subject:

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