Employee Engagement: What Do the Jobs Data Have to Do With It?

Jobs Data

Is your organization ready for the economic turnaround?

History has demonstrated that it is a follow-the-leader kind of world. As soon as some employers begin to hire, others will follow.
The unemployment rate fell to 8.9 in February, 2011; the best since 4/09 and the most rapid growth in 28 years.

A second precursor to hiring is the fact that American companies are swimming in cash. The Federal Reserve says that corporate America has $1.8 trillion in reserve.

“More than half of employers reported they are in a better financial position today than they were one year ago,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder.  “2011 will usher in a healthier employment picture as business leaders grow more confident in the economy.

88% of executives said they were very or somewhat confident in their company’s prospect for business growth in 2011.
More than half of those surveyed said it was challenging to find skilled professionals (Robert Half, Q1, 2011). Does this mean that corporate raiding will increase?

It is already happening in Silicon Valley.


Exercising Options

Since many employees have been holding onto their jobs for dear life, once the job market opens up, they will inevitably begin to explore their options.

Will your talent management strategy meet the challenge to retain your high performers?

Results from Ernst & Young’s Global Talent Management survey reveals a strong connection between investment in talent and market growth. “Global organizations must understand the needs and motivations of their people in order to provide opportunities that not only appeal to different generations and cultures, but help the organization retain the necessary skills and competencies it will need to emerge stronger down the road.”

According to an additional analysis of the data, leading organizations with better integrated talent management programs experience return on equity (ROE) that averages 38% higher per year over a five year period.

Employee Engagement

Here are some tips to increase employee engagement:

1. Focus employees on their strengths:

“… employees who have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life.”

The 5 Dynamics model and assessment helps find natural strengths. It is based on neuroscience – how our brains are wired. It takes less than 5 minutes to complete online. This robust suite of tools generates an individual report, a team profile, a coach report and a colleague report. This powerful resource provides you with a quick way to identify strengths and set people and teams up for success.

2. Invest in your Team Leaders:

As our workplaces begin to recover from the recession, we must find ways to give our teams a reason to believe. It all starts with the team leader. Our emotions are contagious; if the leader is optimistic, teams will be as well. The shocking part of the employee engagement challenge is that research indicates that only between 17-29% (depending on the research) of employees are actively engaged in their job at any one time.

This would mean that if you were a soccer or football team, only 2-3 players on the tam would be 100% committed to the team’s success. It seems to me that the odds of winning a game with only 2-3 players 100% committed to a team’s success are pretty slim!

Supporting project managers, team leads, team supervisors and managers is an essential ingredient to increasing team commitment, productivity and outcomes. Investing in team building strategies does make a difference. If your teams are dispersed, don’t wait until they get together face-to-face.

You may need to engage in virtual team building experiences.

3. Support the needs of your employees:

We hear a lot of moaning and groaning about Gen Y from those in other generations. But the reality is that unless organizations adapt their culture and policies t the needs of the younger generation, they will go elsewhere to contribute their skills. Gen Y is looking for a workplace that supports flexibility — the anytime, anywhere workplace that measures results and not face time.

Flexibility also supports working families and those who are attending classes or caring for elders. The Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies outpaced the S&P 500 in terms of stock growth.

Thus, there is a direct correlation with support for employee needs and company profitability.

4. Remember, if you lose valuable talent the consequences are costly:

It costs between 150-200% of a person’s salary to replace an employee. This includes the cost of recruiting, time interviewing, the loss of productivity if the job is vacant as well as the learning curve time for a new employee to become optimally productive.

Institutional knowledge walks out the door.

The manager and team all spend time away from productive work to integrate the new employee.

If a respected employee leaves, it may cause others to consider leaving as well. The brain-drain may begin to hemorrhage your business bottom line.

So what are you doing to keep the best and brightest in your organizations? Do you have aq plan that helps managers understand the strengths of the people they lead? Do you work with those strengths to align them with your organizational objectives? What are going to do the next 6 months to insure that your top talent stays around and helps your bottom line? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Barb Miller is President of Artemis Management Consultants
She specializes in executive coaching, leadership & team development


Image Source: pakyaroo.com, assets.portfolio.com

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L2L Contributing Author