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Breaking the barrier to employee engagement

coworkersEmployee engagement is one of the most critical areas for businesses today. It plays a pivotal role in the success and performance of an organization, affecting everything from job satisfaction and retention rates to the overall culture of a company. However, there is still a huge amount of organizations struggling with how to effectively approach, implement and manage engagement initiatives.

In Deloitte’s latest report on human capital management trends, it was revealed that employee engagement, along with corporate culture, is one of the biggest challenges today’s employers face, with more than half of organizations admitting their programs for measuring or improving engagement are either non-existent or inadequate. This finding is surprising, especially considering that the majority, or 70 percent, of corporate executives feel it is a crucial aspect of productivity.

Obviously, there is a gap between what company leaders know to be important to the success of their organization and effectively implementing the appropriate measures in achieving it. Part of the problem, the Deloitte research found, is that many businesses are still using isolated and fragmented strategies for employee engagement, rather than adopting an all-encompassing solution.

What’s preventing optimal levels of engagement?
To better understand what strategies are most effective for building strong employee engagement, it is necessary to first gain a clearer picture of what is preventing it. This topic was recently explored in a survey conducted by Employee Benefits and Xerox HR Services. The research and findings revealed a handful of barriers most organizations experience when it comes to employee engagement.

Among the study’s employer respondents, 47 percent said that the biggest obstacle they face in engaging workers is budget-related. Other reasons cited by participants included limited time or resources (44 percent), lack of support from upper management (31 percent) and that it overall hasn’t been made a priority by the organization (20 percent).

It is not that the answers and solutions needed to enhance employee engagement levels are not accessible. According to the research study, 68 percent of employer respondents have begun implementing digital communication strategies for employee engagement with benefits and nearly 60 percent are using face-to-face communication methods, including seminars and trade shows. Some are also still driving more traditional approaches, such as printed communications.

Fewer organizations, though, seem to be utilizing the available technological innovations and tools that can help boost employee engagement. For example, just 29 percent of businesses are making use of digital platforms to help increase employee engagement and less than 10 percent are using apps.

How employers need to break employee engagement barriers
Although a significant portion of the Employee Benefits survey participants indicated that financial restraints contributed to its inability to sufficiently engage employees, the key is choosing the right, strategic investments that can have tremendous gains. As Business 2 Community contributor Jennifer Costa recently revealed, research has found that:

  • Companies with engaged employees tend to outperform those who don’t by more than 200 percent
  • Organizations with better engagement report as many as 70 percent fewer safety incidents
  • Businesses with highly-engaged workers experience 6 percent higher net profit margins

It is crucial that employers prioritize this element of human capital management because employee engagement has a direct influence over job satisfaction levels, retention rates and overall performance.

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