In this fourth installment of a five part series, Mollie Lombardi, a research director for Aberdeen Group’s human capital management practice, shares her thoughts on the importance of employee engagement. Mollie has surveyed and interviewed thousands of end-users to gain a better grasp of the key challenges facing human resources and talent management leaders. Mollie has an extensive background in writing and speaking about topics such as strategic talent management and employee engagement. If you’d like to learn more about Mollie you may read our first installment, Meet Mollie Lombardi.
Employee engagement drives performance and helps organizations hire, develop and retain top workers. It’s no wonder engagement is a hot topic.
But what is employee engagement? We at the Aberdeen Group define it as aligning the efforts and goals of an individual with the company goals to drive business results. So, it’s not just about employee satisfaction. For example, I could be satisfied with a job that lets me leave early and doesn’t require me to work very hard. But a job with true engagement would enhance my ability to succeed and also would boost performance of my organization.
Managers are vital to building or eroding employee engagement. Our recent report “The Engagement/Performance Equation” found that managers who take the time to set clear performance goals and development plans can greatly improve employee engagement. What makes a manager great? It’s simple: support from the organization. Organizations must support their managers with:
- Tools that give them the capabilities to coach
- Processes that allow them to build development plans
- Instructive performance feedback
Best-in-class organizations are 81 percent more likely than other organizations to train managers with tools and strategies to improve employee engagement, our study shows.
Also crucial to building employee engagement is creating a culture in which performance management is an ongoing conversation, not just an annual event. A formal performance review process is useful, and 84 percent of best-in-class organizations we surveyed said they conducted performance reviews on an annual or semiannual basis. But it is the frequency of formal and informal feedback that is one of the most important elements of any engagement strategy.
Employee engagement isn’t a “nice to have” — it is a must-have. Engaged employees help deliver engaged customers and help solve problems related to employee retention, customer retention and the talent pipeline.
Top-performing organizations are solving “The Engagement/Performance Equation” by supporting managers so they can create an ongoing performance culture and holding them accountable for the engagement and performance of their team members.
Are you doing enough to keep your employee’s engaged?