Ideas About Engagement Are Evolving Fast

After years of being a secondary consideration among key business strategies, employee engagement is now center stage and has become a critical business success factor. Business leaders today know they cannot effectively execute on organizational strategies without engaging their people.

78 percent of business leaders rate retention and engagement as urgent or important. — Global Human Capital Trends 2015, Deloitte*

According to 2014 market research by Inspirus:*

of organizations believe that employee engagement is critical to earning customer loyalty.
feel employee engagement is the most important outcome for HR.
say employee engagement is an extremely important concept that should be pursued in earnest by most companies.

Yet trying to win the hearts of employees is really nothing new, is it?

  • Ringing the bell when a sale closes
  • Lapel pins for 10 years of service
  • A framed picture of the employee of the month hanging on the wall in the break room
  • A handwritten invitation to have lunch with the boss

As early as the late 1800s, Frederick Taylor, a pioneering industrial engineer, studied how steelworkers’ attitudes on the job affected their productivity. The 20th century saw a surge of management theories that brought us ideas such as “self-actualization” and “corporate culture.” Companies invested in programs and management training aimed at empowering and engaging employees to perform better.

Our collective thinking around employee engagement has absorbed those lessons while responding to the realities of the 21st century workplace.

Think about your organization. Odds are it’s flatter than it was just a few years ago. It likely has a more global reach and is probably more customer-centric than ever before. It’s these workplace realities that inform our thinking and require our approach to engagement to become more sophisticated.

Employee engagement today unites many different initiatives from various parts of your organization:

  • Health challenges
  • Learning initiatives
  • Leaderboards and competitions
  • Community involvement and social commitment opportunities
  • Workplace safety courses
  • Employee self-service portals
  • Modern rewards and recognition programs

So, why is it hard for companies to get a handle on employee engagement?

What’s been missing is the ability for organizations to coordinate, measure and sustain all of the disparate initiatives that attempt to change employee engagement separately.

Filling that gap requires a fresh approach and vision to redefine:

  • What employee engagement means
  • How companies can coordinate, measure and sustain programs and initiatives that drive employee engagement
  • The ability for companies to reach a new level of engagement, one employee experience at a time