Employee Engagement/Motivation – Part I

In a recent issue of SIReview I read an article by Amy Bingham titled “Are your employees engaged? OR Just really good actors?”

The article hits on a specific topic of heavy interest and debate regarding employment as the rate of unemployment across the country still sits in the “double digits”.

Even in September 2009 at a state SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) conference with over 500 Iowa human resource professionals present, we were exposed to this topic through keynote speakers and special breakout sessions.

For some industries, employment of exceptionally great talent that are/were available to them to hire during this recession has these employers a little skittish in their ability to retain them when a complete economic recovery is abound.

The article states that the actual cost of a disengaged workforce is quite significant. For every 100 employees 70% engaged as a group, it would take 116 at 60% to achieve the same results. For every 10% engagement is reduced, those additional 16 employees cost the organization over $452,000 a year, and that is based on minimum wage!

The article also discussed the widespread gap between employers and employees that continues to widen with respect to what actually motivates employees. In a 2009 study on The Emerging Workforce, conducted by Spherion, it was revealed that the top three drivers of retention, both from the employer's perspective as well as that of the employee are distinctly opposite and validating disengagement in the workplace.

Employers view that a positive management climate, strong supervisor relationships and the culture of the work environment are the top preferred ways to engage and retain employees. Though employees find value in those areas sited by the employer, they actually list their top three as benefits, financial compensation and growth/earnings potential. This study did not reveal much different feedback from another study conducted in 2007.

The reality of the overall impact of the recession is that employees either fell victim to or observed reductions in force, through layoffs, reduced hours, furloughs and wage reductions, forcing them to consider employment as nothing more than just a place to earn a paycheck and offering less loyalty to the employer than ever before. This is a huge factor to how effective you can be with engaging a workforce to have a vested interest in your business and its success.

It does seem a daunting task to try and engage employees when you are faced with the compensatory aspects of engaging employees as the top three choices on the rebound of one of the worst recessions we have seen in decades. The good news here is that the study did reveal that the fourth area of what engages an employee is the management climate and number five is time/flexibility in the workplace. These are areas that you can possibly do something about right now. Especially if you are an employer within a special industry that was fortunate to hire some of the top talent became available to you during this recession, in hopes to retain them long term.

I can attest, as a professional recruiter, career coach and certified resume writer that I hear from many candidates/job seekers on a daily basis,and there is an increasingly large number of cases that prove employee dissatisfaction prevails. Often times this happens with many employers having no idea until it is too late, before they realize that their top performing employees were actually disengaged.

Career Connections offers a variety of customized and very affordable leadership, management and communication trainings for either the individual or groups. We also offer extremely affordable video training products to help with coaching and guiding management to assist with motivating and retaining employees.

Feel free to “connect” with us if we can ever be of assistance to your business or organizational success.

DISTek Integration, Inc. – Career Connections offers energetic and motivating career coaching services capable of helping employees improve communications skills by identifying and better understanding of their own work and communication styles, as well as those of others. – Sandy Sutterer

Featured video product: Motivating Your Employees: Rewards and Recognition


You'll learn how to implement four fundamental principles of motivation:

Praise must be honest and authentic.
Employee recognition should be specific and timely.
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Managers should highlight positive behavior when motivating employees, praising often and genuinely.

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