Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Engagement Drivers? Part 2

In contrast to the Aon Hewitt survey, Towers Watson in their global study said that two-thirds of US workers are not fully engaged. Towers Watson did get their information from employees, not just employers.

They define 3 types of engagement:

  • traditional--willingness to expend discretionary effort
  • enablement--feeling that you've got all the tools needed to be effective
  • energy--an atmosphere that supports physical, emotional and interpersonal well-being.
Now, I'm not sure those last two have much to do with engagement except where an absence becomes a demotivator (i.e. much like pay and bonuses are a demotivator with a lack of adequacy). 

Their survey has this breakdown. Over a third of employees are highly engaged. A fourth feel engaged but are not supported (enablement). So far, this mimics the Aon Hewitt data. Here's where we get a bit more information.

Besides the fourth that aren't supported to put in extra effort, another one in seven employees are "detached"; they could put in extra effort (their supported and the atmosphere is right) but they don't want to. Another fourth of the employees don't want to go the extra mile, nor would there be any enablement or energy to help them; they're "totally disengaged." We have nearly a third of the employees who don't care about their organization and would easily jump ship. 

Of those third of the totally disengaged, more than half haven't had obstacles removed to make their efforts more effective. About three-quarters of them haven't been involved in decisions that affect them. (Contrast that to one human services company's motto: Nothing about me without me.) More than half feel they're asked to do an unreasonable amount of work. Sixty percent feel the organization is staffed adequately to do a good job.

So what can you do to improve engagement? Look at some of the information above. Also, consider this: Towers Watson found that operating margins in highly engaged organizations were triple of those with a largely disengaged workforce. And the whole thing may be boiled down to a simple question I ask during every performance appraisal: How can I help you or hinder you less?

Notice that it has nothing to do with communication, HR policies, parties and fun events or some of the other things that Aon Hewitt measures.

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