Employee engagement enhances business performance

 Matthias Ruziwa : HR Issues

“Companies that do not conduct employee engagement surveys are at competitive disadvantage as they are losing an important avenue to collect feedback from their workforce”.Given the current economic climate in Zimbabwe where business leaders are employing cost effective strategies to influence employee productivity and the economic value of their respective organisations, it is my humble opinion that employee engagement be adopted as a significant indicator of the effectiveness of human resource management practices and programs.By understanding the mood of the company through sentiment tracking and pulse checks, executives can use results to create an open dialogue for positive change. HR can use feedback to find inefficiencies and roadblocks within their organisations.

Often times many organisations seek to gather input from employees in such areas like employee satisfaction, employee attitudes and employee commitment.

It is commonly believed that organisations which do not carry out employee surveys are at a competitive disadvantage as these surveys provide business leaders with insight into what is going well, what needs improvement in order to drive employee motivation, retention and above all productivity.

Employee engagement put in simple terms is an outcome — driven concept that describes an employee’s discretionary effort that includes behavioural component.

It is generally seen as an internal state of being — both physical, mental and emotional — that brings together earlier concepts of work effort, organisational commitment, job satisfaction and optimal experience. Employee engagement is characterised by discretionary effort, going the extra mile, feeling valued and having passion for work.

Looking at the amount of change occurring in organisations today, it is common cause that employees who are engaged does provide more than disengaged employees and this has direct bearing on both the performance of business and the individual.

Whilst there are several dimensions to employee engagement, an organisation performs with employees who have intellectual engagement (thinking hard about the job and how to do it better), affective engagement (feeling positively about doing a good job) and social engagement (actively taking opportunities to discuss work-related improvements with others at work).

It is also helpful to think about what aspects of their work employees are engaged with. In particular, employee engagement can be directed towards the role job itself; relationships with colleagues; the organisation as a whole; and in many cases, people outside the organisation.

Employee engagement has to be seen as something organisation specific. What makes people tick, what gripes they have the challenges to and opportunities for fostering employee engagement will all vary with an organisation’s culture, vision, mission, structures and leadership style.

The first practical step in fostering employee engagement is to assess and measure — employee attitudes in your organisation. With a robust employee survey programme, organisations can gather feedback that will help guide short and long-term decision making and inform business strategy.

HR practitioners have to play a big role in turning volumes of data into actionable insights that resonate with key organisational decision makers.

The analysis should show for example, what percentage of employees are engaged?

What impact does employee engagement have on employee behaviours and on business?

What actions should we improve or sustain to maximize engagement?

And how do we engage leaders and managers in driving our engagement strategy.

Employers want engaged employees because, as well as being happier, healthier and more fulfilled, they deliver improved business performance.

Research has repeatedly demonstrated a relationship between how people are managed, employee attitudes and business performance.

Positive relationships results in profit, revenue growth, customer satisfaction, productivity, innovation, staff retention, efficiency and health and safety performance. Organisations also increasingly recognise the importance of their brand and reputation.

Engaged employees will be stronger advocates of their organisations and help protect the employer from the reputational risks associated with poor service levels or product quality.

On the other hand, having a disengaged workforce brings huge risks as well as productivity losses. Organisations may lose their best people and face huge difficulties when embedding organisational change if employees are not on board.

Disengagement also threatens effective collaboration, innovation and human capital management, as employees will not be inclined to use their tacit knowledge and skills for the good of the organisation.

Success or failure by organisations to drive a sound employee engagement strategy revolves around a number of factors. The drive for an engaged workforce builds on good people management and learning and development practices.

Successful employee engagement strategies need the active support of senior leaders and line managers.

There is definite need to align the organisation’s dreams, purpose of existence and values with job roles, communications, management systems and team building.

Employees may not want to be engaged and in that regard talent acquisition and performance management policies are thus important engagement tools.

Leaders and managers in all functions and at all levels should pay close attention to building employee engagement. HR is the most natural function to lead on this, using its strategic role to benefit organisational performance.

Companies that do not conduct employee engagement surveys are at competitive disadvantage due to the fact that they are losing an important avenue to collect feedback from their workforce.

Effective communications keep employees well informed and reinforce the organisation’s purpose and giving employees meaningful voice adds value to business performance.

HR professionals are thus encouraged to explore employee engagement surveys which I believe will add great value to their organisations.

 

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author.

 

Matthias Ruziwa is an experienced and progressing Strategic Human Resource Practitioner based in the Midlands Province, City of Kwekwe. You can contact Matthias at the following email address: [email protected]/whatsapp 0773 470 368

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