Employee engagement has become a critical topic for HR over the last 10 years as leaders have become convinced by two fundamental management ideas: the first is that having the best talent is essential to the future success of any organization.
The second is that having a highly engaged workforce is the most effective route to mobilize that talent to deliver what is needed.
The result is that many organizations now invest in programs to boost engagement – mostly via an annual employee feedback survey.
The primary logic behind most employee engagement programs is relatively simple - if highly engaged employees are more likely to contribute positively to their team, then discovering what is getting in the way of their engagement is a vital activity for leaders and managers to pursue.
To improve engagement, leaders focus on changing the day to day experiences that people have at work, taking actions to enable a more energized and productive workplace. Most surveys therefore focus on questions about how employees experience their work environment and their relationships with their leader, coworkers and indeed with the organization as a whole (e.g. would you recommend it to others?).
And yet many organizations struggle to improve engagement and productivity in their workforce in the way they would expect – no matter how much attention leaders and HR teams pay. Part of the reason is that organizational inertia (or “drag” as it is sometimes known) is a widespread phenomenon impacting progress on multiple levels. Most organizations find that people prefer to maintain the status quo rather than push for real change, especially in large groups. This is not a new problem and it’s something many leaders are aware of – but this has also led many HR leaders to question how they can improve the whole process of employee feedback to make it more relevant and meaningful.
By : Lewis Garrad