The engagement revolution: Is HR ready?

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A quiet revolution is taking place within businesses, and HR must react.

Over the last few years there has been a revolution in the workplace, one that has seen employees rise up and take power from business leadership. Yet it has been a subtle revolution, and one that most businesses are yet to come to terms with.

Today, employees enjoy an unprecedented level of power over their employers, gained not through strikes or unionisation, but by virtue of the fact that talent and skills have become rare in modern job markets, globally. High value employees are calling the shots and can exercise their advantage whenever they choose; leaving one employer that falls short of their expectations safe in the knowledge they’ll be snapped up by another.

As businesses grow in today’s globalised and highly competitive markets, it has never been more critical to hold on to valued employees. Accordingly, most businesses now talk about the efforts made to keep staff happy, productive and engaged. Employers understand the benefits of having engaged workforces, with advocates citing improved collaboration, operational efficiency, better business performance, and improved customer service as direct benefits of strong employee engagement. However, as most business leaders will attest to, if employee engagement can not be measured effectively, it’s difficult to know how happy and productive your workforce actually is, and therefore whether engagement initiatives are paying off.

Many businesses simply don’t have the ability to measure engagement with anything close to science or sophistication. The overwhelming majority of businesses still rely on simplistic annual staff surveys to determine whether employees are engaged or not. Although, it’s great to see these businesses care enough about their employees to explore their workplace satisfaction, self-reporting is at best a blunt instrument when it comes to measuring engagement in an effective way.

Few Employers use advanced data analytics or augment the traditional staff survey with data from other sources, such as anecdotal feedback, to measure engagement. So, it’s no wonder that HR leaders hit challenges when it comes to demonstrating the value of employee engagement to the wider business. It is precisely because of this commonly experienced difficulty to measure and quantify the return on investment (ROI) of installed engagement strategies, that C-suites understandably struggle to understand their value.

In an age of instant feedback and empowered employees, companies need more accurate ways to monitor the state of their workforce and a more proactive approach to communicating with their employees. This begins with Senior Leadership in the boardroom, where HR must not only drive employee engagement as a priority, but also create clear links as to how it affects the organisation’s performance for other business leaders.

Being able to demonstrate the ROI of employee engagement initiatives to the C-suite is the most effective way to drive employee engagement up the company agenda. By using available technologies, from data analytics to dynamic employee feedback tools, and linking this information with sales figures, productivity rates and customer feedback, HR leaders will be able to present credible business impact statistics and provide pathways for the company to retain its most valuable assets – its people.

If you would like some help to set-up great data analytics systems, WNC consultants shine in the employment arena. We pride ourselves on being our clients’ most valuable partner in the attraction, retention and engagement of their current and future employees. We offer quality end-to-end strategies and solutions including creative, digital, research, planning and communications within the workforce effectiveness space. Find out more about what we’re up to on the WINC website – and keep up-to-date with our latest insights on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Karl Wood
Karl is a global HR and employment professional who has an impeccable record in delivering HR solutions for industry leading firms. Karl champions ideas that promote growth, profit and a positive organisational identity and sits on the Executive Board of WINC. Read more blogs by Karl.