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What Drives Employee Engagement?

Posted by | April 13, 2017 | Employee Engagement, Employer

via BenefitsPROWhat drives employee engagement?

What do people really want to get out of their job? It’s something that managers should be thinking about so they can figure out how to motivate and engage their employees.

A new white paper by Paycom seeks to understand the most common factors that drive employees to love their jobs and work hard on behalf of their employers. The paper notes that recent research by Gallup drew a link between high employee engagement and a number of positive business outcomes, such as higher customer ratings, profits and productivity as well as lower turnover and absenteeism.

Paycom argues that despite much of the hype about what sets young workers apart from their older colleagues, research shows millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers mostly want the same things from a job. They want their work to have purpose, they want recognition and, of course, they want to achieve a work-life balance all while making decent money.

When employers come up short in one category, such as recognition, they are forced to make up for it in another category, such as compensation. As a result, unengaged workers, the paper notes, are three times as likely to leave a job for higher pay elsewhere than an engaged one. On the flipside, two-thirds of workers defined as “engaged” say they would stay at their current job even if they won $10 million in the lottery.

While recognizing and commending an employee’s work is important on a day-to-day basis, what is even more significant in the long-term is helping the worker understand how she fits into the broader corporate structure; how her work in invaluable to the company as a whole. If an employee can’t fully explain what the company he works for does, for instance, it means that management is coming up short in communicating how what he does in his role contributes to the employer’s overarching goals.

Paycom also addressed a number of common sources of stress and low morale in the workplace, including concerns about job security. While employers may not be able to ensure that it will always be profitable and that there will never be layoffs, they can at the very least strive to communicate with employees as much as possible and give them assistance in financial planning and navigating benefits.

A topic Paycom ignores is employee burnout, a subject recent research on employee engagement has highlighted.

In 2015, for instance, Tony Schwartz, the author of the influential management book, “The Power of Full Employee Engagement,” wrote in the New York Times the concept of “engagement” had to be reworked because oftentimes it simply referred to employees who are willing to give it all at work but might actually be miserable due to burnout.

“If you are expected to work 60 or 70 hours a week, or to stay connected in the evenings and on the weekends, or you can’t take at least four weeks of vacation a year, or you don’t have reasonable flexibility about when and where you work, then your company can’t be a great place to work,” he wrote.


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