“People create organizations, therefore the concepts and systems of any organization must reflect the diversity and complexity of the people who comprise it.” What a great quote. Altruistic, yet oh so true; employee engagement stripped to the bare bones. Kevin Fong, a proponent of Eastern traditions and philosophies, offers this golden nugget in his paper, The Five Elements of Organizational Success. ¹
Fong writes about how organizations-of-the-past focused on increasing wealth “through the distribution of products or services in the fastest and most efficient way. Jobs became specialized into narrow tasks and workers had to adhere to specific regulations and timelines, allowing for little innovation and creativity. One small change could shut down the entire operation so innovation, especially from workers, was viewed with suspicion.”
My, how times have changed. Automation is replacing one heck of a lot of process driven manufacturing work. Technology is usurping administrative jobs and front line services. Not even professions like law or medicine are immune to the explosion of information and the speed at which it can be accessed, thanks to advances in technology and the internet.
Public and private sector organizations are wending their ways through this altering frontier with justifiable turmoil. “Businesses and corporations on the rise have shifted to more values-driven approaches and have adopted a greater sense of purpose beyond financial profit,” Fong observes. “Likewise, not-for-profit and philanthropic organizations are integrating more private-sector approaches in order to improve outcomes and efficiencies.” Touché.
There’s a toll for all of this change. Corporate strategies and tactics, and trickle-down goals spelled out in performance reviews, continually morph. Quarterly reports filed by public companies illustrate exactly this kind of short-term, shape-shifting thinking. What doesn’t change, hopefully, are the people who comprise and drive your organization.
Today it’s about empowerment, autonomy and so much more.
Rather than working by rote, innovation is the trait of today’s valued employees. Creativity, problem-solving, unique ways of seeing and doing things – the hallmarks of employee engagement – are the stabilizing anchor of organizational success.
According to an article in The Business Psychology Company’s January 2013 newsletter, the field of Positive Psychology tells us after we’ve met our basic needs for food and shelter with a little something left for personal use there are three main determinants behind a meaningful and fulfilling life.
- Making a difference.Successful organizations think “empowerment and autonomy.”
- Fulfilling relationships with others. Successful organizations think “benefits of teamwork.”
- A “flow” experience in which you lose track of time because you’re engaged in the pursuit of challenging and meaningful goals. Successful organizations, think “employee engagement.”²
Successful organizations also think (and see) employee engagement encompasses so much more than workforce performance. Strategically executed in all its dimensions employee engagement leads to a chain of positive effects impacting:
- Organizational image
- Brand equity
- Customer/client satisfaction
- Market share
- Business practices
Despite scientifically and experientially verifiable links between employee engagement and organizational success, Gallup reports in 2016 only 32% of U.S. employees were engaged with their work and workplace; worldwide only 13% of employees working for an organization were engaged.³
Why are these numbers so low? It’s uncertain if organizations are running their own employee feedback surveys and acting on unreliable results, measuring employee engagement without acting on findings, or ignoring employee surveys altogether. Don’t let yourself be fooled. The field of people analytics is complex. Those organizations that choose to work with a reputable employee engagement survey provider with first-hand insights, specialized expertise and a comprehensive data library have the best outcomes.