As sick as we all are of hearing about the importance of “employee engagement,” it’s a concern that’s not going away. And a new report illustrates just how complicated the engagement issue really is.
OK, let’s begin with this dichotomy: New research from HR consulting giant Randstad reveals that three quarters (75%) of U.S. employees say they feel inspired to do their best and 66% feel that their efforts are valued and recognized.
But then there’s this: The number of workers who said they were planning to explore the job market rose by six percent in a single three-month period this year (51% in Q2 versus 45% in Q1).
And this: More than half of the workers surveyed (58%) said their career has stalled and it’ll be hard — or impossible — to get it back on track.
A muddy picture
Clearly, there are mixed messages here. Here’s Ranstad’s rundown of employees’ attitudes about their jobs:
- 75% feel inspired to do their best
- 73% say they’re proud to work for their organization
- 69% say they enjoy going to work every day
- 66% feel their efforts are recognized and valued
- 62% trust organization leaders to make good decisions, and
- 64% feel the organization shares their values.
Nothing wrong with those numbers, right?
Well, check this out: While 61% said they plan to continue their careers with their current employers (which could be explained by the 58% who don’t believe they could find a suitable job in today’s market),
- 51% plan to explore other options when the job market picks up
- 50% say they’ll have to switch employers to grow their careers
- 50% say the economy negatively affected their career plans, and
- 41% say because of the recession and tight job market, they feel “left behind” in their careers.
Rescuing the ‘left behind’
Seems to us that 41% group should concern employers most. Randstad HR honcho Jim Link put it pretty succinctly: “Companies will lose top talent now if they don’t address employees’ fears around stalled career growth due to the economy.”
There are a lot of theories about what will help ignite and feed engagement, but the Randstad survey participants offered a reasonable checklist:
- offering promotions or bonuses to high performers — 36%
- providing a comfortable and stimulating work environment –30%
- encouraging employees to share ideas and opinions — 28%
- investing in training and development programs — 28%
- a formal structure to recognize and reward top performers — 21%
- regular performance reviews — 16%, and
- social or team building activities — 10%.
How many of the “left behind” employees are there in your organization? And how are you trying to re-engage them?