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Employee engagement stalls

Finding ways to boost employee engagement has gotten plenty of attention since the recession. More engaged employees, of course, are more productive (and happier) employees. Yet despite the billions spent to drive greater engagement, Aon Hewitt says the level of engaged U.S. workers has stalled.

The firm’s study found that engagement rose just 1 percent from 2013 to 2014 in North America, to 66 percent.

By comparison, the highest engagement levels were reported in Latin America, at 71 percent.

So, what’s the problem?

Dr. Ken Oehler, Aon Hewitt’s global engagement practice leader, has a theory.

“Employees who are engaged, but not empowered, are more likely to be frustrated, burned out and become disengaged, which puts organizations at risk of having suboptimal productivity and higher-than-average employee turnover,” he says.

When Aon Hewitt asked people to rate more than 25 workplace factors as either having improved or gotten worse year over year, the result was grim: a 28 percent decrease in satisfaction with the workplace.

Among the factors that fell in employees’ eyes: Availability of resources, personnel/human resources practices, customer focus, diversity and how the employer values people.

So, how to fix this?

“The best way to rapidly address low engagement levels is to ‘fix the basics’ in areas like safety or the systems, processes and resources needed to get work done,” Oehler says. “Beyond these areas, top organizations will create a culture of engagement by focusing on performance, growth and engaging leadership.”

In other words, make sure you put your people ahead of pretty much all other considerations.

Remember: People are your company’s greatest assets.

Apprentice Personnel is one of the largest full-service, independent staffing firms in Colorado and Kansas.

About the Author

Larry Hannappel

Larry spent 16 years with Century Casino’s and was instrumental in the start-up and growth of the company through expansions in Canada, South Africa, the Czech Republic, Poland and on several cruise ships as well as in Colorado. He was most recently the SVP, Principal Finance Officer and COO of North American operations for Century Casinos Inc., a multinational, Nasdaq-traded gaming company. Earlier in his career, Larry worked at the Johns Manville Corp. Larry spent 13 years in various accounting and finance functions in the company’s fiberglass manufacturing division and was key in the start-up of a molding plant in Indiana. Larry and his wife Kathy and three children live in Colorado. He enjoys four-wheeling, motorcycling, golfing, skiing and brewing beer.

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