Employee Engagement

What are the Two Fundamental Elements of Employee Engagement?

Onur Ilkoz
December 8, 2023
5 min read
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Some companies regularly conduct employee engagement researches and proudly announce their engagement figures. The figures in eastern countries are quite high compared to the counterparts in the western cultures! Of course, the result of this situation is that managers who look at the subject carefully do not buy-in the figures and question the to-good-to-be-true ratios. As a result, the process ends up with perceptual devaluation of the outputs.Since “employee engagement” is one of the main factors that affect the total success of a company, it is necessary to go beyond the traditional method of Employee Satisfaction Survey which is considered as the traditional method for measuring engagement. The two most fundamental elements of employee engagement; creating the culture of “Trust” and” High Performance “, are the two main topics that sit on top of the priority list of pioneer companies.

“Your competitors can copy your company's products, systems, organization, or strategy. But they can't copy neither the trust environment in your company nor the performance of your employees”.The managers who go beyond the “ask Google!” approach and have in depth knowledge about the dimensions of employee engagement are aware how difficult to establish such a culture is. The common view of these managers is that they look at the issue from the triangle of “culture of trust- being a listening company- improving the performance”.Stephen Covey’s following statement summarizes the issue quite well:Your competitors can copy your company's products, systems, organization, or strategy. But they can't copy neither the trust environment in your company nor the performance of your employees. Today, the achievements of CEOs and leaders are evaluated with their ability to make their employees happy and get higher performances. This expectation also drives them to use digital tools that give them the opportunity to coach more and to inspire and improve each other.Action-oriented feedback cultureWith the growing popularity of the concept of employee engagement, digital HR tools market focusing on engagement and feedback is experiencing serious developments. As Josh Bersin from Deloitte wrote in his article “Feedback is the Killer App”, employee engagement and feedback are increasingly important topics for companies due to the penetration of the millennial generation workers and the impact of digital tools on our daily lives. The reason is, companies that give their employees a chance to express themselves are reshaping the basics of to human resources management in a fundamental way.As mentioned above, measuring the employee engagement with an employee satisfaction survey which takes place once or twice a year has become a discursive approach considering the speed of accessing the information and communication level we reached as a result of our individual digital experiences.In this regard, the leading companies determine their HR strategies considering the following 6 dimensions:

1. Meaning of Work - Autonomy, Small and Agile Teams

2. Hands on Management - Clear Goals, Feedback and Coaching, Modern Performance Management

3. Efficient Work Environment - Flexible work, Appreciation and recognition culture, Diversity

4. Career Development Opportunity - Mobility, Extensive Career Development Paths, Being a Learning Organization

5. Trust in Leadership - Mission and Purpose, Investing in People, Investing in a Trust Environment

6. Employee Wellbeing - Safety and Security, Employee Health, Financial Health, Psychological SupportIt seems easy on paper, but we all know that “the real life is always more complicated than theory”.

When we look at the companies that implement these dimensions successfully, we see that they pay serious attention to two issues: the first, imposing managers to take action (thus changing their manager profiles to the managers who are able to create great workplaces). The second is the use of feedback technologies and obtaining meaningful data to act based on it. The companies who can implement these elements in their culture have shown serious developments.Employee commitment is 7% higher than the equivalent, in the companies whose managers manage their employees by the action plans.Employee engagement is even more than 8 times higher than companies that are forcing their managers to take action.So how should the HR strategy to increase employee engagement be structured?

According to our benchmark researches and our field experience, the company culture focusing on employee engagement can be implemented following a 5-step roadmap:

1. The platform where employee opinions will be received and summarized,

2. Supportive and correct performance and reward mechanism,

3. Action plans targeting cultural development,

4. Monitoring the process of cultural change,

5. Feedback, follow-up and measurement of the generated effect with numbers are critical issues in the road-map.Determination of your HR strategy is the pre-requisite of this roadmap that needs to be implemented by both the employee and the managers.According to Jacob Morgan's “The Employee Experience Advantage” research, increasing employee engagement, making feedback a part of culture and building trust culture in your company are the most important factors that increase the value of the company.

As the futurist Naisbitt says, the determinant of development is not high-tech anymore, but high-touch (high people quality).Most companies spend most of their budgets on improving their customer experience and digital infrastructure. But remember; increasing your company value is realized much more faster by investing in your human capital.‍

Onur Ilkoz
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