Employee Engagement Essay

Index 1. Executive Summary 2. Introduction 3. Methodology 4. What is Employee engagement? 5. Why is Employee engagement important? 6. Enablers, barriers and recommendations 7. Conclusion 8. Bibliography 1. Executive Summary Employee engagement describes the involvement of people at all levels in positive two-way dialogue and action to increase productivity and to create a great place to work – where people find their work meaningful and are willing to work together towards the future success of Gaynor Boxes.

A wide variety of research evidence supports the notion that staff who are engaged deliver higher productivity and organisational performance, increased operating and net profit, improved customer focus, lower levels of absenteeism and higher retention. An important driver of employee engagement is clarity of leadership vision and direction. While Gaynor has that vision, there is a challenge to engage all the members of the management team in this vision so that they in turn can lead the engagement of their staff.

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The strategy examines four themes as being the key enablers and barriers to employee engagement. Each of these themes is considered and recommendations are made which support the development of employee engagement. The recommendations are summarised below: Trust in leadership Trust can be shattered instantly when executives appear to suddenly change directions or seem to break promises. Building trust is a slower process. Executives must build trust by developing a clear vision of the organizations’ future and communicating this to all employees.

Work to secure the longer term leadership capability through inclusion of leadership as a core component of training (e. g. AMDP). An option could be to sponsor an award for best line manager as nominated by the departments. This could include categories that reflect some of the specific line management challenges for example best line manager for the development of potential, etc. Communication Most organizations do well in terms of communication down from management to employees. What are often missing are mechanisms for employees to communicate up on a regular basis.

Relying on a suggestion box and an annual employee survey just doesn’t do the job. To ensure the upward flow of feedback are employee town meetings and quarterly briefs and surveys to capture the changing concerns of employees. Internal communications must ensure a steady flow of key messages to senior managers to support the development of understanding and debate around the strategic direction. Gaynor to use the Staff Survey data more extensively to inform its own understanding about how employee engagement varies within and between departments.

This analysis could be used to inform the areas of focus for internal communications, development of the knowledge base activities and as material available to support leadership and management development activity. Shared Decision Making Gaynor management must encourage the active involvement of staff in the design, prioritisation and communication of employee engagement strategies. Sponsor a conference and awards event that will show case good practice, support knowledge sharing and recognise those whose work to build employee engagement.

The awards and conference could be built around the themes of this employee engagement strategy. Career development Engagement levels rise when there is a formal career development system that includes components such as formal career tracks, mobility systems to help employees move about in the organization, and annual career conversations. 2. Introduction Gaynor Cartons has two concerns on the radar screen that could impact on its future. One is a market concern in that they are starting to face strong competition from small start up companies. The other is proposed changes to nvironmental legislation, which could, if passed into law; lead to the need for considerable and costly changes in order to comply. Gaynor clearly understands that change is required to ensure the existence of its business into the future. They have identified and are exploring further a number of initiatives to ensure its sustainability. These possibilities are: * Expanding its product range to include new products not necessarily only in the area of boxing * Entering a different but related packaging field * Outsourcing opportunities * Modifying their Gaynor Kwik process Selling out or merging with a dominant player in the box manufacturing market * Acquiring a smaller boxing company that already complies with proposed legislation. The problem however is that rumours of mergers and retrenchments have filtered down to the work force and that the mood in the company has become one of despondency, anxiety and uncertainty. As part of that thinking, Gaynor Boxes requires an employee engagement strategy to ensure that it understands what it can do to help support employee engagement during this period of transformational change.

Appreciating that the relationship that staff have is with their employing organisation and improving employee engagement is the responsibility of the employer. It also acknowledges that there are other professional, social and demographic changes that continually change how people relate to their organisations. This means that their loyalty, advocacy and pride cannot be taken for granted and constant attention needs to be given to barriers and enablers of effective engagement. Gaynor has commissioned The Olympians to develop an employee engagement strategy to support its continued development and sustainability into the future.

This vision includes possible expansion into different field of expertise, development and the implementation of new processes to comply with environmental requirements. The Engagement model below sets out a clear direction of travel and underpinning principles intended to lead to an organization of engagement where improved quality and productivity is at the order of the day. There are other system level and demographic changes that may be changing the traditional relationship between staff and how engaged they are. These changes include: the ageing population and workforce and the different expectations of younger workers n ‘Generation X and Generation Y’ e. g. the “Young Turks”. The Gaynor staff survey provides a snapshot of how people perceive their working conditions. While it is recognized that this is not a perfect tool for understanding staff engagement, it does indicate some managers are more successful in providing a positive experience for their staff than others. From the changes signalled from these multiple perspectives – systemic, demographic, social and performance – the current relationship between staff and employer will be challenged and changed over the coming few years.

Now more than ever it is important to have a clear and consistent view about how to maintain, improve and harness staff goodwill, expertise and pride to ensure enhanced organizational performance, increased productivity, greater financial success and the retention of valued employees. 3. Methodology The model we selected to serve as a roadmap to create our strategy was designed by Katharine Esty and Mindy Gewirtz and modified to encapsulate the enablers needed to increase employee engagement in Gaynor Cartons.

The best way to increase employee engagement is to focus on creating a culture of engagement. One defines culture as including the practices, shared mindset and ethos of an organization. Once the culture is created, engagement becomes ‘the way we do things around here’ and it does not have to be recreated year after year. Leadership * Enhanced Organizational Performance * Increased Productivity * Greater Financial Success * Retention of valued employees Engagement Communication Shared Decision Making Career Development 4. Employee engagement – what is it?

There is a complex and detailed body of academic literature that explores the development of the concept of employee engagement over the past 10 – 15 years. This literature suggests it is more than staff satisfaction, it builds on organisational citizenship behaviour and commitment to include intellectual, emotional and behaviour elements and describes the employee’s sense of identification, advocacy and pride and desire for the organisation to succeed (D Robinson, H Hooker, S Hayday (2007)). Employee engagement is about the employee’s experience of work.

It is about the combination of factors that make the individual feel involved and willing to behave in ways that go beyond the day to day minimum and to work towards the longer term objectives of the organisation. Employee engagement describes the involvement of people at all levels in positive two-way dialogue and action to deliver the highest quality service and create great places to work – where people find their work meaningful and are willing to work together for patients, their colleagues and the future success of their organisation. 5. Employee engagement – why is it important?

During interviews and focus groups there was an immediate acceptance that employee engagement is important. Nevertheless it is important to consider the evidence before directing effort and resource to an employee engagement strategy. Why should senior managers pay attention to employee engagement? High levels of employee engagement have been shown to have a number of positive outcomes: * Higher productivity and organisational performance * Increased operating and net profit * Improved customer focus * Lower levels of absenteeism and * Higher levels of staff retention.

The research literature and case studies that attempt to quantify the impact of engagement and disengagement present a more or less consistent view that organisations should take this seriously. They also suggest that typical levels of employee engagement provide a significant opportunity for improvement with consequent positive impact on both organisational performance and staff well-being. Listed below are some of the key facts for making the case for employee engagement, based on research by other organisational development specialists: 1.

A global study of over 50,000 employees found that those employees who are most engaged perform 20% better and they are 87% less likely to leave (Corporate Leadership Council 2004). 2. Along with a survey of 664,000 employees at 50 global companies, Towers Perrin-ISR compared the financial performance of companies with varying levels of employee engagement over a 12 month period. It found that three financial indicators – operating income, net income and earnings per share – rose when engagement was high and fell when engagement was low (People Power, ISR/Towers Perrin, 2006). . Engaged employees indicate a better understanding of how to meet customer needs – 70% versus 17% of the non-engaged workers (Measuring True Employee Engagement, Right Management, 2006). 4. A CIPD research report found that engaged employees take less sick leave, perform better and are more likely to recommend the organisation they work for and are less likely to quit (Working Life: Employee Attitudes and Engagement, CIPD, December 2006). 5. Engaged employees take an average of 2. 69 sick days per year while the disengaged average 6. 19 (Gallup 2003). 6.

Gallup UK study shows only 19% of employees are actively engaged, a similar proportion are actively disengaged (20%) and the vast majority 61% are neutral representing untapped potential. A CIPD survey is slightly more optimistic with 35% of employees indicating active engagement with their work (Gallup UK quoted in Meere 2005). 7. A 2004 study found that moving employees from strong non-commitment to strong commitment can result in a 57% increase in discretionary effort. They state that moving from low to high effort levels can result in a 20% improvement in employee performance.

They coin this the “10:6:2 rule” in that a 10% increase in commitment can lead to 6% increase in effort and this results in an improvement in performance by 2% (Employee Engagement Survey, Corporate Leadership Council 2004). The case for employee engagement as a driver for performance improvement is strong and consistent. 6. Emerging themes, barriers and enablers Throughout the initial interviews and focus groups there were high levels of agreement that employee engagement is an important topic for Trust management with varying degrees of confidence expressed about understanding it and the strategies to improve it.

Five themes emerged as current barriers and potential enablers. These themes were examined in relation to research evidence and best practice as it pertains to employee engagement. 6. 1 Leadership As predicted by the employee engagement research, leadership is a key building block for improving engagement. Leadership emerges as a requirement in terms of clarity of vision, the trust in senior management, leadership for empowerment through the interviews and focus groups.

Leaders need to be visible within their organisations and clearly communicate information, but they also need to be able to communicate changes within the context of the vision which they may not understand or agree with. According to our research Gaynor employees believe that senior management are sincerely interested in their well-being. However, the evidence also indicates that a lack of clarity of vision may be contributing to the staff’s feelings of despondency, anxiety and uncertainty. How Employees Rate Leadership on Key Behaviours % of respondents agreeing with statement

We suggest that leadership capability be enhanced through a variety of mechanisms: master classes with invited external speakers, buddying with other major employers (outside the carton box sector) and through departmental challenges to managers to present how their teams are the best in the company and if they’re not, explain what they will do to become so. 6. 2 Communications The role of internal communications as an enabler and barrier to employee engagement emerged as a strong and consistent theme during the interviews and focus groups.

Proper, regular and useful information gets rid of uncertainty; it enables staff to focus on their role, being aware of how their role fits in. It can assist with knowledge sharing and supports an organisation’s efforts to create a sustainable culture of engagement. How Employees Rate Communication in the Company % of respondents agreeing with statement Having a compelling strategic vision is of little use unless it is communicated clearly and consistently. It is clear from our survey results that employees need two–way dialogue and that it would lead to improved team work.

Effective internal communications plays an important role in building employee engagement. We suggest that the following upward communication methods be implemented: suggestion programmes, complaint procedures , electronic mail, attitude surveys and open-door meetings. 6. 3 Shared decision making Gaynor management must encourage the active involvement of staff in the design, prioritisation and communication of employee engagement strategies. Sponsor a conference and awards event that will show case good practice, support knowledge sharing and recognise those whose work to build employee engagement.

The awards and conference could be built around the themes of this employee engagement strategy. How Employees Rate Shared Decision making % of respondents agreeing with statement Employee engagement is based on the relationship between the individual and their organisation and is heavily influenced by the line manager and immediate team. One of the themes that emerged was the importance of taking a ‘bottom up approach’ to service development by encouraging staff to identify improvements, to consider some of the team implications of wider organisational challenges and to give ownership of the implementation of ideas to the team.

This approach clearly puts into action the elements of the employee engagement definition by involving staff in the issues and solutions. 6. 4 Training and Development Engagement levels rise when there is a formal career development system that includes components such as formal career tracks, mobility systems to help employees move about in the organization, and annual career conversations. Employee training and development is seen as a key factor in meeting the employer’s strategic, business and operational goals (Lambert, T. 1997)

How Employees Rate Training and Development % of respondents agreeing with statement It is blatantly clear from the above survey that Gaynor has done very little to establish a T&D programme. Rapidly changing technical, legal and social environments have affected the way employees perform their jobs, and management personnel who fail to adapt to these changes become obsolete. Another concern, although not specifically mentioned, is the perception that no opportunities for advancement exist due to the fact that it is a “family business”.

We suggest an open and honest face to face group discussion to debate and dispel this perception. Another method might be the implementation of a succession plan that clearly illustrates that selection is based on required skill sets. Finally, we propose that a needs-assessment be conducted as soon as possible to establish T&D requirements. 7. Conclusion The research evidence points to improvements in employee engagement leading to higher productivity and transformational change.

While this is the prize, there are considerable barriers that will require capable and engaged leadership and this cannot be taken for granted. The role of the Gaynor management team in promoting employee engagement has to be one of enabler. This employee engagement strategy is intended to help Gaynor navigate this fine line of needing to drive significant changes in a way that encourages and supports its employees to step forward and take on the challenges.


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