The simple mistake that kills engagement

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You may have policies and programmes in place to increase employee engagement, but there’s one mistake you may be making that will undo your hard work.

According to research by the advisory company CEB, anticipating changes in organisational structure, leadership, job descriptions and which skills are going to be required can do serious damage to employee engagement levels.

Brad Adams, head of HR research in Asia for CEB, told HRM that New Zealand workers experienced a greater degree of those changes than the international benchmark.

“It’s the anticipation of further change that is often more poisonous or toxic for employee engagement than the fact that they’ve actually experienced some of those changes.”

He said that management teams that could communicate credibly the new directions in which the organisation was heading and whether more changes were to be expected could help employees reduce the uncertainty.

“It can be a simple communication lever that can lift levels of engagement in the New Zealand workforce,” said Adams.

CEB’s Global Workforce Insights report also showed that Kiwi workers ranked highly in terms of putting in extra effort in their roles and more than half of those surveyed intended to stay with their current employer.

However, fewer than one in four Kiwi employees were happy with the rewards they were offered, like holidays and compensation, which was below the global average of 33.4%.

“Being more transparent with pay decisions, making pay and even bonus structures even more digestible or understandable for employees can often have a much greater impact than raising pay levels incrementally,” said Adams.

“It’s really important to communicate effectively around the pay philosophy and strategy, not just the actual amounts.”

The report also showed that workers in the 18-29 age bracket were the most likely to leave their jobs.

Adams said that organisations needed to attract and retain that segment of the workforce, not just because it plays a critical part of the operation, but because it was also becoming a leading voice in helping organisations take advantage of new technology.

“Career and development opportunities are a really powerful attraction, as well as an engagement and retention driver. They’re more likely to leave when they don’t necessarily see a compelling career path in front of them.

“Showing them the breadth of the career options they might have with an organisation, not just the value of the job they’ve taken just coming out of university is a really important thing,” said Adams.

Millennials were also more interested in continuous learning than their older workforce counterparts and companies could engage in “network learning”, which involved connecting them to people in the organisation who were not necessarily part of their direct team, in “ways that are emotionally fulfilling for them but also allows them to develop a broader understanding of the way the organisation works and makes money,” he said.

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