Common sense tells us that engaged employees are the lifeblood of an organization, whereas disengaged workers can poison a business when they negatively impact the workplace. A recent Gallup survey shows that 32% of U.S. employees are engaged in their work while 68% are not–and 17.2% of those disengaged workers are "actively disengaged." What can actively disengaged employees do to your organization? Name virtually any performance metric, and they can decrease it. Such employees aren’t just unhappy at work–they are often undermining the efforts of engaged workers.
Is any business goal more important than increasing employee engagement? The Gallup study shows that business units with engaged employees outperformed those with low engagement as follows:
Reduced absenteeism – by 41%
Reduced turnover – by 24% in high-turnover organizations and 59% in low-turnover organizations
Profitability – by 21%
Sales – by 20%
Productivity – by 17%
How do you start improving engagement?
Each workplace is unique, but we typically start with a workforce engagement survey to find out how employees currently feel about the company, leadership, and their role within the organization. The Gallup study mentioned earlier says: “Given the shifts in employee preferences and the upcoming changes in the workforce demographics, organizations may want to consider conducting an employee job satisfaction and engagement survey of their staff. In fact, nearly one-half (49%) of organizations reported conducting an employee survey to assess job satisfaction and/or engagement in the last year.”
Low scores in any one of the key areas measured with an engagement survey could lead to disengagement, so it’s critically important to diagnose the root causes within each and formulate strategies to solve them. When an employee survey reveals low job satisfaction, we typically find the root causes to include job fit. To achieve their most crucial business goals, employers must recognize that job fit is an essential component–one that has an immense impact on employee engagement and other areas in the organization.
Ensure your passengers are in the right seats
Effectively hiring, promoting, and creating high-performing teams involves not only ensuring that you have the right passengers on your bus, but also that they are in the right seats. This is precisely what job fit is all about. Research has shown that success on the job has little to do with experience, age, race, gender, or education–and everything to do with job fit.
Assessments have long been considered a tool used to assist with hiring decisions, but today employers who are winning the war for talent are using assessments that measure the candidates’ thinking style, behavioral traits, and interests against top performers in the role as a predictor of future success. How strong of a predictor? The interview process alone correlates to 14% of job success, according to a survey conducted by Data Facts. By adding in job fit assessments, which provide key insights into the candidate as well as benchmarking data that can be used to facilitate the interview process, the prediction of job success increases to 75%. Aligning interests, behaviors and styles with what the business needs is not only a critical piece of driving performance – it’s directly related to employee engagement.
3 steps to success
Build a competency framework. Successful organizations define a core competency framework (skills, knowledge, and attributes) for all job roles. A key strength of assessments is their ability to identify the gap between the current competencies of the individual and those required to succeed in a certain role. The lack of a framework against which the organization can assess individuals hinders its capability to make truly informed placement and promotion decisions.
Obtain stakeholder buy-in. Best-in-class organizations have executive leadership support and buy-in from frontline and midlevel managers for their assessments strategy. Employers must start with executive support for the strategy. Midlevel and frontline managers must also support the process and the intended use of assessments, and ultimately employee buy-in into these initiatives will be secured. When it comes to any talent management initiatives, establishing metrics that address pain points at the highest level of the organization and providing visibility to the individual contributors helps ensure that these programs are executed effectively. When all stakeholders support the strategy, collaboration between HR and each business unit will become much more productive and performance management metrics for the initiatives will be more relevant to the business–a critical step for establishing a business case.
Utilize job-fit assessments. Fill the gap between the resume and the interview by complementing the hiring and talent management process with key metrics on each individual that provide actionable data about candidates in a simple to understand format that can help to interview better and hire smarter.
The links between job fit, employee engagement, and overall business success is well known by researchers as well as employers who have explored these issues. However, few employers leverage the best engagement strategies and job-fit tools to their full potential. You can differentiate your organization and gain a competitive advantage by employing knowledge and resources that are readily available. If you would like more information on job fit and employee engagement, please contact us.
Amanda Jueneman serves as an independent human resources technology consultant.
She has consulted with employers on their HR technology and employee benefits since 2000. Her focus and passion is helping organizations utilize technology to transform HR operations and drive business results. For Associated Benefits and Risk Consulting's proprietary suite of solutions, Amanda works on product innovation, project management of new technologies, training and support for the solutions that support clients across our footprint. Amanda can be reached at Amanda.Jueneman@AssociatedBRC.com.
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