Photo by Campaign Creators on UnsplashBy Claude Werder, Vice President and Principal HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

Results from Brandon Hall Group’s 2020 Employee Engagement Study are in. There’s a lot to unpack. Let’s get right to the heart of it: Employees are 146% more likely to be somewhat engaged or actively disengaged than highly engaged.

Employers don’t take this lightly. They understand they have a big problem and retaining talent is their #1 concern. The big mystery is how to best attack this goliath. In interviews with HR leaders, coaching programs for managers and career development programs for employees are the most popular strategies to drive engagement right now.

Those and other programs certainly don’t hurt. But they don’t necessarily get to the core of the problem.

Employee engagement is an outcome; the result of the experiences employees have every day on the job. Simply put, if your employees have more great or “peak” experiences than bad ones, they are more likely to be engaged. Experiences like coaching and frequent feedback from leaders are certainly important, as are learning and career opportunities. But also look at basic questions like:

  • Do employees have the tools they need to do their jobs in the most progressive and efficient way?
  • How easy is it for employees to change their benefits, check on vacation time or simply clock in and out of work?
  • Do they have a clear understanding of the organization’s business goals?
  • Does your organization give employees a sense of belonging?
  • Does the company make it easy for employees to connect with other colleagues in the next cubicle or across the globe?

Before throwing a bunch of programs at the engagement challenge, develop a deep understanding of the quality of your employees’ everyday experiences. Here’s a helpful exercise: Identify several types of experiences. Then identify what the best experience looks like and what the worst experience looks like.

An example of how to approach this:

This may involve immersing yourself in your employees’ work experiences and getting very granular about how they navigate their jobs and the organization. That’s the point – you can’t devise the best strategies to drive employee engagement without a deep understanding of where employees are and where they want to be.

There’s a lot more to share from our research in the weeks ahead, but this is a great place to start.

Claude Werder, Vice President and Principal HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

Claude Werder is Brandon Hall Group’s Vice President and Principal HCM Analyst. He focuses on Leadership Development and Talent Management. Brandon Hall Group is a leading research and analyst firm with Practices in Learning & Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development, Talent Acquisition and Workforce Management/Core HR.

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