Employees Make It Clear: Here’s What They Need to Really be Engaged

Thanks to a great article in HRZone.co.uk by Leslie Allen, I came across these interesting results of a recent  Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) study in the UK.

The CIPD in the United Kingdom is similar to SHRM in the United States. This 2012 research reflects the employee satisfaction and engagement attitudes of nearly 300,000 employees and managers across industries throughout the UK.

Key findings:

  • 39 percent are engaged (up 3 percentage points);
  • 3 percent are completely disengaged (constant from Winter 2011);
  • 58 percent are neutrally engaged (up 2 percentage points from Winter 2011).

It’s the neutrally engaged I find most interesting. Though 72 percent of them say they are treated fairly by their boss, 22 percent are still job hunting.

Keep in mind the definition of “neutrally engaged” – doing their job well enough to get along, but not bringing any extra effort, creativity, or personal interest to their roles. To them, “it’s just a job” and they are quite satisfied with it, but they’re not going to go the extra distance or draw attention to themselves.

The path to engagement… 

These neutrally engaged employees were quite clear about what it would take for them to give that extra effort that organizations desperately need in today’s constrained economic environment. As Leslie pointed out in his article:

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  • 61 percent don’t have the personal career discussions they would like with their managers.
  • 70 percent are not getting the coaching they need.
  • 54 percent do not get regular performance feedback from their manager.

… and what enployees say they need

Employees themselves are laying out a clear path to engage them:

  1. Tell me where I’m going in my career.
  2. Give me the training I need to get there.
  3. Tell me how I’m doing along way so I can stay on course.

You can’t say it any more clearly than that. Annual performance reviews and career discussions simply do not meet employee needs in the modern workplace. Frequent, timely social performance management far better suits today’s interconnected age.

How engaged are you in your work? What would you need to help you engage more?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is senior vice president of client strategy and consulting at Workhuman, where he leads the company’s consulting and analytics divisions. His writing is regularly featured across major HR publications, including HR Magazine, Human Resource Executive, HR Zone, and Workspan.

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