Workforce Optimization Featured Article

Most Employee Engagement Programs Never Truly Reach Employees

June 23, 2014

Reams of studies have been produced that demonstrate to companies the value of having engaged workers. Workers who are at least somewhat engaged in their jobs are less likely to leave, taking valuable training and knowledge resources with them. They are more invested in the outcome of their jobs and are more likely to consider themselves part of a team, producing better results in the long run for the company. They build a healthier work environment that encourages other employees to become more engaged.

While employee engagement would seem like a no-brainer, there are many roadblocks to implementing an effective employee engagement program. Many of these programs are “cynically adopted,”  according to some experts, meaning they are paperwork and administration heavy and do little but waste money and time without producing any real results, according to a recent article by Hannah Uttley for the Web site Workplace Savings and Benefits.

Director of the UK program Involvement and Participation Association (IPA), Nita Clarke, recently co-authored a government report titled “Engaging for Success,” and noted that employee engagement is a state of mind and does not require huge investment. Clarke notes that too many companies pass employee engagement to human resources, and these programs seldom launch out of a paperwork stage.

"I don't think engagement belongs to HR,” Clarke recently said at an event for the London HR Connection, which was held at London School of Economics. “I think HR and Comms are very helpful in raising this stuff -- there's lots of different bits of evidence -- but at the end of the day there is an element of common sense about this which is people who are fulfilled at work perform better and there comes a point that you just have to accept that there is a reality here.”

Employee engagement needs to happen at the manager to employee level, and it needs to take the form of simple, common-sense activities that can help employees feel more valued. It can cross many departments, functions and even business applications. Clarke notes that having greater focus on employees with the right leadership behaviors, and coaching and training and developing people to adopt the behaviors and carry forward the mantra, is the most effective method for encouraging employee engagement.

In the contact center, workforce optimization is one of the best solutions to help foster employee engagement, along with performance management. Workforce optimization can ensure that employees are properly situated to do the best possible job and actually help customers, which can boost an employee’s feeling of accomplishment. It can ensure that processes are in place that will yield the best possible results, equipping employees for success. At its very core, it can transform a company’s work culture so that each employee is more committed to delivering a great customer experience.

While it’s critical for every customer-facing business today to have a viable employee engagement program in place, it needs to be more than a bound set of theoretical steps that everyone ignores or uses as a doorstop. Employee engagement is a destination, not a single task, and it needs to cross every part of the organization and touch every interaction. Most importantly, it needs to be more than a box checked on a list of corporate goals that look good in the annual report. 

Edited by Rory J. Thompson
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