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What Drives Employee Engagement – and Why It Matters

By: Janice Bandick

Published On: December 5, 2014

The concept of “employee engagement” has been around for decades, dating back to the late 1800s when Fredrick Taylor, an industrial engineer, studied how an employee’s attitude impacted their productivity in the steel industry. Thirty years ago, Gallup Inc. pioneered the concept of the “engagement survey”, an anonymous survey administered annually to measure levels of employee job satisfaction.

The days of the annual engagement survey are coming to an end, being replaced by a more functional, real-time approach to measuring and increasing levels of employee dedication and productivity, a movement spearheaded by savvy HR professionals in a bid to increase employee retention and productivity rates.

An “engaged employee” is defined as “one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization's reputation and interests”. Research into the drivers of employee engagement indicates that the following practices can increase enthusiasm and commitment among employees:

  • Clarifying job expectations and duties
  • Communicating opportunities for career advancement and skill development
  • Providing regular feedback (at least once a week) and encouraging employees to maintain an open dialogue with superiors
  • Congratulating and praising employees when they reach or exceed targets
  • Clearly communicating the ethos and values of the organization
  • Encouraging and arranging opportunities for employees to collaborate amongst cross-functional departments
  • Ensuring internal employee communications are clear and concise

An engaged employee experiences a blend of job satisfaction, organisational commitment, and feelings of empowerment. If an employee is engaged, you will see evidence of it every day. Highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their company than their disengaged counterparts, resulting in lower recruitment rates and higher profits.

Because of the importance of employee engagement and the mounting evidence that the process is most effective when managed year-round, employers are increasingly relying on their HR departments to drive engagement.

Ashton College’s online Human Resources Management Program gives graduates the skills to manage a company’s organisational success. Taught by expert instructors who have years of professional experience, the Human Resources Management program is taught through live online classes, using cutting-edge webinar technology to deliver a fully interactive learning experience.

Human Resources Management supports all of the activities related to challenges facing Canadian organizations in the context of managing their workforce, including the development and implementation of employee retention and engagement initiatives. Enrol in the Human Resources Management program at Ashton College and gain the critical HR knowledge needed to navigate the challenges encountered in today’s workplace.

Applications are now being accepted for our flexible, online-only program, with start dates as soon as January 26, 2015.



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