Employee Engagement: Why It Matters Now More Than Ever Before
Younger American workers are increasingly the focus of corporate attention because they will make up 75% of the U.S. workforce by 2025. But study after study shows that this younger generation isn’t content walking in the footsteps of those that came before them but is intent on charting its own course. For example, as Exhibit 1 below shows, while 75% of surveyed baby boomers intend to stay with their employers for the long term, merely 46% of younger professionals (aged 20 to 29 years) value long-term corporate loyalty. Younger workers, instead, believe in long-term loyalty to their own passions and are focused on aligning careers and core interests. So while workers would adapt to corporate needs in earlier generations, the tables have turned and corporations now need to adapt workplace environments to millennial needs, on the professional front and beyond. Employee commitment can no longer be assumed and corporate loyalty now needs to be earned.
As recent research (Exhibit 2 below) from HayGroup (now Korn Ferry) shows, fully a third of the global workforce is not actively engaged or actively enabled at work… that’s mind-boggling… imagine how dramatically business results would improve if this missing 33%were more engaged, more enabled and, consequently, more effective in driving business performance.
HayGroup also points out that corporations need to engage and appeal to this changing workforce in an age of individualism, digitization and demographic change where corporate loyalty is declining across the globe, where individuals are always on in a digitized world and where the workforce is increasingly diverse and mobile. These trends have a profound impact on the way businesses operate – they change how people work, what they care about in their professional lives and what organizations need to do so employees can perform at their best.
In today’s social-media connected world, corporate reputations and brands are continually at risk because disengaged employees and other stakeholders are quick to publicly rebuke erring organizations, key talent is hard to hide and online resources make job moves much easier for good employees.
As Charles Darwin famously noted, “It’s not the biggest, the brightest or the best that will survive but those who adapt the quickest”. So it is with today’s organizations… they need to align corporate interest with employee interest by pushing down decision making, keeping employees informed and training staff to respond to future challenges.
Businesses also need to keep pace with technological change and must embrace innovation to survive… for which they need a culture where ideas flourish, collaboration flows, and high levels of employee engagement motivate people to work harder and smarter.
Studies show that employee-centric corporate philanthropy programs are a proven way to attract, hire, engage, motivate and retain workers, and foster workplace camaraderie, teamwork and communication… which ultimately boosts corporate revenue and profits.