Engement Employee engagement health is at its worst levels in decades. Loyalty between employees and organizations has been damaged through this most recent recession as a result of massive workforce reductions, increased stressed on the “survivors” with no prospect of reward post-recovery. We’ve lost perspective of what “engagement” really means, therefore we must remind ourselves of the definition of “Engagement”:

An engagement is a promise to marry, and also the period of time between proposal and marriage – which may be lengthy or trivial. During this period, a couple is said to be affianced, betrothed, engaged to be married, or simply engaged. Future brides and bridegrooms are often referred to as fiancées or fiancés respectively (from the French word fiancé). The duration of the courtship varies vastly.

Source Wikipedia, September 2010

This definition depicts a marital engagement, however it sounds nothing like the employee/employer relationship of today. In years past, young employees would land a job with General Mills, GM or Geritol and remain with those companies until retirement. These companies would hire the formative young workers, instill values and goals consistent with their long-term vision and values which, drove and supported their business strategy.  This model has been changing for a long time but the last 3 years has left employers in a precarious position.

Manpower’s Workforce Strategy Survey, released September 27th, shows that many organizations are not thinking strategically about the workforce they’ll need for long-term strategic growth—most are thinking only about the here and now and are not positioned to build the workforce they’ll need to achieve the company’s business strategy in the future. This is quite concerning for Wall Street regarding long-term economic recovery. Investors should focus on employers that have prioritized these 3 key people strategies:

  1. Talent acquisition and alignment with business strategy
  2. Leadership and career development
  3. Reward and recognition

The full Manpower study can be viewed here: http://www.manpower.com/investors/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=511114

“The data reveals that almost a quarter of employers across 36 countries and territories concede that their organizations’ workforce strategy does not support their business strategy, or don’t know if it does. Among those two subsets of respondents, 53 percent admit they are not taking steps to address this issue. With the talent mismatch—the inability to find the right skills in the right place at the right time—becoming more acute as the global economy thaws, companies risk being without the skills they need to execute their business strategy”.

“In addition, among employees surveyed in this study, large sections are still in the dark about how their contributions support the business—one in five employees say either that they don’t understand their company’s business strategy or they don’t know how their role supports it.” (emphasis added)

SOURCE Manpower Inc.

So, what are some engagement drivers that organizations could begin to practice to retain their key talent, re-engage them with business strategy, and invest in their long-term retention and development?  Over the next few weeks I’ll explore those themes and make provide some insight.  For now, I would like to get your thoughts – leave some ideas in the comment area below.

Guest blog by Paul Schoening, MBA; http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-schoening/4/20/2a4/

About Paul; Paul is a successful marketing and business development professional with experience in several industries over more than 20 years. During this period he’s worked for Gage Marketing Group, BI (Business Incentives), Korn/Ferry International as well as founding his own company. He was most recently with Korn/Ferry International as Global Director of Marketing in their talent management consulting division.