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Employee Engagement: Tough News Week!

U.S. Job Satisfaction Hits 22-Year Low

(Conference Board's survey - as reported on - 1/5/2010)

More Executives Seek New Jobs

(Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal - 1/8/2010) Last week was a tough news week for people concerned about employee retention and engagement. Tuesday's news (1/5/2010) started with the Conference Board's survey of 5,000 households which stated that only 45% of employees were satisfied with their jobs. Our own Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal carried an article with the title More Executives Seek New Jobs. There were countless other related and equally dismal articles from a multitude of sources.

It IS the time to be proactive

This isn't about 'them' . . . . . it is about you and your company. There are studies being done all the time about employee engagement - in individual companies (or areas within companies) or on a more global scale. The themes that result are reasonably common, but not always perfectly consistent.

Employees want to be heard

I was asked after e-mailing out a presentation called Employment of Choice why companies bother conducting engagement surveys if they already knew the answers. My simple response was that employees want to have a voice in what is being done. They want to be heard and they want their comments acknowledged AND acted upon where possible. The articles referenced above predict extreme turnover as the economy slowly improves. Neither article gave any suggestions for dealing with the situation. So . . . . . what can be done? A brief literature search suggests the following ideas:
  • daily or weekly communications update from the C-suite
  • implementation of a company blog relating to business issues and updates
  • on-line tracking (and displaying) of company progress toward 2010 goals
  • special celebrations - relating to incremental AND monumental progress toward goals
  • training - and having employees who go to outside training (or receive internal training) share the knowledge through conducting sessions

The possibilities are endless

. . . . . as are the suggestions available. The key seems to be to determine what YOUR employees want and need and then to develop a situation-specific solution. Communication is always a theme - and one that doesn't have to cost anything. Visibility by the senior team is also important. This is NOT an HR program, but a series of activities that should truly emanate from the top. One final (AND somewhat controversial) thought for this blog entry . . . . . zero turnover is not necessarily a goal you want to achieve. Retention of the people you want and need to achieve the 2010 goals and objectives of your organization while living up to your mission/vision will be key.