Blog from our global partner: by Barbara A.F. Greene

With the economy on the upswing, it is becoming increasingly important for organizations to retain their workforce. Every year companies spend thousands of dollars assessing employee engagement. Surveys are compiled and administered and engagement plans are made, all in an effort to produce happier and more productive employees.

Research indicates that engaged employees contribute to the long term success of organizations. There are many perspectives about the value and practice of employee engagement. This Myths and Realities Checklist can help sort fact from fiction.

Myths and Realities Checklist

1. Myth: Employee engagement is hosting an event every now and then.

The reality is…effective employee engagement permeates everything we do; it must be integrated into the organization’s strategy across the enterprise.

2. Myth: Employee engagement takes too much time away from the real work.

The reality is…it makes employees’ time more valuable. Engaged employees are more productive and happier within the organization. It is the real work.

3. Myth: Employee engagement consists of those games that are way too “touchy feely.”

The reality is…engagement works best when the initiatives are customized to the culture of the organization. Finding what matters most to your employees is an important step in engaging them.

4. Myth: Employee engagement is for the younger generation only since they are the most likely to leave the organization for a new position.

The reality is…people of all ages want to contribute to organizations who believe that everyone counts and who value a diverse workforce.

5. Myth: Employee engagement starts after the employee is with the company at least six months.

The reality is…it starts before the person is hired. Organizations begin engaging future employees through a variety of medium to attract them to their company. Following a great employer brand, engagement begins with the organization’s recruitment process! How employees are treated throughout the recruitment and selection process can lay the foundation for great engagement. A successful on-boarding program can also be essential in building engagement. However, engagement does not end with the on-boarding process, instead it is an on-going commitment.

6. Myth: Employee engagement does not need the executives’ or managers’ participation.

The reality is…when it comes to engagement, it is imperative for leadership to model the way for everything from accountability to developing the workforce and themselves.

7. Myth: Lack of employee engagement does not cost organizations any money.

The reality is…low productivity and employee turnover due to low engagement cost a company a great deal of money. US businesses lose approximately $11 billion annually due to employee turnover, according to a study by the Bureau of National Affairs. “With recruiting costs running approximately 1.5 times annual salary,” the study noted, “the ability to engage and retain valuable employees has a significant impact on an organization’s bottom line.”

8. Myth: Employees are engaged because of their tenure with the organization.

The reality is…the length of employment for an employee is not a common driver for the employee’s engagement, according to recent research. Instead, there are a number of factors such as leaders’ behaviors and development opportunities that drive how engaged an employee is.

9. Myth: All employees’ performance is about the same whether they are engaged or not.

The reality is…it’s a proven and accepted fact that engaged employees outperform their non-engaged counterparts just like 2+2 =4 is an accepted fact. Companies with high levels of employee engagement can see revenue growth of up to 2.5 times that others and a 40% reduction in turnover according to HayGroup’s report “Giving Everyone the Chance to Shine: How Leading Organizations use Engagement to Drive Performance Cost-Effectively.”

10. Myth: Employees need to take complete ownership of their careers within their organization.

The reality is…employees and employers share the ownership of careers. Having a shared organizational vision and strategy while integrating the appropriate tools and resources for employees will contribute to continuous learning, building community, and the sustainability of the organization.

Unveiling these myths and realities is one insight for an organization in launching an employee engagement strategy. All engagement strategies should include creating a long-term plan that involves the C-Suite and other employees across the organization. Implementing the plan and maintaining a high level of engagement is a real challenge yet can have a substantial impact on business results. Organizations from all industries and countries are experiencing bottom-line gains from a robust employee engagement culture.