Employers embrace workplace engagement, but find it hard to measure 0

Big dataBusinesses may appreciate the benefits of workplace engagement, but quantifying these remains a challenge. According to new research of European employers by Oracle, 93 percent acknowledge employee engagement is strategically important to their company and a majority say it positively impacts collaboration (65 percent), helps boost business performance (61 percent), and contributes to improved customer service (60 percent). Yet nearly two thirds (31 percent) say it’s difficult to measure the return of investment on their wider business, and 30 percent say boardroom decision-makers cannot easily understand its impact. And despite the availability of advanced analytics to measure engagement, the report also claims that current processes are not being optimised to drive engagement, as 68 per cent of businesses still rely on standard staff surveys to gauge engagement levels, with only 37 percent using more sophisticated methods.

Oracle has released its findings today from the second phase of its Western European study focused on understanding employee engagement. The employer viewpoint results of the Oracle Simply Talent; A Western European Perspective study, sets out to understand the drivers and benefits of employee engagement in Europe.

It reveals that despite their crucial role in gauging and analyzing employee engagement, HR teams are not currently seen as a major driver of engagement for businesses. When asked who in the business has the greatest impact on employee engagement, only 10 percent of employers said HR, compared with 34 percent who said line managers and 28 percent who said the senior leadership team.

This also echoes the comparatively low profile HR has with employees, which was brought to light by the first phase of Oracle’s, Oracle’s Simply Talent: A Western European Perspective study, where, of those employees polled, only 3 percent said HR has the most positive impact on engagement.

Loïc Le Guisquet, President for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific regions commented: “Employees are the front line, the public face, the tangible personification of what a business represents. Therefore being able to understand, and more importantly improve employee engagement becomes an absolute priority for any of today’s successful leaders.

“A more rigorous engagement strategy has become indispensable, and HR has a vital role to play in helping organizations make the transition. Modern HR teams have access to data-based tools allowing them to effectively measure employee engagement, and just as crucially to quantify its impact on the business for the decision-makers in the boardroom. In this way HR will find itself at the centre of the business, driving engagement strategies that best serve the organization’s growth ambitions.”

Combining Oracle’s latest findings with those from the employee viewpoint phase the research reveals that despite employers saying line management has the greatest role in driving engagement, employees still say poor communication from managers is the most frequent reason for them feeling less engaged at work.

An overwhelming 90% percent of employers agree strong leadership is effective in boosting employee productivity, with 34% saying line management has the greatest role in driving employee engagement, more than any other department in the business.

This appreciation for line management excellence is echoed by employees. Nearly one-third single out good line management as making them feel more engaged at work, and 41% say poor communication from managers is the single most frequent reason for them feeling less engaged. Despite this, only 13% of employers consider a focus on line management excellence is most important to making employees feel engaged at work.

Encouragingly, there are multiple areas where employer priorities do align with those of employees.

  • Fifty-eight percent of employers agree recognising the excellence of individual employees has a strong positive impact on engagement, a belief shared by 53 percent of employees
  • Fifty-two percent of employers believe embracing teamwork and collaboration positively  impacts engagement, as do 53 percent of employees
  • 54 percent of employers say a good work/life balance makes workers feel more engaged, and 50 percent of employees agree

Le Guisquet said: “These findings suggest that while everyone agrees that line managers are responsible for creating high levels of employee engagement, and that good communication is an essential element of this, businesses have not developed their management functions accordingly. Given the changing world of work and the increasing demands of millennials it is essential that HR helps create a culture of engagement within the organization, centered on line managers as the key agents of change.”

Click on the link to download Simply Talent; A Western European Perspective