For leaders at the receiving end of a ritual-like employee satisfaction survey, knowing where to prioritise and improve can be hard. The swift logic would be to fix the lows from the bottom up or perhaps work hard to maintain the highs if strength based leadership is the preferred style.
But does that really yield the best results – for company and employees? And what are the actual drivers that boost engagement?
These and more questions puzzled a group of survey experts in Ramboll to the extent that they developed a benchmark study to find out. Not that this was an unchartered territory, but the group looked for more specific causes and effects, notably in a Scandinavian context.
Therefore, 3200 Swedes, Danes and Norwegians were surveyed. Using regression analysis, the responses were then thoroughly investigated to understand the interdependencies between various engagement drivers and to pinpoint the main components of high performance. Knowing this will allow companies to prioritise their HR and leadership efforts more effectively to reap the benefits of highly engaged employees.
This work has now been summarized and labelled the Ramboll Engagement Scale.
Employees; a vehicle to success
One of the experts is Arnt Olaf Storeng. Based in Ramboll Management Consulting’s Oslo office, the trained psychologist has worked in the field for more nearly 20 years.
According to the Norwegian, the engagement scale is developed not only from a professional point of view but equally so from a business point of view. More and more companies are doomed to propel their thinking, processes, and tools when it comes to employee development as a core means to stay competitive in the market.
- There are varying needs depending on your sector and type of organisation – having said that we see an increasing number of organisations eager to raise the bar. Why is that? Because they realise that their employees’ ability to grow and deliver results are perhaps the most important vehicle to success as many sectors and industries are changing rapidly these days. One example is the financial sector, where we have a number of clients, says Storeng.
Building the engagement case
Over the years, research has built a strong case for engagement as it is associated with personal and organisational benefits such as lower sick-leave, enhanced willingness to change, and better quality in products or services to name a few.
In Ramboll’s engagement scale reference survey, three results stood out in a surprisingly strong way:
- Highly engaged employees put in more hours at work, yet they feel less pressure or stress compared to disengaged employees
- Highly engaged employees far often recommend their employer as a great place to work
- Highly engaged employees are much less likely to look for a job outside the organisation
In a Scandinavian context, as much as 40% of all disengaged employees have looked for a new job outside the organisation, as shown below. And the likelihood is that this is not just the backbenchers or the non-performers. Depending on the size of your organisation this could well be hundreds or even thousands of employees.
On a more positive note, highly engaged employees serve the role as job ambassadors. This could ignite a positive spiral for HR and middle management; highly engaged employees deliver better results and notably in a private sector context this may well lead to a growing business, hence a need for additional resources. So not only do the engaged employee help grow the business, they also help attract new job candidates.