Many business leaders offer nothing but hot air when addressing employee concerns, according to a new employee engagement report.
It's well known that a firm with a highly engaged workforce will outperform rivals with disengaged employees. However, there is a significant discrepancy between what business leaders say about the threat of employee disengagement and what they're prepared to do about it.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit report Re-engagingwith Engagement, eighty-four per cent of respondents said that disengaged employees is one of the three biggest threats facing any business. Yet the report reveals that little is being done to identify, support or weed-out disengaged staff.
Produced from a survey of over 300 senior level executives and managers across a range of industries, the report reveals that those in senior positions such as chief executive officers or managing partners consistently display a "rose-tinted" view of engagement that is not shared lower down the ranks.
Only 12 per cent of survey respondents reported that their employers "regularly and often" tackle staff with continually low levels of engagement, with senior staff admitting engagement is discussed occasionally, rarely or never.
Jonathan Berry, founder and managing director of Camrose Employee Engagement, suggests that many top executives are not convinced by the available evidence on the commercial impact of engagement.
"You need to measure engagement properly, otherwise they [leaders] will believe in it only in a vague sense, but won't commit properly to it," he says. "Hard financial figures are what sway the cynical business leader."
To address the engagement issue, experts consulted for the purposes of the report suggest leaders devote more attention to engagement in board meetings, confront disengagement head-on and focus on autonomy not salary, as nearly half of respondents in highly engaged organisations believe greater staff autonomy, rather than salary, is the most important determinant of engagement.