Diversity is a journey, not a destination. Improving representation of diverse groups in the workplace is a challenging endeavor and it can take years to achieve. It is essential to tailor your diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives to meet your specific business needs, company culture, and local regulations. Below are ten practical steps, with […] More
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We’re in the middle of the Great Resignation. Around the world, employees are quitting their jobs at record setting rates. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, four million American workers resigned in April 2021 alone—and millions more have since followed suit. In fact, recent studies estimate that anywhere from 25% to upwards of […] More
Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2021 Report found that European countries were remarkably resilient to the effects of the pandemic in 2020, but their longer-term track record of employee engagement still raised significant concern. European employees are among the least engaged in the world. However, while the scale of the issue is continental, the solution could be relatively straightforward.
Flatlining employee engagement
While there is considerable variation in the level of employee engagement from country to country, Europe as a whole has experienced a long-term stagnation in its engagement levels. Less than 20% of the continent’s workforce is engaged by their daily experience of work, and the situation has failed to improve for some time.
Europe’s flatlining engagement looks even starker in light of the slow but steady increase in engagement levels across the globe: 20% in 2020 compared to 12% in 2009. In the US, for example, engagement has risen from 28% to 36% since the turn of the century. Compare this to Germany, for instance, where engagement has remained rooted to the level it was at in 2001 (see below), and it is clear that even Europe’s economic powerhouse has been caught in the doldrums.
What makes an engaged employee?
Employee engagement is about more than just satisfaction, though that is obviously a key component. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace Report measures engagement using 12 metrics, each of which has a proven link to performance outcomes. Engaged employees know, for example, what is expected of them at work and how their day-to-day activities contribute to the purpose of their organization.
Organizations which perform well against these emotional workplace needs are more likely to enjoy positive outcomes, such as high retention rates among staff as well as increased productivity and profitability. Moreover, employee engagement becomes an even stronger predictor of organizational performance during difficult economic periods – an extremely important finding as the impact of the pandemic continues to be felt throughout the global economy.
Engagement also has strong links with workers’ wellbeing. This may not be surprising; people who feel more heard at work, praised and appreciated for their contributions, or feel that they are playing to their strengths tend to feel better about their lives overall. On the other hand, the majority of actively disengaged employees in Europe reported feeling stressed during the previous working day. As organizations gain a greater appreciation of the need to support workers’ mental and physical health in the wake of the pandemic, recognizing this link between engagement and wellbeing could be crucial for improving the employee experience.
Raising the bar
Despite a decade of stagnation, Europe’s comparatively low engagement levels are by no means doomed to continue. Returning to Germany, when Gallup asked employees whether they would continue working even if they inherited enough money to live comfortably without doing so, 74% said they would still work. Some signs are promising, therefore, that European engagement can rise again.
A simple solution is for organizations to look at the success stories and try to emulate what goes on there. Gallup’s research has found that employees have the same basic emotional needs across the globe, so European workers should close the gap on their extra-European counterparts once employers commit to fulfilling these needs. Indeed, organizations working with Gallup in which engagement is a strategic area of focus achieved engagement scores of 44%, as compared to the European average of 16% – showing that improvement is possible.
European organizations, therefore, need to recognize that employees want more from their jobs than just a paycheque. A sense of purpose and development is equally important.
Ensuring that organizations meet the needs of their employees is the responsibility of the leadership team. Analyzing organizations that have driven engagement levels up from below-average to 70% or more, the commitment of leaders to long-term change is consistently the decisive factor.
Accounting for 70% of the variance in engagement levels, the manager is the single greatest influence on employee engagement. Organizations should therefore concentrate attention and resources on providing more comprehensive management training, which will equip managers to effectively deliver on the emotional workplace needs of their employees.
Moreover, while 97% of managers feel that they do a good job of managing their teams, more than two-thirds of employees report the direct experience of bad management in their careers. This, of course, does not add up – and organizational performance is suffering as a result of this managerial blind spot.
When it comes to improving employee engagement, therefore, European companies have to start from the top. Investing more in the quality of leadership is by far the most effective way to improve engagement levels, which in turn will impact positively on performance. What may at first seem like an intangible concept of ‘engagement’, is actually very quantifiable and, more importantly, incredibly valuable to European organizations.
By: Pa Sinyan, Managing Partner for Europe, Gallup; & Marco Nink, Regional Lead in Research and Analytics, EMEA, Gallup.
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If you’re like most businesses, you’re struggling to fill jobs. While there are factors outside your control that are no doubt contributing to this — we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic, after all — there are some levers you can pull to improve and accelerate the hiring process. Hiring talent becomes exceptionally […] More
What makes your campaigns instantly recognizable as belonging to your brand? When your employees talk about your brand online (and they do), do you know how and where?
These are the questions Kirsten Bethmann has been asking as Global Employer Reputation Lead for Mars, Incorporated. Mars has set an inspiring goal for itself: to become one of the most attractive employers in the world by 2025. Achieving this goal, Bethmann believes, requires a renewed focus on brand consistency.
The journey toward greater employer brand consistency supports greater brand awareness—often the biggest ongoing talent challenge organizations face. Unless you’re a beloved consumer brand with widespread name recognition, your employer brand team is likely all too familiar with this struggle.
Establishing a Shared Vision
A clear employee value proposition is the cornerstone of a consistent employer brand. For Mars, that EVP is built on three pillars: people, purpose, and development. The employer brand team took this EVP development a step further by adapting the Mars statement of purpose (“The world we want tomorrow starts with how you do business today”) into a tagline: “Your tomorrow starts today,” which personalizes and transforms the Mars mission into a call to action for its employees.
Standardizing Brand Guidelines
Companies that operate in multiple markets must walk a fine line between enforcing brand guidelines and empowering markets to represent themselves authentically. Mars began this work by creating a central platform for its guidelines, a “one-stop-shop” for learning how to use color, messaging, and more.
Leaving Room for Personalization
Within these brand guidelines, employer brand teams in each of Mars’ markets have the flexibility to make campaigns their own. Brand guidelines dictate certain standards for social media messaging, but Mars’ employer brand leaders recognize that messaging from sales employees may sound different from engineering’s messaging. Bethmann and her team welcome those differences.
To follow Kirsten Bethmann’s work in employer brand, connect with her on LinkedIn. For help building your EVP, the foundation of your employer brand, get in touch with us.
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Some employer brand leaders know how difficult it can be to unify an entire brand under one employer value proposition. That’s the challenge LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group (RSG) faced in 2020.
Under the leadership of Director for Employer Brand Shelley Jeffcoat, LexisNexis RSG launched an EVP that served each of its eight brands while helping them distinguish themselves as employers.
Get Brand-Specific as Early as Possible
As early as the research stage, Jeffcoat’s team was organizing data by brand. With help from an external research firm, LexisNexis RSG explored each brand’s target candidates and demographics, its competitors, its functions, and more.
Then, when moving from the research stage to the analytics stage, Jeffcoat tagged her colleagues in marketing. Together, they created a unique tagline for each brand that echoed the overarching LexisNexis RSG EVP (“Explore more”) while painting a more specific picture of the individual brand (“Explore our passion for discovery”).
Think Bigger Than Promotion
The choice to equip each LexisNexis RSG sub-brand with its own EVP wasn’t simply marketing cleverness. Getting specific made the company more competitive as an employer and continues to impact the employee journey as well.
In creating these flexible EVPs, “we’re defining our values and culture in a way that’s much easier for our candidates and employees to articulate,” Jeffcoat says. “This improves our competitive advantage as an employer.”
Invest in Your Employee Advocates
To generate internal momentum around brand advocacy, Jeffcoat knew she’d need to find employee advocates. She started her search with the talent acquisition team (a natural choice, as they were already skilled and experienced at representing the business to the public). But because of the company’s unique structure, Jeffcoat knew she couldn’t stop there; she’d need to pull in stakeholders from every brand and balance each brand’s representation.
In an organization that houses so many brands and employs thousands, the best strategy is to “consult and empower,” than surrender control. In Jeffcoat’s words, “Trust the process!”
To follow Shelley Jeffcoat’s work in employer brand, connect with her on LinkedIn. To identify the values and culture you want to create in your own company, get in touch.
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To see how business leaders across the country are driving impactful DEI efforts, we launched the Ally Series on our Talk Talent to Me podcast. In these episodes, host Rob Stevenson sits down with talent leaders from Match Group, Niantic, Tech Can [Do] Better, Frame.io, Hired, Capital One, and Leaf Group—learning what each company has […] More
Hidden biases are everywhere—the hiring world being no exception. As humans, we’re not always capable of recognizing our prejudices in the moment. Fortunately, modern technology is here to fill in that gap: empowering teams to build more equitable talent pipelines and pave pathways for previously overlooked talent. At Hired, we envision a world where all […] More