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Flexibility, Teamwork, Empowerment – Key Drivers of Employee Engagement Revealed
Latest employee satisfaction benchmarking data – from December 2017-January 2018 – highlights that employees across multiple industries crave empowerment and value flexibility and teamwork.
Results from TTi Global's UK Employee Benchmark Survey show that over a third of employees working across a range of sectors have identified 'flexibility in their role' as the number one driver of employee engagement, out of a range of engagement factors. 'Understanding what is required of you' (36%) and 'working closely with your immediate team' (34%) followed closely behind. The lowest scoring factor was 'being encouraged to take on new challenges' (19%).
These new statistics suggest that offering employees fresh tasks and growth opportunities should be less of a priority for employers, while job flexibility – giving employees an element of choice about working hours, offering work from home options and flexible start/finish times – was identified as a crucial deal-breaker for employee engagement and satisfaction.
Empowering the Telecommunications Sector
TTi's latest benchmarking survey breaks down the engagement attributes employees value the most, according to the industry they work in. 'Flexibility in the role' came out on top across employees in the Banking, Hotel, Online Retail, and Leisure sectors. For employees in the Utilities, Retail and Public sectors, 'understanding what is required from you' was the highest priority.
Respondents across all sectors awarded the engagement factor they deemed most important a score of between 40-50% - with the exception of the Telecommunications sector. This sector gave their highest scoring engagement factor, 'being empowered to make decisions' a score of 62%. The high value placed on empowerment by employees in this sector is, perhaps, reflective of a pressured, and highly competitive, industry, as communication touchpoints such as social media, have begun to dilute demand for traditional phone and messaging services.
The development of an empowered workforce, which encourages staff to freely make decisions about their working conditions, and how they define and handle their role responsibilities, is something for companies to strive for, due to its direct link to positive outcomes – increased collaboration and higher productivity. Staff who aren't empowered, or who feel micro-managed, are increasingly likely to be disengaged in their role, and are less likely to be engaged in their work, or motivated to add value to company initiatives.
< TTi's survey results reveal that, using a scale of 1-10 (where 10 equals high engagement and 1 equals low engagement), Utilities employees are the least engaged in their job role – with a score of 7 – compared to employees working in Insurance (9.7) and Retail (8).
Employee Satisfaction Vs Employee Engagement
These two measures are often used interchangeably. However, there is a significant difference. Employee Satisfaction relates to how content an individual is with their role, their colleagues, and with the workplace and company agenda. A satisfied employee may attend every day and perform their role to the best of their ability, but this gives no indication that the employee is necessarily 'engaged'.
Employee Engagement goes beyond job satisfaction and relates to how enthused and emotionally invested a person is in the company, its values, and their role within it. Engaged employees will often take positive action to further the company's objectives and reputation – they are an active advocate for the organisation. Therefore, organisations measuring employee satisfaction alone, are only gaining half of the real picture. An essential element of TTi Global's Employee Benchmark Survey is that it captures and correlates both satisfaction and engagement measures.
These latest results show that satisfaction and engagement are closely linked in value – where satisfaction is high, engagement usually follows. From this data, we saw that the Insurance sector demonstrated the highest rates of employee satisfaction and employee engagement, while Utilities came out at the bottom. For any organisation wanting to realise the value of a satisfiedandengaged workforce, the crucial first step is investing in, and encouraging, employees.
The Generation Gap
Survey results also highlighted a disparity in engagement between younger and older employees. Using the 1 to 10 scale, 16 to 24-year-old employees consistently demonstrated the lowest overall engagement levels, scoring 7.89. This was followed by 25 to 34-year-olds, with 7.97. The highest levels of engagement were found to be in the 55 to 64 age group, with an engagement score of 8.45.
As stated above, engaged employees are considered more enthusiastic, more absorbed in both their work, and the company they work for. This is desireable for many reasons, from increased productivity – engaged employees are more willing to go the extra mile to achieve the best result for the company – to increased profits, due to a more energised and customer-focused team.
How to Improve Employee Engagement
Many strategies are available to guide companies in increasing staff engagement, but the only way to begin a true, tangible company shift is to introduce an independent employee research and analysis programme - such as TTi Global's standard-setting Employee Engagement Quality Analysis (EEQA) framework.
This approach boasts several advantages, from providing a benchmark to gauge current feeling among employees, and to compare future results to, to signalling to staff that an organisation is committed to increasing satisfaction and engagement by seeking and valuing their opinion.
Other benefits focused employee engagement research provides include:
- Accurate insight to employees’ satisfaction and engagement drivers, enabling managers to pinpoint and remedy root causes of employee dissatisfaction and disengagement
- Identification of employees’ individual and group needs and requirements
- Understanding of employees’ expectations and level of importance across all areas and functions, including staff’s individual roles and responsibilities, perception of managers and leaders and the workplace environment
- Identification of future factors which will become more important to staff and what tips them over to becoming ‘actively disengaged’ or leave the company
- Knowledge of what company initiatives employees are satisfied with , areas to improve and what they can do less of, increasing cost savings
- Clear identification of practical and strategic actions to improve employee satisfaction and engagement helping to increase employee retention and loyalty.
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- How your sector compares to others
- Breakdown by age and gender
- The top drivers of employee satisfaction in your sector
TTi Global Research is an industry leading provider of business employee research and employee surveys, providing the analysis and tools organisations need to drive positive change.
For further information about TTi Global’s employee benchmarking data or to commission your own employee satisfaction and engagement research, contact us.