Employee Engagement Top Priority for Employers

by: Nichole Gunn April 22, 2011

Employee engagement and employee retention are two factors that business owners are looking at seriously, especially now that U. S. employment rates are on the rise. With the job market improving, employees may be deciding to spread their wings and move on to greener pastures.

Creating a work environment that fosters employee loyalty is the strategy businesses need to focus on right now. A new study conducted by Unum (an employee benefits provider) and Harvard Business Review Analytic Services demonstrates the importance employers are putting in finding strategies to enhance employee engagement.

According to the survey, close to 45 percent of the 400 HR decision-maker respondents feel that keeping employees engaged and satisfied will be their number one challenge for 2011. Almost eighty percent anticipate that challenge to increase significantly over the next few years.

Along with these findings, the study noted that businesses are also focusing on enhancing corporate culture. Employers are realizing strong company values and “employee fulfillment” are key factors in engagement practices that help foster employee satisfaction and loyalty.

In fact, corporate values and ‘incentives for employee fulfillment’ are the most significant element in luring in new talent and engaging workers. In addition, the survey revealed that companies need to show genuine concern for employee well-being, doing so is twice as “important in attracting and retaining staff as providing a high base salary.” The survey also showed that corporate transparency is a tool that has become a stronger ‘attracting and retaining’ factor than a higher starting salary and job security.

Senior vice president for Unum Mike Simonds explained, "Human resources leaders are looking for answers to questions about benefits cost predictability, employee engagement and simple administration. We appreciate the challenging but critical part employers play as providers of benefits access, education and guidance."

Also moving in the employee engagement direction, the Memphis Flyer reports that Memphis City launched an innovative “employee suggestion program.” The program is designed to motivate and engage employees by making them involved in the city’s processes. This type of incentive fosters a feeling of inclusion and appreciation.

The program’s bill, initiated last year by city councilman Kemp Conrad, was passed in early March 2011 and allows for full-time, as well as temp employees to offer ideas. To enhance the ‘employee input’ emphasis, department heads and elected officials are excluded from the process.

Conrad told the paper that “the best ideas to improve city government live with the people closest to the work being done. I hope this plan inspires employees and provides them with meaningful rewards for making creative suggestions."


About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.