Understanding the Engagement Marketplace
This week we are launching the results of more than a year of research in this area, our Employee Engagement research and tools. (Members can access all the research and tools through the BersinInsights® system, non-members can purchase the core research report here.)
What we found is that the Employee Engagement market is over a $1.5 billion in size, and more than half of this is spent on home-grown internal tools and programs. Our research identified more than 30 different vendors serving this market, and they provide widely ranging types of tools and solutions.
One interesting finding is that different vendors define the problem differently. Some consultants and vendors define engagement like "customer satisfaction" - how "happy" are your employees? If you want to figure this out, go to Glassdoor.com. There your employees are telling the whole world how happy they are!
Other vendors focus on business issues. One provider, for example, built its employee engagement tools around the problem of labor negotiations. When a retailer begins to find itself facing organized labor, it is often because employee feel mis-treated. So in these organizations (retail, hospitality, manufacturing), engagement is a critical strategy to prevent unionization, and the engagement program must focus on preventing this problem.
Other vendors focus on "real-time" engagement. How happy are our employees this month? This month vs. last month? By organization, manager, or location? This is valuable information you can use to diagnose management problems, alignment problems, compensation issues, or poor leadership and executive communications.
Engagement is a BigData Issue
Our research shows that employee engagement data can be extremely valuable if you use it well. Organizations with more advanced engagement programs correlate engagement data against many outcomes: turnover, performance, collaboration - and then they look at drivers of engagement from a statistical basis. One of our clients, a large retailer, has analyzed its US-wide engagement data for more than 7 years and now knows precisely what factors (compensation, training, job design) impact turnover and sales performance by store. You can learn more about this in our BigData in HR research.
Inputs -> Engagement -> Outcomes
You as an HR or business leaders have to think about how you will develop your own engagement strategy. Do you want to just run an annual "climate survey" and browbeat managers who deliver poor results? Or do you want to take a more scientific approach and diagnose the hundreds of factors which may contribute to low engagement and high turnover?
Bottom line: Engagement is a Bank Account
Bottom line: our research shows that employee engagement is not something you "measure," like blood pressure. Rather it is a "bank account" which you continuously build and invest in. Our definition of employee engagement is "that which creates discretionary effort." You can never get enough "discretionary" effort in your organization.
While nearly 70% of organizations measure engagement in some way, the vast majority are not at all clear what to do about it. Do you train managers better? Give higher raises? Improve benefits? Develop a work-life balance program? Or communicate values better?
As Brenda Kowske's research shows, the "equation" for engagement is complex. It involves clearly defining your organization's mission, developing a clear well-stated culture, and then hiring, managing, and leading around that culture. The right people in the wrong place (wrong company, wrong job) will be disengaged.
I remember in my own career periods of time when I was highly engaged and times I was very unengaged. The reasons had to do with my role, my manager, my "deal" with the company, and my own personal needs. Your job as an HR manager or business leader is to think about the whole equation, and develop tools and programs that help you to select the right people, move them around as needed, provide training and support, and encourage them to leave if necessary.
We are particularly proud of this new body of research, tools, and assessments. Download our market brief and join our membership program to learn how to build world-class engagement in your organization.
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Josh Bersin writes on the ever-changing landscape of business-driven learning, HR and talent management.
His favorite topics include strategic talent management, creating high-impact learning organizations,
and how organizations drive business change and competitive advantage through talent strategy and technology.
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