Best Employers have been able to unlock the mantra of business and HR alignment by distributing the responsibility of driving employee engagement between leaders, HR and people managers
Aon Hewitt’s 12 years of Best Employers studies in Asia supports the striking evidence: Having a high level of Employee Engagement, a compelling Employer Brand, Effective Leadership and a High Performance Culture translates into a committed and productive workforce that delivers strong business results.
Defining a ‘Best Employer’
Best Employer can be a fuzzy term unless defined clearly with measureable parameters. At Aon Hewitt, it is defined on four dimensions: Having a high level of Employee Engagement, a compelling Employer Brand, Effective Leadership and a High Performance Culture. Each dimension has a set of questions to employees. Additionally, the independent jury considers business alignment and HR effectiveness to identify an organization as a Best Employer.
About the study
Best Employers 2.0 - India 2013 Study captured 74,100 employee responses, representing the opinions of over 360,000 employees in all, more than 80 HR and business leaders, across 22 industries. As a part of the study, we collected data from 3 distinct perspectives (employees, strategy and people practices): this data was then analyzed, and played back in a “masked” format to a jury. Alignment between employee opinion, CEO perception and HR viewpoint on the four study dimensions was used as a litmus test by the jury to identify the Best Employers.
Shackled by uncertainty and slow growth, organizations across the board struggled to sustain employee engagement in 2013 as only limited career opportunities were on offer to employees. In these times, employees feel a sense of pride in being part of a respected workplace. HR leaders have, therefore, invested in articulating their employer brand. However, promises to employees are easier made than kept, as shown in the low credibility scores.
Today, organizations are working towards a turnaround: Effective Leadership and High Performance Culture will prove to be at the core of these efforts. With few opportunities for advancement, Best Employers are sharply differentiating rewards for top performers. More so, leaders in Best Employers are spending significant time to articulate a future vision and creating strategic traction in the organization.
Organizations in India have struggled to maintain employee engagement levels in trying economic times. Engagement scores across Indian organizations have remained at 65 per cent in 2013, same as in 2011. Aon Hewitt’s model measures employee engagement on three key behaviors - Say, Stay and Strive. Engaged employees speak well of the organization, within and outside; display a willingness and intention to stay with the company; and go the extra mile to help the organization achieve its objective and fulfill its vision.
The Best Employers 2.0 – India 2013 Study evaluated employee satisfaction on 21 engagement drivers, which directly impact employee engagement. Lowest satisfaction scores were observed for Recognition, Pay and Career Opportunities; indicating employees’ continuous hunger for growth, which are also the areas where Best Employers scored much higher than the India average.
Highest scores were noticed on Health & Well-Being, CSR and Co-workers, representing employees’ growing preference for work-life balance and participation in broader social initiatives. Interestingly, difference between Best and India average was lowest on these, which indicates while all organizations have caught up on “hygiene” factors, Best Employers continue to anticipate and respond faster to their employees’ needs.
Pride, Learning and Empowerment continue to be the most frequently used themes, which organizations are including in their employer brands. A consistent and compelling employer brand is built on reputation, pride and credibility. Gone are the days when the employer brand was considered a good thing to have; today more than 80 per cent of organizations have a defined employer brand. However, organizations are failing to consistently deliver on their employee promise. A major reason for this is the lack of alignment between CEO and HR, with almost 80 per cent disagreeing on what constitutes the employee offer for their respective organizations.
High Potential identification emerges as a big priority for India Inc., with almost 90% of organizations having a formal identification process. Best Employers effectively use leaders as a fulcrum to drive business alignment and boost employee engagement. A key to creating alignment beyond the boardroom is People Focus. Reaching out to employees helps leaders understand the key expectations and concerns in this economic scenario. It also reinforces the fact that employees remain the most valuable asset, even though growth might have temporarily slowed down.
High Performance Culture
Managers in Best Employers have been able to inspire, enable and support teams to maximize performance far more effectively than other organizations. High Performance Culture is the need of the hour, with pressure today both on revenue expansion and cost saving. Organizations hoping to turnaround business results will need to sharply focus on this aspect. The Best Employers research highlights that manager effectiveness is critical to driving a high performance culture.
What are the Best Employers doing differently?
Best Employers score at least 10 percentage points higher than the India average on the four study dimensions.
How do they achieve this? The answer lies in the priorities and choices of the organizations, and their HR leaders. Best Employers choose to prioritize certain performance parameters for themselves and then work on executing them well.
And the results show -
- HR defines metrics that measure business impact of HR programs
- Best Employers – 82 per cent
- Participant Average – 68 per cent
- Employees are confident that appropriate actions will be taken as a result of their inputs for the Best Employers study
- Best Employers – 81 per cent
- Participant Average – 73 per cent
Over the last 12 years, action areas and employee priorities have changed. Yet, Best Employers through these years have been able to prioritize the action items effectively. Alignment of HR with business defines purpose. Only when organizations connect the dots, starting from alignment, to purpose, and finally to action, do they excel on all four themes, and get started on the journey to becoming a Best Employer.