Employee engagement is not just a feel-good factor: Bob Bergman
Businesses where leaders are committed to effective leadership behaviors and employee engagement have the most effective employee engagement programs
Leaders are central to building an environment where managers and employees can flourish
The positive correlation between shareholder return and employee engagement in global organizations requires an urgent revisit to their people strategy.
Dr. Bob Bergman speaks to People Matters on why employee engagement is more than a mere feel-good factor
Is it employee engagement that defines leadership effectiveness, or is it leadership effectiveness that results in employee engagement?
Leadership effectiveness is central to building and maintaining employee engagement and this involves leadership at all levels of the business, from line managers to the CEO. All levels of leadership have a role in ensuring workplaces and businesses have highly engaged workforces. However, senior leadership is central to creating environments where engagement can be delivered and experienced throughout the business. Without senior leadership effectiveness, engagement may be experienced in pockets of the business driven by local leaders and managers but will not be core to the business as a whole. Those businesses where leaders are most committed to effective leadership behaviors and employee engagement have the most effective employee engagement programs.
What does employee engagement mean across different cultures? In a global context, how can leadership choose between a centralized vs. localized approach to people strategy?
Engagement is a valid construct in most cultures that we have surveyed, although it should be noted that engagement scores do vary widely by country and region which is the reason that we focus attention on the quality of the external norms database so that different geographies within our client companies can compare their scores with local benchmarks. Both centralized vs. localized approach to engagement are important. The centralized approach is essential to ensure that employees have a commonality of experience as regards major company initiatives. Employees working in a company should not feel that they are part of a lottery when it comes to engagement action, the centralized approach is essential to ensure that this does not happen. However, the local approach is essential to ensure that local issues are addressed and that initiatives are designed to meet the needs of particular workplaces.
Can you share some data on the growing relationship between employee engagement and business performance? How can one measure employee engagement effectiveness and its correlation with business performance?
Engagement and performance excellence have strong links to organizational performance. The adjoining graph reflects the relationship between employee engagement and total shareholder return, and between engagement and performance excellence and diluted earnings per share.
What is a leader’s role in enabling employee engagement for enhancing managerial effectiveness?
Leaders enable managers, who in turn enable employee engagement. Leaders are central to building an environment where managers and employees can flourish. Leadership and management, together pave the way for organizational success. Vision cannot be realized without the dogged pursuit of goals and the aligned actions of employees.
What critical factors must a leader address to ensure people are engaged? How is this different across cultures?
When leaders are effective, employee engagement is higher. We measure leadership effectiveness by assessing the degree to which employees feel that their leaders are giving a clear vision of the future of the company, their confidence in the ability of their leaders, the degree to which they feel that leaders recognize the role of the employee in the success of the company, that leaders are committed to providing high quality products and services to customers, and the degree to which they have confidence in the senior leadership. Businesses where the answers to the above questions are positive have a more engaged workforce than those where answers are negative or neutral.
What is the role of the CEO and the HR team?
Both are central to building a successful company that performs well for its employees, customers and shareholders.
LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT IS DEFINED BY:
Degree to which employees feel that their leaders are giving a clear vision of the company
Degree of confidence in the ability of their leaders
Degree to which they feel that leaders recognize the employees’ role of the employee in the success of the company
Degree of leaders commitment to providing high quality products and services
Degree of confidence in the senior leadership
Dr. Bob Bergman, Ph.D, serves as a Consulting Director for Kenexa’s Global Survey Practice in EMEA. Dr. Bergman has over 15 years of experience in survey research, including multi-rater and employee engagement surveys, customer research and linkage research. Dr. Bergman holds Doctorate and Master of Science degrees in Quantitative and Qualitative Psychometric Measurement from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Nebraska Wesleyan University.