The need to engage getting ever more critical
The need to engage today's workforce escalates as a 2014 priority for companies according to results of the second annual Workplace Trends Poll conducted by the International Association of Business Communicators and measurement partner Dulye & Co.
The poll, completed by 108 communication professionals in large and small organizations across diverse industries, ranks employee engagement as the Number One challenge in the workplace and shows an easing in concerns about economic uncertainty.
However, it appears that executives in the corner office have a different priority in mind.
When asked to identify what company executives see as the top workplace challenge, poll respondents answered business development. In fact, engagement failed to register among the top five challenges that communicators see consuming leaders.
And that's cause for concern says Linda Dulye, president and founder of consulting trailblazer Dulye & Co., based in Warwick, NY. "Employee engagement should be front and center for guiding executive discussions and decisions about business strategies. Employees running on empty on the engagement meter are a drag on an organization's productivity, morale and retention. Employees will feel apart from, rather than a part of, their company."
Dulye presented results of the 2013 research at the IABC Heritage Region Conference in Indianapolis.
"Recognizing the value and importance of employee engagement is just the first step. Engagement has been stagnant for a decade-plus. This is a signal that communicators need to step up and become true catalysts for change." said Chuck Gose VP employee communication s RMG Networks
The research uncovered these results:
While professional communicators ranked employee engagement as their leading business objective for two straight years, the response grew by 6% for 2014. At the same time, the challenge of economic uncertainty fell by 12% while customer satisfaction rose by 15% compared to 2013 results.
Business development repeated as the top challenge that communicators see consuming their company's executives with a 48% rating. Priming the product/service pipeline climbed to second with 37% rating, replacing economic uncertainty which dropped by 11% and tied customer satisfaction ratings. For the second consecutive year, engagement fell short of the top five ratings.
No bounce back in communication resources is expected for 2014. Staffing and budget levels, which were pinched by the 2012 recession, are forecasted to remain at current levels,
"The results paint a picture of an improving economy and a realization by communication professionals that two key groups – employees and customers – will require particular focus in 2014," notes Gary Spondike, an executive with the IABC's Heritage Region.
"Communication is not a function. It is something that we have to do in order to engage the hearts and minds of our employees. Employee engagement is something that we feel. If we believe in our employees, in their talent, hard work and achievements, they will feel it and give back – with their hearts and minds.
In today's competitive environment, business leaders should consider communication their responsibility. Leaders must help employees understand how they can contribute to company's goal of achieving premier performance. It's about winning today, every month, and every year."
A full report of the 2014 Workplace Trends Poll is available at http://dulye.com/2013IABCHeritageRegion/.