What is sustainable engagement?
Employees value meaningful work over any other retention initiatives and the best career option for a staff member amid the current economic scenario is developing their skills with their current employer, says a survey. According to Talent Edge 2020, a survey series conducted for Deloitte Consulting LLP by Forbes Insights, meaningful work holds more importance for an employee than any other retention initiative being adopted by their respective companies.
In a separate survey, findings suggest that development opportunities play a crucial role in staff retention. More than 500 people from 33 countries responded to a recent survey conducted by assessment and development consultancy Cubiks, which asked respondents about their opinions on development and talent management. Their responses demonstrated that employees valued development opportunities offered by employers.
Better yet, a new study, Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study, concludes that the traditional definition of engagement — the willingness to invest discretionary effort on the job — is no longer sufficient to fuel top performance in a world of relentlessly increasing demand. What's required now is something called "sustainable engagement." The key factor, according to the post, New Research: How Employee Engagement Hits the Bottom Line , is a work environment that more fully energizes employees by promoting their physical, emotional and social well-being.
For instance, this report found that companies with low engagement scores had an average operating margin just under 10 percent. Those with high traditional engagement had a slightly higher margin of 14 percent. Companies with the highest "sustainable engagement" scores had an average one-year operating margin of 27 percent. What's the secret ingredient? The study concludes that organizations must create policies and practices that make it possible for employees to better manage their workload, live more balanced lives and exercise greater autonomy around how, when, and where they get their work done.
So what does this have to do with sustainability? Today’s companies and entrepreneurs are presented with the unique opportunity to increase profitability through greater eco awareness and the pursuit of a more sustainable business. To gain and maintain a competitive advantage over the competition, sustainable business leaders are making meaningful work a top priority. Top qualities of a sustainable business leader pave the way for aligning company visions and strategies through shared values with employees. Considering the community, stakeholders, and specifically, employee engagement are all part of a sustainable business culture, how might these concepts executed contribute to both employers and employees co-creating happier and more productive workplaces? Four posts provide insights:
• Community: Business and Community: A Growing Love Affair
• Work life balance: Business Sustainability: Bringing New Meaning to Life/Work Balance
• Meaningful work: Whose Job is it Anyway?
• Job satisfaction: Cultivating Talent with Sustainability-Based Incentives
Employee engagement matters. The key is in value alignment.
Julie Urlaub is the founder and managing partner of Taiga Company, a sustainability social media consulting firm, where she aids clients to powerfully engage in sustainability-related issues and stakeholder communications in the social space.
Leveraging 15 years of business development and communications expertise in the energy, medical and IT industries, she now consults, blogs, tweets and advises clients on a variety of issues related to the intersection between environmental stewardship, sustainable business practices, and the bottom-line benefits of sustainability strategies.
Leading by example, with over 25,000 Twitter followers and a blog with global reach, she works with companies to maximize sustainability strategies and to communicate how their sustainability strategies are making a difference in their business and in our world. Not only does Julie walk the talk, she rides it, too, as an endurance mountain bike racer.
image: Mike Fung via Flickr cc (some rights reserved)