Whether a company brings out the best in its workers depends on the health of the organization’s engagement ecosystem, including the value proposition companies offer current and prospective employees, according to a report released by The Engagement Institute, a joint venture of The Conference Board, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Mercer I Sirota, ROI Institute, and The Culture Works.

The report, “The DNA of Engagement: Moments That Matter Throughout the Employee Life Cycle,” was released on March 1. The authors used data from surveys, focus groups, and interviews to examine the interconnected factors that attract employees to organizations, keep them engaged, and encourage them to stay. Researchers also looked at the critical moments that affect the employee experience at work, and recommended strategies that organizations can implement to attract, retain, and engage employees.

According to the report, the most critical components that shape an organization’s engagement ecosystem is the employee value proposition, or the tangible and intangible deal that organizations provide in exchange for employee effort, commitment, and performance. The authors pointed out that the employee value proposition is a product not only of the explicit statements made by employees and actions by the organization, but of the implicit assumptions and observations employees make over time.

Researchers emphasized that individual employees have their own “personal ecosystem” that changes over the course of their career, and that is shaped by numerous moments they experience. The authors observed that when faced with critical moments in an employee’s life cycle that may affect his or her level of engagement, key stakeholders, including the employee’s managers, and coworkers, may struggle to respond adequately, and to ensure that the employee’s experience remains positive.

The report recommended that organizations take three key actions to strengthen overall employee engagement. First, researchers encouraged employers to promote an employee value proposition using empathy in the workplace. Specifically, they advised organizations to design and implement programs that support employees in how and where work gets done, prepare leaders to respond to employee concerns with an authentic tone of support and solidarity, and support supervisors who support employees in difficult circumstances by showing sensitivity to their workload.

Second, the study’s authors advised organizations to provide programs to assist employees at every stage of the career life cycle. They encouraged organizations to engage individuals from the start of their career to retirement by providing robust onboarding programs for new employees, training and development for junior-level employees, and processes to enable later-stage employees to connect with leaders and voice their concerns. They added that employers can make all employees feel valued by offering them training in newer technologies and other skills.

Third, researchers recommended that employers prepare for and seize upon “the unscripted moments.” The study’s authors observed, organizations can shape a favorable experience by ensuring that leaders are approachable, show heightened awareness during daily interactions, and demonstrate behaviors that build trust.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 61, Issue 4

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