31% of employers in Western Europe say it’s difficult to measure the ROI of engagement on the wider business, and 30% say boardroom decision-makers cannot easily understand its impact
68% of employers in Western Europe still rely on traditional annual staff surveys to measure engagement
LONDON, Jan. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Oracle has today released findings from the second phase of its Western European study focused on understanding employee engagement, which reveals that there is an opportunity for HR teams to take ownership of engagement in the boardroom, and demonstrate the value of a more engaged workforce to decision-makers.
The employer viewpoint results of the Oracle Simply Talent 2: A Western European Perspective study, which set out to understand the drivers and benefits of employee engagement in Europe, polled 250 HR decision makers working for large Western European businesses.
Findings from the survey reveal 93% of employers acknowledge employee engagement is strategically important to their company. A majority say it positively impacts collaboration between teams 65%), helps boost business performance (61%), and contributes to improved customer service (60%).
However, the survey results also reveal current processes are not optimised to drive engagement. Sixty-eight per cent (68%) of businesses still rely on standard staff surveys to gauge engagement levels, with only 37% using advanced analytics to measure engagement.
Consequently, 31% of employers say they find it difficult to measure the direct impact of engagement on the wider business and nearly the same proportion (30%) admit this makes it difficult to quantify the above benefits for company decision-makers.
Despite their crucial role in gauging and analyzing employee engagement, HR teams are not currently seen as a major driver of engagement for businesses. When asked who in the business has the greatest impact on employee engagement, only 10% of employers said HR, compared with 34% who said line managers and 28% who said the senior leadership team.
This also echoes the comparatively low profile HR has with employees, which was brought to light by the first phase of Oracle’s Simply Talent: A Western European Perspective study, which surveyed 1,500 employees working for large Western European businesses. Of those employees polled, only 3% said HR has the most positive impact on engagement
Loïc Le Guisquet, President for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific regions commented: “Employees are the front line, the public face, the tangible personification of what a business represents. Therefore being able to understand, and more importantly improve employee engagement becomes an absolute priority for any of today’s successful leaders.
“A more rigorous engagement strategy has become indispensable, and HR has a vital role to play in helping organizations make the transition. Modern HR teams have access to data-based tools allowing them to effectively measure employee engagement, and just as crucially to quantify its impact on the business for the decision-makers in the boardroom. In this way HR will find itself at the centre of the business, driving engagement strategies that best serve the organization’s growth ambitions.”
Combining Oracle’s latest findings with those from the employee viewpoint phase the research reveals that despite employers saying line management has the greatest role in driving engagement, employees still say poor communication from managers is the most frequent reason for them feeling less engaged at work.
An overwhelming 90% percent of employers agree strong leadership is effective in boosting employee productivity, with 34% saying line management has the greatest role in driving employee engagement, more than any other department in the business.
This appreciation for line management excellence is echoed by employees. Nearly one-third single out good line management as making them feel more engaged at work, and 41% say poor communication from managers is the single most frequent reason for them feeling less engaged. Despite this, only 13% of employers consider a focus on line management excellence is most important to making employees feel engaged at work.
Encouragingly, there are multiple areas where employer priorities do align with those of employees.
- Fifty-eight percent (58%) of employers agree recognising the excellence of individual employees has a strong positive impact on engagement, a belief shared by 53% of employees
- Fifty-two percent (52%) of employers believe embracing teamwork and collaboration positively impacts engagement, as do 53% of employees
- 54% of employers say a good work/life balance makes workers feel more engaged, and 50% of employees agree
Le Guisquet said: “These findings suggest that while everyone agrees that line managers are responsible for creating high levels of employee engagement, and that good communication is an essential element of this, businesses have not developed their management functions accordingly. Given the changing world of work and the increasing demands of millennials it is essential that HR helps create a culture of engagement within the organization, centered on line managers as the key agents of change.”
When it comes to the latest digital and mobile technologies, HR tools, and social media platforms, Oracle’s findings indicate only a minority of employers view these as direct contributors to improved engagement.
Employers certainly place stock in the practices that these technologies enable. For example, 48% of employers say a healthy, safe and comfortable working environment improves employee performance, 45% credit flexible working hours, and 48% chalk this up to offering training and development to employees – all areas that can be enhanced with mobile and social tools.
And yet, only 15% of employers say using the latest digital and mobile technology is most important to driving employee engagement, while only 3% say enabling employees to use social platforms at work is most important.
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For this research Oracle partnered with Opinium Research to survey 1,511 individuals from large enterprises based around Western Europe, with respondents coming from countries including the UK, France, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands.
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