Welcome to the modern workforce

The Corporate Leadership Council studied the engagement level of 50,000 employees around the world to determine the direct impact of employee engagement on both performance and retention.

The results showed that companies with high employee engagement levels were able to grow profits three times faster than their competitors. Highly engaged employees also proved 87 percent more likely to stay with the organisation.

Yet, very few organisations are doing a good job at managing employee engagement. The fact is, says Gallup, only 15 percent of employees worldwide are engaged at their jobs. Moreover, the lack of employee engagement seems to have little relation to quality of life. We see this reflected in both Europe and ANZ, where people have relatively high ‘life happiness’ scores and but very low employee engagement scores.

If employee engagement yields such strong payback, why are so few organisations doing it well? Aside from the globalization of product and labour markets, Gallup calls out three specific factors that can explain low employee engagement scores:

  • The rise of the gig economy

  • Younger workers’ unique expectations

  • Organisations’ slow adoption of relevant information technology

So much of the modern workforce is made up of millennials and younger workers, many of whom are characterized as ‘gig economy workers’ or ‘casual workers.’ Managing employee engagement in this group can be challenging. Increasingly complex socioeconomic and political models have led to this increase and covers a number of skilled and unskilled labour, a range of different demographically different identities and organizational types. These people have become accustomed to blending technology into practically every aspect of their lives – travel, work, dating, dinner delivery, and more. The underlying goal behind all this technology usage is convenience, fun and engagement with others.

Gig economy workers tend to draw few lines between the various aspects of their lives. The way they behave, interact with others and use technology is a constant. As such, they expect employers to deliver on that lifestyle – leveraging the same underlying technologies that people use in their personal lives.

The fact is, employers are failing to deliver on these expectations of casual workers, and so employee engagement levels remain appallingly low.

For those few employers who apply technology to make casual workers’ work life easier and more aligned to their personal lives and values, workers become more engaged. Therefore, there is a strong correlation between the employee experience (EX) and their level of happiness. Since happy employees typically deliver a better customer experience (CX), one can clearly recognize how delivering strong EX equates to reaching employers’ ultimate goal of a consistently strong CX.

To learn more about the modern workforce download the How Employee Engagement is Shaping Modern HR Management whitepaper.