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Myths of Employee Engagement: Part 3

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Over the last couple days I posted some basic reactions to WorkUSA’s research on employee engagement. Today, I’d like to continue with some reactions to the rest of their “key findings.”

Engagement is a leading indicator of financial performance. Companies that increase their engagement levels can expect to significantly improve their subsequent financial performance. ((Watson Wyatt. 2006. “WorkUSA® 2006/2007: Debunking the Myths of Employee Engagement, Executive Summary.” Retrieved from on December 18, 2006.))

Actually this is not a new finding by anyone. I actually took the time to argue a couple months ago that it’s not any specific HR practice that leads to improved financial performance, but instead, great management that leads to HR being empowered to make changes in their workforce effectiveness. However, workforce effectiveness is not only a function of HR practices, but of many different areas of practice. For example, the combination of great management allows an organization to improve technology, HR practices, operations management, sales, all of which lead to improved financial performance, but each one individually may not.

Despite the conventional wisdom that immediate supervisors play a key role in driving retention and engagement, strong senior leaders who communicate effectively and frequently are a far more important factor. ((Ibid))

I already argued yesterday that neither the executive more the manager can be effective alone. It’s a collaborative environment that makes the communication effective.

Communication makes a positive difference in employee engagement. High-engagement employees receive communication from their supervisors and senior management far more frequently than low-engagement employees. ((Ibid))

This makes pretty good sense to me as well. It’s all about frequency, consistency, and the quality of the messaging.

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