Employee Engagement: What makes a company desirable to work for?
Employee engagement is essential in the workplace as it not only ensures the happiness of employees but has also been proven to increase productivity by 69% and decrease turnover by 14.9%. Its impact upon employee happiness contributes to a company’s success with recent research confirming that happy employees are:
- Twice as productive.
- Will stay five times as long in their jobs.
- Are six times more energized.
- Take 10 times less sick leave.
Worryingly though, the positive influence of employee engagement isn’t being felt in many businesses with a survey reporting that only 29% of employees are fully engaged, with 26% disengaged. However, a recent study by Glassdoor could suggest some areas to influence engagement. In their recent report outlining the ‘Best Places to Work for 2013’ Glassdoor have compiled the anonymous employee reviews submitted to their website to find out which company boosts the best workplace. Facebook came out on top with an impressive 4.7 out of 5, whilst McKinsey & Company came in a close second. But what can be learnt from their success?
The following word clouds are an assembly of the positive comments made by Facebook and McKinsey & Company employees. The words (and their size) reflect the number of times they have been used in these reviews. These clouds highlight key employee motivators and suggest areas that businesses could work on to improve their own employee engagement.
The following cloud reveals the words that Facebook employees most regularly attributed to their workplace through Glassdoor:
And this cloud illustrates how employees at McKinsey & Company reviewed their workplace:
Many parallels can be drawn between the word clouds and, alongside additional research by other organisations, some core employee motivators can be understood:
“Intellectually challenging, stimulating work”
This is how Facebook employees have described their workload. It’s what keeps them buzzing and stimulates their daily productivity. Research by online career community, CareerBliss, recently revealed the Top 50 Happiest Companies in the America. In relation to this, workplace psychologist, Bradley Brummel, said that “Employees in these companies have the freedom to use their knowledge, skills and abilities to solve interesting problems. This type of problem solving can be intrinsically motivating and leads to a happy workplace.”
“Being surrounded by great minds who always strive to better themselves”
A study carried out by the National Business Research Institute reveals a direct link between an employee’s relationship with their superior and engagement. Their findings show that whilst 87% of engaged employees trust their managers, only 57% of unengaged employees do. Both Facebook and McKinsey & Company encourage communication at all levels, developing trust between colleagues. This may be a contributing factor to the high opinion both Facebook and McKinsey & Company employees have of one another. They describe their colleagues as ‘very bright and motivated with a great work ethic’. This type of workplace encourages individuals to not only do well, but to excel. Their culture also promotes a ‘hands off philosophy as long as you perform well’, motivating their employees to work under their own initiative and encouraging them to take ownership and pride in what they produce.
Culture and Environment
“Great culture, people are thrilled to be there and it’s infectious”
People make a company. Their attitude determines its culture. Facebook have cultivated an ‘extremely friendly and focused… social work environment’ with ‘high levels of autonomy and work flexibility,’ whilst McKinsey & Company offer an ‘incredible learning experience. I can’t imagine developing more quickly at another company.’ There are a variety of ways that they have accomplished this:
- Building a workplace that encourages community to develop – offering various amenities that ‘allow us to focus on our work, and make us feel valued also’.
- Integrating new employees through a comprehensive on-boarding process which provides a ‘culture infusion from the moment you walk in the door, and you’re mentored through a six week boot-camp and can be pushing code out to the website in your first week.’
- ‘A unique move fast and break things culture…’ The belief that if you never ‘break’ anything then you’re probably not moving fast enough is ingrained in the culture of Facebook. This concept may be a risky one but it’s based around the idea that by moving faster you learn and build more in a shorter space of time. It also promotes a stimulating and disciplined culture of innovation and creativity.
- ‘An unrelenting focus on growth and learning’ – Investment in quality training and mentorship helps to motivate employees and encourages them to push the boundaries of their knowledge and imagination.
“People who make a big impact are recognized and rewarded, regardless of their job title or level of experience.”
A recent study found that 69% of employees would work harder if their work was better recognised. Both, Facebook and McKinsey & Company work as a meritocracy. This type of environment emphasises each employee’s impact upon a project, inspiring them and motivating each to continue to produce outstanding work. Each company empowers their employees through encouraging ownership of projects, allowing individuals to pursue their own ideas and make ‘a real impact at the highest levels.’
“You own your own career”
Both Facebook and McKinsey & Company are credited with the wealth of opportunity that they offer their employees. This is available on a number of levels; through the workplace Facebook employees are encouraged to ‘choose a team and a project, switch teams when you’re saturated, learn any skill you need’, whilst McKinsey & Company operate in a non-hierarchical environment that encourages collaboration with seniority and presents employees with great responsibility from their first day and ‘unlimited opportunities to stretch yourself professionally.’ Alongside this, both companies are commended for their excellent post-employment opportunities, with McKinsey employees given access to a ‘strong alumni network.’
The employee evaluations and research discussed above provide food for thought over the complexities of employee engagement. A recent study by MSW Research and Dale Carnegie Training concluded that: “Although there are many factors that impact employee engagement, there are three key drivers:
- Relationship with immediate supervisor
- Belief in senior leadership
- Pride in working for the company”
Every company approaches their relationship with their people, workplace; its culture and environment and the opportunities they present to their employees differently. Whilst there is no sure fire way to promote engagement, by listening to employee’s feedback and implementing changes accordingly, companies will be on their way to success.