Focus on Employees Leads to Higher Profits
The brands of top-performing companies are characterised by an emphasis on the experience of employees according to research by Hewitt.
The “best employers” in the study - organisations that have higher engagement levels, revenue and profit - are differentiated from other employers in five key ways, says the head of Hewitt’s engagement practice, David Clarke.
- Compelling promise to employees
- Highly engaged employees want a connection to the business that aligns with their individual views.
- Among the best employers, the top three brand characteristics are “caring”, “recognition” and “career advancement”. This is in contrast with the top brand characteristics at other employers: customer focus; challenge; and excellence.
The latter focus more on the company than their employees.
- Leadership commitment
- Leadership commitment is the fundamental starting point for high-engagement employers. “This commitment is not about saying the right things, but exhibiting behaviours and making decisions that clearly signal people are their greatest asset.”
- Leaders set the tone through their openness, involvement and leadership style. “While they instil a strong sense of accountability, they also make a commitment to growing and stretching their people.” Clarke says.
- Connection to the company and strategy
- High-engagement employers create a compelling picture of the future and enrol employees in it.
- They see a direct link between engaged employees and customer satisfaction, noting that 55 per cent of “best employers” use employee engagement as a performance measure, compared to just 28 per cent of other organisations.
- Differentiated high-performance culture
- Best employers inspire a passion for outstanding achievement among their people. “These companies set aggressive goals and hold employees accountable for achieving them. They have a sustained focus on empowerment; this focus motivates employees to contribute the discretionary effort that makes such a difference to productivity and the bottom line.”
- They take development very seriously, providing employees with the support and challenges they need, and this focus doesn’t fluctuate with economic cycles.
- Aligned people practices
- Aligning people practices with organisational strategy is the final way in which “best employers” differentiate themselves.
- “Best employers” ensure that the efforts and investments they put into their HR programs are in direct support of the company’s goals. They also work to ensure that their people practices are integrated with one another, giving employees a consistent employee experience that reflects the culture of the organisation.
- These employers, he says, “reward employees for specific behaviours that support the organisation’s goals, creating a clear and meaningful alignment between the individual employee and the company.”