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Your Formula for Employee Engagement

Periodic Table of Essential Elements of a Highly Engaging Workplace Culture Infographic FINAL

Today we released the third and final study from our Employee Engagement Lifecycle research.  For this series, we targeted three different respondent groups - HR professionals (601 respondents); people managers (604 respondents); and full-time, non-managing employees (602 respondents) - who responded to an online questionnaire about various aspects of workplace culture and employee engagement.  Our previously published results focused on Boomerang Employees and an examination of  Who's the Boss of Workplace Culture?

We're reporting the summary results of this research framed as a periodic table of elements for a highly engaging workplace culture.  You need the right formula for your organization to create employee engagement. Good chemistry with employees starts at the top with senior leadership identifying the elements of workplace culture that will support their strategy. Just as important is ensuring this formula is well understood and executed by people managers throughout the organization. If managers cannot deliver on the promises made by leadership and HR, mission statements, values, and perks won't generate your desired outcomes. While this periodic table of essential workplace elements is in no way exhaustive, it is a reminder that our workplaces are a complex equation of people, programs, and policies that each have a daily impact on employee happiness and engagement.

Our periodic table of essential elements for engaging workplaces is categorized into five core categories: People & Relationships; Leadership; Benefits & Perks; Work-Life Balance; and Learning & Development.  These are described in more detail below.  You can access a full sized version of the infographic above by clicking on it or by clicking here.

Group 1 - People & Relationships:

  • Culture Trumps Performance (CtP) - Nearly 60 percent of HR professionals say they would fire a high performer who did not fit into the company culture or get along with their team.
  • Appreciation (Ap) - As Kronos revealed in its previous "Do You Feel Appreciated at Work?" survey, 55 percent of employees say receiving a simple "Thank you" from their manager gives them a high sense of satisfaction at work.
  • Friendships (F) - When asked how important friendships at work were to impacting their performance, 64 percent of employees say they were important or very important.
  • Boomerangs (Bm) - As the first installment of this series explored, nearly half of HR professionals claim their organization once had a policy against rehiring former employees, even if the employee left in good standing. However, as the war for talent has heated up, 76 percent say they are now more accepting of hiring so called "boomerang employees" than in the past.

Group 2 - Leadership:

  • Leadership (Ld) - HR professionals and managers both say that the most important aspect of their workplace culture is having managers and executives who lead by example.
  • Innovation (In) - Everyone agrees that innovation is a critical component of a successful organization, but there is a disconnect when it comes to how employers encourage innovation. While 63 percent of managers and 62 percent of HR professionals say their organizations encourage employees to bring new ideas to the table, only 40 percent of employees agree - and a full 39 percent of employees say their organizations "aren't innovative."
  • Active Feedback (Af) - Nearly half of both HR professionals and people managers actively seek feedback from employees to preserve and strengthen their workplace culture.
  • Empathetic Managers (Em) - Nearly one-quarter of employees say a flexible manager is an important part of supporting their work-life balance.
  • Customer-First (CuF) - More than 40 percent of both HR professionals and people managers say they look to their customers and the market to seek insights for innovation.
  • Mentoring (M) - Millennial employees say mentorships are important, as 20 percent claim having a mentor or sponsor was a useful aspect of their employer's onboarding strategy.

Group 3 - Benefits & Perks:

  • Pay and Benefits (Pb) - Nearly a quarter of employees say that, excluding pay, better benefits elsewhere is the top reason they would leave their current company. And 36 percent of managers say that paying employees more is an important strategy for retaining top talent.
  • Rewards and Recognition (R2) - HR professionals (45 percent) say offering more rewards and recognition to top-performing employees is an important strategy for retention.
  • Wellness (FiT) - Wellness programs are an increasingly popular piece of retention, with 23 percent of HR professionals and 25 percent of managers citing the importance of health programs.

Group 4 - Work-Life Balance:

  • Flexibility (Fx) - Flexibility emerged often as a critical component of any desirable employer, with 24 percent of HR professionals and 35 percent of managers recognizing that providing employees with more flexibility is an effective strategy for retention.  Additionally, 26 percent of employees, 27 percent of HR professionals, and 30 percent of managers say flexible scheduling contributes to improving work-life balance.
  • Me Time (Me) - A whopping 83 percent of employees say their workload does not prevent them from engaging in personal activities at home or in the office, a sign that employers and employees recognize the importance of maintaining meaningful personal connections in and out of the office.
  • Generational Awareness (Ga) - More than 40 percent of HR professionals claim they change how they promote the company and its culture when recruiting candidates across different generations, highlighting different aspects based on what they feel will appeal to the candidate.
  • Time Off (To) - Almost one-third of employees say time off - whether paid or unpaid - is the best way their employer can support their work-life balance.
  • Work-Life Balance (Wl) - Work-life balance was the third most important aspect of workplace culture cited by employees (40 percent), behind only pay (50 percent) and co-workers who respect and support each other (42 percent).

Group 5 - Learning & Development:

  • Retention (Re) - A pleasantly surprising 86 percent of HR professionals and 79 percent of managers are confident in their ability to retain current talent, while 44 percent of employees say they have no intention of leaving their current workplace.
  • Career Development (Cd) - More than 40 percent of HR professionals say funding career development courses is an important strategy to retain employees.
  • Onboarding (On) - Most organizations claim to have a formal onboarding strategy, with 67 percent of HR professionals saying they use components such as an employee manual, on-the-job training, and online courses as part of onboarding. Yet only 13 percent of employees agree that their companies have a formal onboarding strategy - exposing a major disconnect.
  • Travel Opportunities (OOO) - A quarter of HR professionals and 21 percent of managers say offering employees the opportunity to travel was a strategy used to retain employees.
  • Work Exchanges (Ex) -  Nearly one-third of HR professionals and 25 percent of managers say offering rotational programs, whereby employees can "try out" different roles within a company for a determined length of time, is an effective strategy for retaining workers. 
  • Younger Professional Programming (Yp2) -  HR professionals and people managers agree that younger generations, Millennials and Gen Zers, are the hardest to retain. Developing employment programming designed with this group in mind and actively seeking their input in these programs can help keep younger workers engaged.
  • Internal Promotions (Ip) - One-third of HR professionals and 31 percent of managers say that hiring more internally is a strategy they use to retain employees.

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