Watson Wyatt’s WorkUSA Survey Identifies Steps to Keep Employees Engaged & Productive

Ensuring that employees are engaged is crucial to keep workplace morale and productivity high, according to Watson Wyatt, a leading global consulting firm.

Watson Wyatt’s 2008/2009 WorkUSA Report found that when employees are highly engaged, their companies enjoy 26 percent higher employee productivity, have lower turnover risk and are more likely to attract top talent. Their companies have also earned 13 percent greater total returns to shareholders over the last five years.

According to the survey findings, highly engaged employees are twice as likely as their less engaged peers to be top performers. They also miss 20 percent fewer days of work and three-quarters of them exceed or far exceed expectations in their most recent performance review. Additionally, highly engaged workers tend to be more supportive of organizational change initiatives and resilient in the face of change. The report surveyed more than 13,000 full-time U.S. workers in May and June 2008, before the full advent of the financial crisis.

Employee understanding of the organization’s compensation system can be an important factor in increasing engagement, productivity and job satisfaction, according to a related study, The Knowledge of Pay study from 2002, by “clarifying and aligning organizational and individual goals and priorities.” The study found that sharing knowledge of pay with employees is a “specific leverage point” that will lead to “increased employee engagement,” and pointed to the “advantages to sharing knowledge about pay and performance with managers and employees.

The study noted that “organizations that are perceived to pay less competitively achieve higher organizational effectiveness when they share more knowledge about pay and pay processes. Similarly, among companies that are seen to pay more competitively, greater knowledge about pay and performance systems strengthens the employee value proposition.”

The more recent Watson Wyatt WorkUsa Study offers specific suggestions confirming these conclusions:

1. “Segmenting the workforce and tailoring communication, performance management programs and other resources to specific employee groups is the most effective way to engage workers.”

2. Capitalize on “engageable moments.”

3. “Reviewing communication processes to ensure that information flows vertically as well as horizontally throughout the organization is an important step to employee engagement.”

4. “Employees who indicate their organization effectively delivers on the employment deal are 20 times as likely to be highly engaged and 50 percent more likely to be top performers.”

5. The “key to driving productivity gains is increasing engagement among core contributors, who represent 60 percent of the typical workforce. Highly engaged employees are already working at or near their peak but are often limited by their less engaged co-workers. Focusing on engaging core contributors can improve both groups’ productivity.”

6. “Improving employee engagement will help drive business results in the long run by improving employee commitment to corporate goals and generating exceptional individual performance and productivity.”

About KnowledgePay

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