Shift in Priorities Calls for Refocus

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Have you ever seen negative people? They are not fun-loving.  I LOVE positive people. They make me feel good, they enlighten my day, and they bring me some fresh air. I just love them! I admire the inspiration that they are able to instill, just because they are beautifully positive! They find ways of bringing warmth out of cold days.
Positive people are beautiful. There is something about them that is different, special. I have met a few of them. And its seems that, more and more, quite a few of us, older and younger, have redefined what matters most to us. 

The latest Gallup survey shows that out of all employees, the category of service workers is the only one that shows a drop in engagement from 2009 to 2012. This marks a 3%  decrease versus a 6% increase for manufacturing and production workers. Interesting enough however, transportation and manufacturing workers are the most "actively disengaged" at 28% and 26% respectively, whereas service workers rate at 22%. Compare this to the best ranking for professionals and physicians who show an active disengagement of 9% and managers, executives and officials being at a 13% mark, and you get the idea. Impressive results with a +/- 1% margin of error according to the survey method used!

There is no surprise that the research points to the positive linkage between engagement and wellbeing. Clearly, the better your lifestyle and your outlook on life, the better your workplace engagement. This could be mostly related to the working environment. There are also reasons to believe that it is a combination of learned experience, knowledge, and environment. It could be simply put as situation awareness that one exhibits in a personalized fashion, that is, in lifestyle, working practices and attitudes among other factors, and that translate in unavoidable impacts in the overall economy, health situation, and sadly cascading in education, creating a vicious circle. To limit ourselves to one main subject, there is a "proven strong relationship between employees' workplace engagement and their respective companies' overall performance." This implies that scorecard goals are pointless if no work is done toward lingering or existing issues in employees' engagement.

A Labyrinth of Opportunities

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Interesting enough, the more I think about this subject, the deeper I could go into my analysis. And I have no doubt that so could you. We all could have our own theories and hypotheses. It is a labyrinth of thoughts. But it could also be a labyrinth of opportunities. It is a matter of finding which way is the fastest and brings the best outcome for your organization. 

The latest SHRM findings on hiring expectations show a positive 6% increase in 2013 vs. 2012 in both manufacturing and service sectors while an overall -1.2% decrease in new hire compensation is observed. Combined with rising recruiting difficulty of 13.6%  in the above sectors, it is no surprise that the engagement is at the slowest point in manufacture and service jobs.

Source: SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment (LINE),
Add to the overall picture that voluntary turnover is on its rise and you get the gloomy side of Human Resource Management. Where did we fail? When did we drift away?

Globally, according to Towers Watson 2012 – 2013 Global Talent Management and Rewards Study, we do have considerable attraction, retention and sustainable engagement issues in critical-skill employees.

Sustainable engagement seems to derive from overall well-being. Organizations need to adjust not only to market changes and needs, but also and mostly to its internal clients changes: employees. There is a serious shift in employees' priorities. That is the simple explanation of absenteeism, voluntary turnover, short tenures, low morale. Aggressively or defensively addressing the issue is not a viable solution.

Organizations need to align their priorities to their workforce priorities. It is a matter of balance. Maybe it is just a matter of simple common sense. How about seeing things positively and  attacking the issue at its root causes? Are you positive and infusing that positive outlook to your employees and co-workers without hidden agenda? Are you bringing your thoughts to the table?
© 2013 AR_HRCom _TedPic - Engagement
As employees shift their priorities, let's stay in focus. HR needs to learn to look at the big picture, more often. It is now a must in the new partnership.


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