Increasingly, organizations are facing pressure to cut expenses (Nolan 2011). Task standardization is often looked to as a method for gaining “economy of scale” and reducing costs. However, task standardization also limits the contributions made by a diverse workforce and the freedom that employees are demanding. The result is a “catch-22” where employee engagement is minimized in an effort to reduce costs.
In the past, businesses were run as “one size fits all” organizations. Employees either “fit the mold,” or left to find other employment (Smith and Cantrell. 2011). Yet, businesses are now tailoring their organizations to accommodate their employees. For example, individual employees are determining their own career paths, training options, task selections, rewards, promotions, perks, or benefits. As a result, employee engagement is improving.
The leaders of large companies are recognizing the value of employee engagement as well. Microsoft, Best Buy, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Accenture, and others are stepping up to meet the individualistic needs of their employees in highly unique ways. One example: Best Buy, had engagement scores in the 1990’s that ranged in the 50% area. More recently, they have ranged consistently in the 80% range. The financial reward is calculated to be $100,000 for each .10 increase, for each store, each year!
Implementation. There must be clear rules that offer “boundaries” that apply to all, but allow flexibility within transparent limits. Some of the perks, are long-term stock options with higher rates of return for longer tenured employees, or clearly marked promotion paths. There are too many other options to list here. However, focus on individualizing options that address the organization’s strategic needs and stimulate each employee.
Nolan, S. (2011). Employee engagement. Strategic HR Review, 10(3), 3-4.
Smith, D., & Cantrell, S. M. (2011). The new rules of engagement: Treating your workforce as a workforce of one. Strategic HR Review, 10(3), 5-11.
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