Deloitte: Employee engagement #1 HR challenge

17 March 2015 3 min. read

Culture and employee engagement are the most important issue facing organisations, research by Deloitte shows, with 8 out of 10 citing lack of employee engagement as their top challenge. According to the firm, the rise of the issue underlines the need for organisations to gain a clear understanding of their culture and develop better strategies to engage and empower people to prevent losing out on talent and hence growth opportunities.

Professional services firm Deloitte recently released its ‘Global Human Capital Trends 2015 survey’, in which it explores 10 major HR trends, reflecting four major HR themes for 2015: leading, engaging, reinventing, and reimagining. The report is based on input from 3,300 organisations in 100+ countries and asseses the importance of specific talent challenges and the readiness of companies to meet them.

Global Human Capital Trends 2015

Culture and engagement
Deloitte’s research shows that ‘culture and engagement’ is rated the most important issue overall, just surpassing ‘leadership’ (last year’s most important issue) and ‘learning and development’. The vast majority of 87% of HR and business leaders cited ‘lack of employee engagement’ as their top challenge, up from 79% in 2014, with 50% calling this problem “very important”, up from the 26% last year.

The emergence of ‘culture, engagement, and retention’ as top issues for business leaders follows from the heightened corporate transparency, greater workforce mobility, and severe skills shortages. Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder of Bersin by Deloitte, explains: “As demand for talent picks up, the balance of power in business is rapidly shifting from the employer to the employee. Moreover, workers are becoming more mobile, contingent and autonomous, and as a result, harder to manage and engage.” This development, according to the researchers, highlights “the need for business and HR leaders to gain a clear understanding of their organisation’s culture and re-examine every HR and talent programme as a way to better engage and empower people.”

Status of retention and engagement strategy

Retention and engagement
Although the engagement is seen as a top priority, the majority of organisations fail to take action to improve their culture. Of the HR and business leaders surveyed, 18% indicated not to have any retention and engagement strategy and another 16% cited to have an out-dated strategy.

More than half (60%) said not to have an adequate retention and engagement programme. When asked to rate their retention and engagement programme, only 7% rated themselves as excellent at measuring, driving, and improving engagement and retention. With the majority (54%) rating their programme less than good.

Retention and engagement programme capabilities

The researchers point out that organisations should aim at improving their culture, and employee engagement to prevent jeopardising future growth. In order to do so, they list five ways for organisations to start this process: engagement should become a corporate priority; real-time evaluation and assessment programmes should be put in place; work should be made meaningful by focussing on leadership, coaching, and performance management; HR and business leaders should listen to Millennials as they will shape the organisation’s culture over the next 10 years; lastly, the work environment should be simplified to help reduce the burden of today’s 24/7 work environment.

Five ways for organisations to start this process

The researchers conclude: “Organisations that create a culture defined by meaningful work, deep employee engagement, job and organisational fit, and strong leadership are outperforming their peers and will likely beat their competition in attracting top talent.”