The report looked at the worrying backcloth: very low levels of employee engagement over the last decade. Typically, only one third of employees are truly engaged, one third are ambivalent and one third are actively looking to leave. Given that a 10% increase in engagement levels translates into a gain of £1500 per person for the bottom line, the potential gains to be made are phenomenal.
Winning higher engagement levels isn’t always easy to do, but we know from experience that it is possible. It takes a shift in workplace culture including, crucially, the emergence of a new bargain between employer and employee. It’s no coincidence that career fulfilment statistics are closely mirror the engagement data: a third of UK employees say their career progression to date has failed to meet their expectations. Poor careers advice is one of the reasons cited as stopping them from getting into the right jobs - and bad line management has prevented them from developing once in work.
Let’s look at the huge potential upside for a business in accepting this careers challenge. The obvious upside of career development has to be a positive step-change in engagement. Our own research has shown that while less than 20% are very satisfied with their career development opportunities, those who are will be much more likely to plan to remain with their current employer. Other evidence suggests that employees who want (and get) a genuine partnership with employers around career development will register higher levels of engagement and stay for longer. So let’s bring forward the “next generation” of answers into the "here and now".
Those who do plan their careers, the evidence shows, are much more likely to achieve their goals, with managers more likely to listen and understand coherent aspirations and provide jobs that challenge and stretch staff. A career plan that does all this increases the chances of employee loyalty, engagement and productivity. The evidence on this is clear for every business to see, should it choose to look.