Organizations That Work On Increasing Employee Engagement Are Likely To Perform Better

How often do you gauge the level of employee engagement or satisfaction? Progressive organisations periodically check the level of employee satisfaction or engagement so that corrective action can be taken where weaknesses are identified.

Research has consistently shown that there is a positive correlation between high employee engagement and productivity. Employee engagement is a combination of commitment and line of sight (line of sight means an understanding by employees of the link between their work and the overall success of the organisation). Organisations that work on increasing employee engagement/satisfaction are likely to perform better than those organisations that do not pay attention to this.

Based on the Watson Wyatt Employee Segmentation Matrix we managed to segment Zimbabwean employees who took part in our employee satisfaction survey and the results are shown below. The matrix categorises employees into five segments that reflect the varying levels of commitment to the organisation and line of sight.

Employee segmentation helps in coming up with interventions that are targeted at each segment where it’s likely to work. If effectively done, strengthening the line of sight improves individual performance, and strengthening commitment in turn reduces staff turnover. The drivers of employee engagement vary across employee segments. This tool is a must use tool for any serious employer who wants to increase employee productivity.

Analysis of each employee segment

Value creators: Only 23 percent of the Zimbabwean workforce falls into the value creator category. Employees found in this category are likely to be top performers and they have a greater impact on overall organisational performance. The risk of losing this category of employees is very low but it does not mean you should ignore them.

Core contributors: These represent 25 percent of the Zimbabwean workforce. Retention is also an issue as only five percent of people in this category are highly committed to their organisations. Also note that they do not have the line of sight to characterise them as value creators. However, with the right interventions this category of employees can be transformed into value creators.

Aligned sceptics: They are low on commitment but generally have strong line of sight. About 37 percent of the Zimbabwean working population falls into this category. This is the segment most likely to leave your organisation that is it’s a high risk group. The main reason why we have this group is that organisations break promises made when employees join (psychological contract). This is the category of employees which is likely to speak negatively about the organisation. This category of staff can scuttle any change initiative the organisation may want to implement as they have nothing positive to say about their organisation. They always have a reason why things will not work and usually blame management for any failure. However, strategies can be put in place to re-engage them.

Lost believers: These are content to stay where they are and they are not at risk of leaving the organisation. They are similar to the core contributors in terms of commitment. Only two percent of the Zimbabwean workforce falls into this category. This category’s line of sight is low and so is their performance. Developing line of sight with this group may take a bit of time.

Disengaged: They possess no line of sight and they are low on commitment and naturally are the poor performers. The majority of employees in this category are literally “sleep working” on the job. They are normally disgruntled poor performers and their negative attitude can spread to others. It is said that the cost of raising engagement levels for this group is very high, but it’s equally catastrophic not to take action. Strategies to address poor performance need to be put in place in order to help this group. About six percent of the Zimbabwean workforce falls into this category.

Companies will not realise much productivity gains from Aligned sceptics, lost believes and disengaged employees. If you have any of these employees you need to implement interventions that will help you engage these employees.


The best way to deal with the disengaged employees:

Ensuring high visibility on the part of senior management through frequent communication
Improving communication by listening to and taking action on their ideas, increasing interaction with supervisors and fostering teamwork
Ensuring that supervisors address performance management issues through formal processes and informal interactions
Best way to deal with lost believers
Communicating corporate goals and showing employees how their efforts contribute to business
Improving communication and ensuring employees feel their ideas and opinions are heard
Offering a clear path for career advancement

The big question is do you know how your own employees are distributed according to the above categories? Knowing the above categories will help you to come up with strategies to address concerns in each of the categories.

Memory Nguwi is the Managing Consultant of Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.

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