A key driver of employee engagement?
While many Malaysian organisations acknowledge the power of engagement, many struggle to make progress in this area.
Motivating and developing people for high performance and differentiating between employees are becoming increasingly important for employers and employees alike.
To achieve this, many Malaysian organisations are deploying scientifically validated selection and assessment tools to ensure a better job fit of employees.
By providing training and development programmes, on-the-job learning, coaching, and feedback, employers can ensure that everyone who works with them has the resources they need to learn more and build their careers.
However, companies often lose sight of the real objective and the importance of employees’ learning and development.
From many focus groups held with all levels of Malaysian employees, Aon Hewitt finds that employees see training as an enabler to achieve their professional development and as a career development opportunity.
As Aon Hewitt’s 2013 Trends in Asia Pacific Employee Engagement Report shows, career opportunities in Malaysia (and across the region) is a key driver of engagement.
It has also been the most significant driver to improve employee engagement for Malaysia for the last 10 years.
Quite strikingly, career opportunities rate much higher than pay in their impact on engagement because employees recognise the correlation between career advancement and the associated pay movement.
These results shed some light on the desires and motivation of the workers as well as on the relationship between training and development, work tasks, career opportunities, and employee engagement.
What the best do to develop and keep their talent
Aon Hewitt’s 12 years of Best Employers research in Asia-Pacific, incorporating insights from over 3,800 organisations, identifies company best practices that address these matters.
To attract and retain the best talent, best employers in Malaysia recognise the need to invest in employees’ development and take training and development seriously.
They are not looking at training as an individual training programme, but rather as behaviour or functional competence-linked development.
Training programmes are followed through with post-programme follow-up and the involvement of managers.
Best employers have continuously invested over the years to strengthen this important area of business performance by placing emphasis on employee development plans, internal talent management, leadership development for managers, and employee performance management.
So, what are they doing so differently from other employers?
– Best employers acknowledge that training and development begins with the onboarding process. It offers a great opportunity for employees to get acquainted with the organisation – its values, structure, culture and policies.
– They invest in training and development to inspire long-term commitment. Employees who receive training get the satisfaction of mastering new skills and increasing their chances for career advancement.
Training demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to employees, makes them feel valued, and fosters reciprocal commitment.
– Best employers usually treat their experienced employees as their most valuable assets to boost feelings of self-efficacy. They have also learnt to recognise and rely on employee experience.
Experienced employees possess applicable skills that allow them to function autonomously, manage projects, and train other workers.
– Best employers also have a different approach to managing performance. They realise that regular performance reviews can help optimise job-person fit. Reviews can help to identify an employee’s strengths and weaknesses.
They offer a better chance to get to know what specific demographic segments enjoy about their jobs and learn about their long-term aspirations, which in turn helps to design individual and appropriate training and development programmes.
All these measures ensure that employees are enjoying their jobs, getting better at them, and able to progress in their careers.
An employer is able to plan ahead and develop their workers internally, instead of hiring primarily from external sources.
In this way, they can ensure that opportunities are available for current employees.
In return, eight out of 10 employees in Malaysian organisations with best employers are engaged, and get a sense of accomplishment from their work.
Best employers are also clearly stronger when it comes to managing careers, scoring 24% higher than the market average for the statement: “This organisation offers excellent career opportunities to employees who are strong performers.”
Did you know?
Best employers achieved double the growth in profit levels compared to other organisations.
Best employers achieved 20 percentage points higher employee engagement levels than others.
Best employers had lower employee turnover levels and a significantly higher percentage of all employees, particularly managers, being internally promoted.
( Source: Aon Hewitt Best Employers 2.0 Asia 2013)
These statistics are striking evidence that a committed and productive workforce delivers stronger business results.
If you want to learn more about how to improve your organisation’s level of engagement and enhance people performance, or want to start your journey to becoming a best employer, the Aon Hewitt best employers Malaysia 2015 programme, in partnership with TalentCorp Malaysia and myStarjob.com provides a platform to do so.
Together, they aim to help you to identify engagement levels, leadership effectiveness, employer brand and culture, to drive high performance.
Best practices in talent management are shared with participating organisations and results are benchmarked against other aspiring or recognised best employers in Malaysia and Asia.
The registration for the 2015 programme closed on Oct 10, while the data collection launch will close on Oct 31. For more information about this programme, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Jens Ballendowitsch is the practice leader of Aon Hewitt’s Talent & Engagement Practice in Malaysia. Contact him at email@example.com
First published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 25 October 2014