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The importance of combining organisation alignment with employee engagement

At Insync, we often talk about organisation alignment and employee engagement, but why is it important to combine the two? Organisation alignment is quite different to employee engagement. Here’s how.

When it comes to addressing these areas, alignment requires a top down approach while employee engagement is from the bottom up. But first we’ll start by defining the two…

Alignment is essential to sustained high performance

  • Alignment is the connection between strategy and execution
  • Aligned employees make sound judgements about their work priorities
  • Aligned teams agree on their goals and work as one
  • Aligned organisations are agile and adapt quickly to change
  • Without alignment, results are left to chance

Alignment without employee engagement can produce short-term results
that are unlikely to be sustained

Employee engagement is also essential to sustained high performance

  • Employee engagement is the state where employees think and feel positively about the organisation and make discretionary efforts.
  • Engaged employees:
    –  work harder
    –  stay longer
    –  have a positive impact on their workplace
  • High employee engagement has proven links to:
    –  lower turnover costs
    –  improved employee wellbeing and safety
  • –  stronger financial performance
    –  higher customer satisfaction

Employee engagement without alignment can turn to
misdirected passion

Our research indicates that alignment and employee engagement are complementary and necessary conditions for sustained high performance.

Alignment and employee engagement factors

Insync’s  Alignment and Engagement Survey, an employee survey, is framed by alignment factors and employee engagement. These factors, the importance of each and what each measures, is outlined below.

1. Long term direction

  • Why is it important?
    Effective strategic planning and communication is an important part of becoming a high performing organisation.
  • Long term direction measures:
    – The clarity of communication of strategic goals by senior management
    – The extent to which employees understand this communication
    – Attitude and buy-in to the communication process and the plan itself

2. Senior leadership

  • Why is it important?
    – Good leaders inspire employees with their vision, motivate them to commit to the strategic plan and encourage contribution
    – They consider opinions, individual talent and circumstances
  • Senior leadership measures:
    – The extent to which the senior leadership team exemplifies the best practices in leadership
    – Employees’ acceptance of, trust in and commitment to the vision

3. Team leadership

  • Why is it important?
    – Good front line leaders form positive relationships with their employees
    – They exemplify the organisation’s strategy and values
    – They transfer information to the rest of the organisation
  • Team leadership measures:
    – The strength of relationship between the front line supervisor and their employee

4. Team effectiveness

  • Why is it important?
    – Good teams communicate effectively and support team members
    – They work in the best interests of the organisation
  • Team effectiveness measures:
    – The performance of the team at the individual and team level with regard to communication, support, goal directed behaviour and contribution to the broader organisational goals

5.  Performance focus

  • Why is it important?
    – Competitive organisation are open to new ideas, put their customers at the centre of decision making and having systems that help staff meet their promise to customers.
  • Performance focus measures:
    – The organisation’s commitment to innovation
    – Product/service competitiveness
    – Standards of performance and systems to help people do their job

6. Investment in people

  • Why is it important?
    – Thriving organisations have great human resource systems that encourage people to perform well, stay in the job and act as advocates
    – They tend to recruit and retain the best people, reward them and provide excellent training/development opportunities
  • Investment in people measures:
    – The effectiveness of all the broader human systems in the workplace
    – These include: organisational commitment to employees, talent management, succession planning, performance appraisal, enhancing diversity, anti-bullying & harassment policies and work-life balance

7. Investment in systems

  • Why is it important?
    – High performing organisations have effective systems that provide a positive and effective foundation
    – These support organisational procedures used in the workplace
    – Systems need to be enabling and should enhance employees’ ability to do their job well
  • Investment in systems measures:
    – The success of the organisational systems at facilitating the performance of all employees

8. Employee engagement

  • Why is it important?
    – Successful organisations have engaged employees
    – Their beliefs, feelings and actions are such that they believe and promote the very best in the organisation
    – They are satisfied and attached to their job, work hard to achieve good results and promote the organisation to others
  • The employee engagement factor measures:
    – Employees’ attachment to the organisation, acting in its best interests
    – Individual level emotional, attitudinal and behavioural engagement

Some key points to take away

  • Alignment + employee engagement =  High performance
  • Alignment and employee engagement are complementary and necessary for high performance
  • Alignment consists of nine factors that help build a high performing work environment
  • Each factor, plus the factor of employee engagement, has a practical application for improving alignment and/or employee engagement

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