Employee engagement down, temp jobs up.  Any connection?

Category: Employee Engagement

By Jude Carter

Hewitt just came out with the results of their employee engagement poll. For the quarter ending June 2010, they reported the largest decline in employee engagement in the 15 years that they’ve been keeping score. (46% of respondents reported a decline.) They analyze areas such as employee morale, confidence in the organization, trust of leadership, career opportunities and employee recognition.

Meanwhile, there’s another phenomenon in the workplace. Despite the positive earnings trend, employers are still not ready to add permanent staff. Instead, they’re turning to temporaries…in a big way. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that over a third of jobs added this year have been temporary positions. More companies are getting comfortable with flexible staffing models, and there are plenty of highly skilled contract workers available for temporary assignment.

So what is this doing to employee engagement?

Well, that depends. Through their research, Hewitt has identified key factors that contribute to high engagement. They stress the importance of staying focused on long-term goals and referencing those goals when communicating information to employees about decisions, changes and progress. For example, if I decide to supplement our call-center staff with temps, it’s up to me to communicate the context for that decision to the rest of the workers. If I don’t, they’ll come to their own conclusions, which might be that they’re about to be replaced. Now what’ll that do to employee engagement?

Sharon Toelle
July 30, 2010

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