Now, as companies look forward to stronger economic conditions, the human resources group is urging employers to focus on generating more satisfaction in order to retain valuable employees, and so existing employees remain engaged and productive.
The survey found among employees only “moderate engagement,” or the determination to accomplish company goals and put forth a maximum effort.
The researchers suggested employers involve employees more in decision-making and strategy, communicate more with them and give them training and opportunities to employ more of their skills.
“Organizations are having difficulty recruiting employees with the right skills for their open positions,” said Mark Schmit, vice president of research. In a 2011 survey by organization, 23 percent of employers said they were facing global competition for talent.
Yet, Schmit said, existing employees “frequently have skills and abilities beyond the position for which they were hired,” and those skills can be tapped. If that occurred, the employer would benefit from the skills it needed, and employees would feel more engaged.
Employees can be trained and promoted to fill positions that require higher skills, he said. That will leave openings for lower-level positions, which can be easier to fill.
Companies have cut training budgets in the recession, but Schmit said developing employees can help organizations fill critical positions. He noted that Web-based training often can be done inexpensively.