Engagement drops among female employees

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Employers may be losing out on top talent if their overlooked or outdated engagement strategies are favoring one gender over the other.

New research from consulting firm Mercer reveals that female employees are less satisfied with their organizations than their male counterparts, indicating that employers need to start taking steps to creating a more fulfilling work experience for women.

“For anyone working in talent, the term employee engagement is on the tip of your tongue,” says Megan Connolly, a principal with consulting firm Mercer. “Employee engagement as an idea is compelling to leaders across talent settings.”

For overall engagement, women have a focus on “longer term career aspects and collaboration efforts that we don’t see in men,” notes Pete Foley, senior principal at Mercer. “Three areas we see some significant gaps include fair and transparent pay, defined career paths and inclusive work environments.”

About half (51%) of men say their organization does an adequate job of matching performance to pay; while only 43% say the same, according to Mercer’s Talent Trends survey. The same percentage of men (51%) also says their performance is rewarded when they do a good job; 41% said the same. And when it comes to a career path, Foley says a nine percentage difference can be seen between men (57%) and women (48%) in their confidence to achieve their objectives.

Additionally, Connolly says, “we note females have less comfort speaking on ethical concerns.” One in four female employees do not believe they can report an ethical concern without fear of retaliation, the report noted. “And when people stop trusting they stop innovating,” she adds.

To help boost engagement levels, she points to three areas employers should focus strategy on.

· Achievements: How are workers using skillsets that allows them to achieve challenging goals?
· Camaraderie: Do workers feel part of a group that feels welcomed and valued?
· Equity: The sense that employees are getting out of the experience what they’re putting in. is this employment deal fair for the employee?

When it comes to engagement, fairness matters most, Connolly notes.

“While all three factors are fundamental to engagement, equity is the most important factor,” she says. “It underlies many of the main differentials in the data that we see between male versus female.”

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