Driving employee engagement

Employee engagement in Canadian media companies is lower than the national average Neil Crawford of Aon Hewitt told newspaper delegates at the INK+BEYOND conference on May 3.

With overall Canadian media employee engagement levels sitting at 53 percent in comparison to all Canadian industries in general with 64 percent, it is fair to say there is room for repair.

Crawford went on to explain that print media separately has only a 42 percent average of employee engagement where as other media sectors such as advertising, public relations and marketing average out at about 63 percent.

But the numbers are reflective of the nature of the business and are not entirely a bad thing given the current climate and what publications are able to offer their employees.

For instance, in media, pay proved to be less likely to impact engagement, whereas other factors—such as career opportunities, feedback and assessment of performance–impact employee commitment in key ways.

“Money doesn’t fix everything, valuing an appreciating employees is key,” said Crawford. "We’ve learned actual engagement of individuals is a good way to demonstrate change."

Crawford said that the drivers of engagement are: People, Motivation, Opportunities, Quality of Life, Values, Work, Procedures and Total Rewards.

“In terms of how people work together, the relationship between coworkers are stronger in the media sector,” said Crawford. “And communication channels work better within high engagement organizations.”

According to Crawford, if a publication is looking to enhance performance, it must enhance its engagement. Having a team that ‘sticks’ and is willing to take the extra steps needed for the sake of the story—and ultimately the organization—not only builds on the brand, but can also link to profit.

Crawford encouraged delegates to consider looking to define engagement within their own organizations through three S’s of employee behavior—Saying positive things, Staying with the organization and Striving to achieve above and beyond expected engagement— in the hopes of enhancing the engagement amounts, and in turn the success of the sector.