Gender Differences in Employment Engagement

Employee Engagement

Different demographic groups of employees have different needs and priorities. Gender differences in employment engagement require a more flexible approach. Claire Rahmatallah of great{with}talent discuss’ the issues for L&D professionals.

Gender Differences in Employment Engagement

Many organisations tend to adopt a blanket approach to recruitment, induction, staff development and employee engagement. They treat everyone the same because it is easier to assume that employees are similar, rather than different. They’re making a mistake.

At great{with}talent, we have conducted a research study, One Size Does Not Fit All. It shows that different demographic groups of employees have different needs and priorities.

The implication is that, if you want to develop and engage employees, you have to adopt a much more flexible approach. You need one that takes into account the gender, age, ethnic, educational and occupational
differences that exist.

In our research study, 16,000 employees in UK organisations were asked to rank the relative importance of 12 key factors that underpin employee commitment. The results show that the importance of these factors varies from individual to individual and from group to group.

What are the Gender Differences in Employment Engagement?

The research found a number of gender differences in the workplace. For example, women express higher organisational commitment and a lower intention to leave than men.

Women also value the quality of their working relationships more than men. This includes with their line manager and their peers. Whilst men value salary and career progression more than women.

From a learning styles perspective, women are more likely to look to others for support than men. Women also have more of a social attitude to learning than men. For example, mentoring may be a more preferable
option for a woman than self-directed learning.

Implications of Gender Differences in Employment Engagement

Bear in mind that demographic differences reflect the diversity of the UK labour force. They do not mean that certain groups should be treated any differently.

What the above gender occupational differences should serve to highlight is that a one-size-fits-all approach to developing and engaging staff won’t work. Instead, L&D practitioners need to create a strategy that suits the organisational culture and is flexible enough to satisfy the needs and priorities of different groups of employees.

Employee Engagement Ideas

Some organisations are now providing a ‘shopping list’ of commitment factors, such as personal growth, salary, career progression and work-life balance. These factors are discussed with key employees and the individuals are allowed to develop a ‘wish list’, by selecting the factors that will press the right buttons for them.

This approach can help engage top talent who organisations have invested the most resources on. It also takes into account individual needs which is particularly important to Gen-Y employees.

L&D practitioners should consider how the current levels of engagement vary across the demographic groups in their organisation. They also need to take into account the differing work values of employees.

By identifying these differences and the extent to which these are allowed for in your learning & development interventions, you’ll be able to pinpoint where improvements are needed. The differences may well occur in different parts of the organisation or they may vary by job role or hierarchical level.

Regardless of the size of your organisation, if you understand the demographic differences (and commonalities) within your employee population, you can promote diversity, cut staff turnover and achieve higher employee motivation, satisfaction and commitment.

Claire Rahmatallah is a consultant at employee engagement and retention specialist great{with}talent, which provides online tools and resources that enable organisations to understand and enhance employee commitment.

Contact great{with}talent and find out more about their TalentEngage employee engagement surveys.

[youtube](Originally published in Training Journal. Main image from Difference Works)

Previous Post
The Importance of Employee Retention Strategies with Mouchel Parkman
Next Post
How to Use Employee Engagement Surveys