I recently provided input on the topic of 'Employee Engagement' for a colleague. Several ideas below. 1) Does 'Employee Engagement' matter? ABSOLUTELY! Now more than ever it matters. The primary reason it is important is so that the organization can retain its top talent. Employee engagement can be measured through employee surveys as well as external customer feedback. While many organizations are cutting back and have made drastic personnel changes, the organizations that can continue to retain and grow talent (even though offering fewer development programs) will be the ones to quickly emerge as the economy and market shift towards positive growth.
2) What typically contributes to job satisfaction? Typical factors that contribute to job satisfaction or dissatisfaction include: Opportunities for advancement, opportunities to develop / attend training and development programs, executive / management-employee engagement, and culture. One opportunity to increase employee engagement (thereby creating an environment of positive growth / development within the organization) is to design efficient training, coaching and development programs that are within the "tightened" OPEX budget. Also, consider leveraging tools and techniques that are working in a specific segment of the organization and deploying those techniques to other parts of the organization. This can be an economical "quick-hit" with longer-term options defined as part of an organizational strategy.
3) Is it ever too late to continue my education while at work? It is never too late to go back to school or make a career change. Having a personal guiding principle around continuous or ongoing learning and development is a critical success factor for individuals in today's career landscape. As companies look to ramp-up resources in specific areas, hiring managers are looking beyond the core skill set needed for a position and are considering other factors of which education is a part. In order to differentiate yourself from others with similar skills or abilities, core education, exposure to professional development programs, and experience in different business environments can be positive influencing factors.