How Companies that Act Fast on Engagement Outpace the Competition

  • Current methods of increasing employee engagement aren't working.
  • Engagement is a BFD (Big Financial Deal).
  • Businesses need a new formula to create engaged employees.

Employee engagement is not a trend. Businesses that don’t address engagement, that fail to actively—and urgently—engage their employees risk being left far, far, behind. Two years ago, the Gallup Employee Engagement poll told businesses what most of us already knew. Employees were not engaged in their work. But the Gallup report provided statistics that could no longer be ignored.

CURRENT METHODS OF INCREASING EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AREN’T WORKING

If engagement increases at the current rate, it will take nearly 41 years for businesses to reach a rate of 51% engaged employees.

Or, rather, aren’t working fast enough. If engagement increases at the current rate, it will take nearly 41 years for businesses to reach a rate of 51% engaged employees. Can you afford to wait until 2058 to have more employees who are engaged than those who aren’t?

Engagement is a BFD (Big Financial Deal)

According to Gallup, companies with engaged employees have 22% more profitability, 21% higher productivity and lower turnover (25% less turnover in high turnover organizations and 65% less turnover in lower turnover organizations) than companies without engaged employees. In the U.S. alone, disengagement costs businesses up to $550 billion a year in lost productivity. That doesn’t include the opportunity costs of ideas and innovation that don’t see the light of day. It also doesn’t include the cost of turnover. The Hay Group estimates companies with higher levels of engagement save $22.4 million a year due to lower turnover costs.

Businesses need a new formula to create engaged employees. And these businesses can’t afford to wait to start making significant progress now.

The ongoing challenge of creating engagement isn’t due to businesses’ lack of interest or effort. With increased need to recruit and retain talent, the challenges of operating in a global economy, constantly adapting to disruptive technologies and attempting to meet ever-increasing consumer demands, leading companies understand the need to keep employees engaged.

The Engagement Problem

Still, despite increasing interest and effort, companies still struggle to create an environment that engages the employees that are so needed for business success. Those engaged employees are the ones who will be more innovative and collaborative. They will go beyond the basics because they feel they have a stake in the company’s positive outcome.

Gallup says engaged employees are “involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.” 

In other words, their behaviors show they care. Look at what happens when we map the traits of an engaged employee against the critical needs businesses have for the challenges they face:

  • Believes in the organization = Productivity & collaboration
  • Understands business context = Innovation, productivity & agility
  • Respectful & helpful to colleagues = Collaboration & transparency
  • Desire to work to make things better = Collaboration, innovation, productivity & agility
  • Keeps up with developments in the field = Agility, innovation & productivity
Unlike organizational culture or employee experience, engagement can be measured.

What Is Engagement?

What exactly is engagement, and how does it differ from culture or the employee experience? While there are multiple definitions for engagement, this one sums it up best:

Engagement is often used in the same breath as culture or employee experience, and while they are interrelated, they are different.

Unlike organizational culture or employee experience, engagement can be measured. We can assess employees’ commitment and enthusiasm and determine how invested they are in their work and in the outcome of the business goals. Surveys can tell how employees feel about aspects of their jobs, and statistics on absenteeism, turnover, ability to meet project deadlines, and even customer satisfaction rates can indicate how much employees are engaged. That degree of employee engagement can tell you if your culture and employee experience are healthy.

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