A lot has been said and written about the importance of employee engagement. It’s crucially important to every organisation – but why? And how can you find out if your employees are actually engaged, as opposed to just saying they are?
Benefits to the organisation and to employees
To start with, employee engagement is central to both the productivity and financial performance of your organisation. It’s been documented that the costs of a non-engaged workforce are an estimated £60 billion in the UK, and $500-$600 billion in the US. Aside from the financial perspective, other benefits of an engaged workforce are well known and include things such as lower levels of absenteeism and a reduction in turnover as well as the positive effect it has on the overall well-being of the employees.
Engagement – What does the evidence say?
Don’t just take our word for it. Gallup’s State of The Global Workplace report – which analysed employee engagement across 155 countries between 2014 and 2016 – found that only 15% of the world’s full-time employees are engaged. In Western Europe, this number was even lower, at a surprising 10%.This means that, on average, only 1 in 10 of employees are actively engaged, happy contributors to the success of the organisations they work for.
But what happens when employee engagement is high? The report states that in the best performing companies, engagement was as high as 70% – almost five times the average.
This highlights the correlation between employee engagement and positive business outcomes. It also indicates the huge untapped potential available to organisations where engagement is low.
Better engagement can also lead to lower absenteeism, higher profitability and productivity, and an overall improvement in the work environment – imagine the difference it makes when your employees want to be at work, and do well!
What should you do if employee engagement is low?
There is no one quick fix to ‘cure’ disengaged employees – it’s very much a process. However, the process should always start with measuring the current level of engagement and determining areas where there may be challenges.
This serves two purposes, it provides a benchmark for measuring the success of any remedial action, and it will also provides management with an in-depth diagnosis of ‘where are we now’ and which areas to put effort into.
But the key is to follow up on the diagnosis with positive action. This is often where companies tend to fall down, they put all the effort into determining the problem without any implementation plan as they move forward.
It’s important to remember that engagement is a continuous process and not just something to look at when the going gets tough. So, what specific areas are important to continually focus on when building engagement?
The below six areas have been shown to have a direct impact on employee engagement:
What tools are available?
‘What gets measured, gets done.’ So how can we measure engagement?
One of our tools is Engage Enabler which is a detailed analysis we use to discover employees’ underlying, nonconcious perceptions of their workplace. This differs to the traditional way in which employee engagement is often measured, which is often done by self-reported questionnaires.
When measuring employee engagement and happiness, self-reported questionnaires do not assist in uncovering the nonconcious thoughts and feelings an individual has and they often contain biased responses. This is something our Engage Enabler tool can do, which is why it makes it a reliable source of information.
This is because it helps give a perspective on how an employee actually feels, rather than what they say they feel. It is originally based on the Implicit Association Test by Harvard University, which was designed to uncover hidden associations in individuals. It is an image based tool, which will trigger intrinsic and reliable reactions in an individual.
It identifies a focal point for intervention rather than asking for a cultural overhaul, potentially saving the business time and money – as well as unnecessary change and headache.
If you know how your employee truly feels, it is easier to respond to their actual needs and assist in managing changes and reactions. This will ultimately help you retain your top employees and avoid unnecessary costs such as recruitment, absenteeism, presenteeism and sick-leave all of which can have a huge financial impact on an organisation.
How do you think your organisation measures up on the engagement scale? Good? Average? Worse?
The good news is that even if an organisation finds out their workforce is largely disengaged, it’s possible to turn this around. This is something we here at Innovationbubble are passionate about, and we have the expertise to deliver insight into.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Author: Jessica Welch