Towards an Engaged Workforce.

Could we say engaged people increase profitability?

Employee Engagement is not soft stuff, neither should the term be reduced to ‘employees happiness’. Employee Engagement is a performance driver with a huge impact on the top and bottom line of our organizations.
Gallup regularly polls employees around the world to find out their level of engagement. According to the extensive Gallup Wellbeing study in 2013 a stunning 66% of the European Workforce are not engaged. These people are essentially ‘checked-out’. They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time — but not energy or passion — into their work. On top 20% are actively disengaged. These actively disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged co-workers accomplish.

Find here the complete Gallup Study — Employee Engagement Insights for Business leaders Worldwide (pdf).

“Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has towards the organization and it goals as well as the employees discretionary effort and willingness to go the extra mile.”

I think we all agree that the impact of disengagement on both people and organizations is significant. We see a higher level of absenteeism (37%) amongst unengaged employees, a higher turnover (25%), higher safety incidents (48%) and higher quality defects (41%).

In contradiction a higher engaged workforce shows a productivity increase (+21%) and a higher profitability (+22%). For the still sceptical readers, also other studies such as Towers Perrins Talent Survey or HBR showed the positive impact of employee engagement on the operating margin.

Personally I believe that ‘engaging people well’ is becoming one of the biggest competitive differentiators in business. Based upon my own experience as business leader and HR professional, I believe we are not so much responsible to motivate people (if only we could), but we are fully responsible to create an environment where people love to be, love to work and love to contribute. They will treat customers better, drive more innovate ideas and continuously improve your business.

Engagement Drivers

No doubt engagement drivers differ region-to-region and person-to-person. However there are elements that all highly engaged workplaces have in common. Let’s have a look how the best places to work succeed at employee engagement?

+ They understand what employees are thinking: get a permanent pulse on their workforce, stimulate online interactions to share thoughts and participate in lively debates and discussions.

+ They create an intentional culture: value the opinions of employees, communicate an environment of playfulness, share corporate values.

+ They stimulate open, honest communication: embed constant feedback loops, open and on the spot, both face to face and technology based.

+ They support personal development: know the development needs, help to develop professional goals and connect with colleagues to get there.

+ They engage in social interactions in- and outside work: commit to the communities where the organization lives and operates, bring people together, strengthen the relationships.

+They know how to communicate the organization’s story: not limited to employment branding, but clarity on the organization’s strategy, vision, culture and what it stands for.

Once we know the engagement drivers, the question remains how to organize them? About one year ago I got involved in a new tool that could significantly help organizing these drivers in a simple, visual and easy to use way: Meet Roger. The Roger app focuses on Informing — Connecting and Engaging the workforce. Meet Roger. Check it out, its’ a game changer!

Organizations and Employees are in the same boat

All parties involved should understand that companies and employees are in the same engagement boat. We have a mutual interest to get that boat in the right direction.
We all agree that people spend a substantial part of their lives working. Whether it is in a high-tech startup in Singapore, a social profit in Germany, a bank in Australia or a garment factory in the Dominican Republic. As a result, the quality of their workplace experience is inevitably reflected in the quality of their lives.
Enhancing that quality of life and achieving sustainable growth for companies are the key arguments to raise the bar on employee engagement. It’s possible and even not that difficult to achieve. But in the end it needs prioritization and the right tool to get there.

Follow us and make sure you get our next article on 08/02 : How to build an Engagement culture in your organization?