There was recently an article in the Ivey Business Journal and actually found myself getting quite excited by the content of the article.
What excited me about the article was in part that it spoke to Canadian statistics; but mostly that it confirmed a belief that I have held thorough most of my working life with respect to the importance of employee engagement. I’ve been in positions from front line, to middle management as well as in human resources and training and development and I have often talked about my belief that to obtain better productivity, employees need to be ‘present’ at work (also known as engaged). They need to feel that the work they do really matters and they need to feel acknowledged and appreciated. Yes, I know – touchy feely words – but true!
I know there have been those who have accused of being too much of an ‘employee advocate’ at times when I listened to concerns employees brought me about their supervisors or management or perhaps struggled with changes they didn’t understand. I truly believed that listening and giving employees an opportunity to speak and to feel as though they were contributing in some way to the organization was good for business – I felt it was incumbent upon employers to help employees understand changes they didn’t understand – and to listen to concerns as well as potential barriers to change. Often, just giving them a voice helped them in understanding and supporting change, which definitely benefitted the company. In some cases, it even helped to consider another course of direction when changes were being considered for implementation.
The article I have referenced above provides some statistics from a Towers Perrin survey that I think organizations would be wise to pay attention to. (The survey was global in nature but below is just the Canadian statistics). In Canada:
- 17% of employees were highly engaged
- 66% were moderately engaged
- 17% were actively disengaged
In terms of global stats, Mexico and Brazil have the highest percentages of engaged employees, while Japan and Italy have the largest percentages of disengaged employees. What this demonstrated to those who collected the date, is that employee engagement has relatively little to do with macro-economic conditions but rather relates to the unique elements of the work experience that are most likely to effect engagement.
The work experience is the key – and this study validates what I have believed for years.
So, why should organizations pay attention to employee engagement?
New Century Financial Corporation, (a U.S. specialty mortgage banking company) found:
- 28% less revenue was produced by account executives that were ‘actively disengaged’
- 23% less revenue was generated from moderately disengaged account executives
Engaged employees also outperformed the not engaged and actively disengaged employees in other divisions.
What this further demonstrates is that employee engagement not only correlates with bottom line results – it drives results.
Employee engagement can not only make a real difference, it can set the great organizations apart from the merely good ones.
If you really want to have a better grasp of how to achieve employee engagement, I strongly encourage you to take a look at the article.
The authors also provide what they refer to as the 10 C’s of engagement.
In my mind, this article makes an exceptionally strong business case for the value of employee engagement.
I truly do believe that it is the people in an organization that make things work, the right people in the right jobs for your company. Good employees really are a company’s best assets – and yet it seems there isn’t a lot of effort put toward helping our ‘assets’ deliver their peak performance through engagement.
“Leaders should actively try to identify the level of engagement in their organization, find the reasons behind the lack of full engagement, strive to eliminate those reasons, and implement behavioral strategies that will facilitate full engagement.” Ivey Business Journal March/April 2006