I skipped rather quickly over the definition of engagement in my last post, so I’d like to step back for a minute to review this concept in more detail, and particularly its business value.
Generally speaking, engaged employees are passionate employees. They understand and are committed to their company’s mission, vision, and values. They recognize that their individual role and actions will impact the company, and how. They voluntarily spend additional effort and exceed job requirements to help a company meet its goals. And they do all of this not for tangible benefits, but because they are personally committed to the organization and its success.
Sound too good to be true? Well, it’s not.
Top performing businesses understand that these employees do exist and the tangible benefits they bring to an organization. Several independent studies (by very credible sources) support the correlation between engagement and business results. In its Global Workforce Study 2007-2008, Towers Perrin reported that companies with high employee engagement enjoyed a 19% increase in operating income over a one-year period. In the same timeframe, companies with low engagement saw a drop in operating income of more than 32%.
Watson Wyatt’s 2008/2009 WorkUSA Report found that engaged employees are more likely to be top performers, exceed expectations, and support management change initiatives. Their employers, on average, boast 26% higher employee productivity, have lower turnover, and attract top talent.
But while the numbers are compelling, they are not the entire story.
Engaged employees can, and likely will be, a company’s best advocates and brand ambassadors. They create a positive corporate culture that supports an organization’s values and moves it toward its goals. “Best places to work” rankings and word of mouth leave no doubt companies can build a strong reputation founded on an engaged workforce.
But if, as most estimates say, only a small percentage of today’s workforce is actually engaged, there clearly is a significant business opportunity to be had for companies willing to invest the time and effort on an internal communications plan to further engage this critical audience.
(Photo credit: Pacific Adventure)