There is still a huge chasm between knowing about the importance of employee engagement and doing something about it. With two thirds of western workers disconnected from their work, massive potential remains unrealized. How leaders interact with their employees is the primary driver of engagement levels in the workplace. This in turn directly influences the company’s bottom line. Companies that fail to support the soft skills of their leaders fail not only them but their employees and shareholders.
The following stats bear repeating:
- Fully engaged employees return 120% of their salary.
- Firms with the highest percentage of engaged employees collectively increased operating income by 19% and earnings per share by 28% year-to-year.
- Organizations with high engagement are 78% more productive and 40% more profitable than those with low levels of engagement.
- Organizations with disengaged employees had an average profit loss of $8000 to $10,000 per year for each disengaged employee.
- Engaged employees rate 86% higher with customers.
- Engaged workforces have 70% less turnover.
- Engaged workforces are 70% more productive.
- Employee dissatisfaction & disengagement costs US businesses dearly: between $254 billion and $363 billion every year.
- 79% of workers in North America are not engaged.
- Disengagment and negative health outcomes go hand in hand. Job stress costs the Canadian economy $12 billion per year in lost work time.
Tired, anxious, stressed out and disconnected people are definitely not the way to improve productivity, innovation and competitiveness.
What Needs to Happen
Research makes clear that direct supervisors are the main components underlying how much discretionary effort employees deliver to their jobs. An engaged employee puts their heart and shoulders into their work because they want to. This is where all of the magic happens. It is this extra effort that makes the difference between acceptable productivity and stellar productivity, a mediocre product and a superb one, adequate customer service and outstanding customer service.
- Start with selecting the right managers. Whether hiring from the outside or from within, select people for the unique talents that it takes to support, position, empower and engage their staff.
- Coach mangers, and hold them accountable for their employees’ engagement. Companies should coach managers to take an active role in building engagement plans with their employees, hold managers accountable, track their progress, and ensure they continuously focus on emotionally engaging their employees. The most engaged companies consistently make employee engagement part of their formal review process, and most use these improvements as a criterion for promotions.
Obviously, when one looks at the depressing stats, many companies are miles away from implementing these strategies. When two thirds of workers are either not engaged or actively disengaged, individual businesses suffer as does the economy as a whole. Is this what western economies need in the face of rising economies in the east? I thought not.