Employee engagement has become a “buzz phrase” thrown around in survey tools, HR articles, and organizational culture discussions. While most everyone agrees it’s important, there is no universal definition.
So, what’s it mean and why does it matter?
What Is REAL Employee Engagement?
Many of the explanations across the web and business world equate employee engagement to:
- Commitment to the organization’s goals and values
- Job satisfaction
While those things are certainly important – and may result from employee engagement – they are too narrow to define it. Employee engagement is not just about how you communicate, the work environment and whether employees know the goals of the company.
There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow. ~ Jack Welch
As I mentioned in my April article on change, I define it this way:
Employee engagement is involving employees meaningfully in planning, decisions and problem solving.
Emma Bridger, author of Employee Engagement, defines it as: “the extent to which people are personally involved in the success of a business.”
What these definitions have in common are the keys to what I call REAL Employee EngagementTM:
- Results oriented: it’s about achieving results through work such as problem solving, creating and planning.
- Empowering: it provides opportunities for employees to be actively involved and contribute in meaningful ways – meaningful to them and the organization.
- Authentic: it means being open to what employees can contribute, taking input in good faith and with plans to act on it – or at least explore it, since you don’t know in advance what will be offered.
- Learning: done right, employee engagement provides an opportunity for people in the company to learn from one another, taking advantage of the different perspectives that come from a variety of levels, positions, backgrounds and personal qualities.
The firm Gallup recently found that only 15% of employees worldwide (155 countries) are engaged at work. Their results are based on a series of 12 questions and tied to their definition of engaged as “highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace.”
What Are the Benefits?
The benefits are broad: employees, customers and the organization all see improvements. In the process of engaging employees, you achieve many of the things other people call employee engagement. You also achieve much more!
Engaged employees help you achieve:
1. Bottom line benefits (lower costs, higher profits)
2. Lower employee turnover
3. Higher customer satisfaction
4. Increased productivity
These benefits are well supported by research. For simplicity, I’m only going to quote Gallup’s Sate of the Global Workplace 2017 Report (page 41). Here are just some of the great results for those in the top quartile, compared to the bottom.
- Profitability (21%)
- Sales (20%)
- Productivity (17%)
- Customer metrics (10%)
- Safety Incidents (70%)
- Turnover (42% as an average for the results of both high & low-turnover organizations)
- Absenteeism (41%)
- Quality defects (40%)
I believe passionately in the power of engaged employees to help achieve company goals, creating a more desirable workplace along the way. Let me help you create and implement plans to reap the benefits of employee engagement! Send me a message.