When you’re running a business, the purse strings are pulled in multiple directions. And the decisions you make regarding how, when and where to invest precious capital funds will be influenced heavily by what you’ll get in return. So, exactly what will improving employee engagement mean in your workplace. Where are the gains, and how can you justify directing time and resource to managing engagement, over and above other pressing business demands.
The fact is that your people sit at the heart of your business. Top class innovation, competitive pricing, snazzy branding and swanky facilities won’t make and sell your services. Your people will. So you’d better be sure they’re efforts are aligned with your goals. You need to know that they understand how they contribute, are motivated and driven to deliver, and are enabled to do so. From business strategy to organisational culture, are you creating the right conditions for high performance? If not, you risk losing them to someone else who will.
Engagement is more than a one trick pony and impacts many different aspects of a business. To demonstrate the breadth of impact that engagement can have, we have taken a look at it from three different perspectives – the employee, HR and a CEO – to illustrate the gains from everyone’s perspective.
CEO / Business Leader
Most CEOs and business leaders will be well aware of engagement and the growing importance of it. But how exactly does it impact those at the helm of the business?
Higher Productivity: Increasing your engagement levels increases productivity levels from the same number of people for the same operating costs. Yes, it really is that simple. You can either create an environment in which your people come to work and do what they need to do (at best). Or you can invest in engaging and enabling your workforce to deliver the discretionary effort that will help your business to fly. As for the value of that discretionary effort? Well, according to research by Kenexa in 2009, the UK’s workforces ranked 9th amongst the world’s twelfth largest economies (in GDP terms) when it came to engagement levels; were we to move into the top quartile, this would come with a whopping £25.8bn bonus in the form of increased GDP. What CEO or business leader doesn’t want a piece of that action?
Reduced Attrition Costs: The positive impact that a fully ‘signed up’ workforce can have on the balance sheet is probably the most compelling argument for focussing on employee engagement. Without a doubt, it will be the most persuasive case you can present to the CFO or the FD! It’s easy to monitor your employee turnover, but investing in the right tools will help you to understand the context of their dissatisfaction and how you can improve retention. Instead of just counting your attrition costs, why not work on reducing them? Do this, and you will, in turn, see financial gains through lowered recruitment costs, reduced training and on boarding expense, and improved productivity.
Reduced Financial Risk: No employer relishes the thought of litigation. Engaged employees are loyal and emotionally connected to the company. Not only are they less likely to jump ship to your competitors, they are also less likely to take the company to an employment tribunal, which, if the tabloids are to be believed, can cost you your life savings and possibly a couple of vital organs.
Investment: Any potential investor will want to review the business KPIs, among them the people measures, such as engagement scores, employee turnover statistics, employee sickness & absence trends and all the associated costs. Make sure you can show them results to feel proud of.
Awards: As well as something to feel personally proud of, awards are a constant source of free PR. Being publicly heralded as a great employer can do wonders for your brand and really help to get your business’ name out there for all the right reasons. And when the awards roll in, you can flaunt your success unashamedly.
Captain of the Ship: It is much easier to steer a ship full of willing participants than one with people who don’t want to be there, particularly if there are some choppy waters along the way. Avoid the need to throw yourself (or others) overboard by navigating your way to engagement success.
There are obvious benefits to being an engaged employee. Work takes up a sizable chunk of life for most people so if you are happy and motivated doing what you are doing then that’s great. But there is more to it than that.
Making Work Enjoyable: In an engaged workforce, labour turnover is lower and employees will benefit from more enduring working relationships. Moreover, engaged employees are fully bought into the company’s vision and aiming for shared goals, promoting togetherness, cooperation and working harmony. Making for a happy employee and a harmonious, enjoyable working environment.
Fulfilment: Engaged employees not only work harder, they are passionate about their work and will go the extra mile to ensure things are done properly. This enthusiasm is infectious and will drive standards of performance across the business. In turn, the employee gains from a sense of pride in their work, personal growth and fulfilment.
Trust: Engaged employees trust the leaders of their company to make sound decisions in the company’s interests, making them more open to accepting change and jumping on board with new initiatives, rather than being a stick in the mud. This kind of openness is likely to widen their scope of opportunity and broaden their horizons.
Career Consistency / Stability: Few people, even the most ardent job hoppers, truly enjoy the process of job hunting. Given a choice, most employees would rather see their lot improve in their current role, than have to jump ship to start all over again elsewhere in search of happiness. Very often, it can be one or two small changes that will make all the difference in an otherwise fulfilling job. Of course, a certain degree of movement and change for all the right reasons is healthy in any career (gone are the days of a job for life!). But there’s also a certain comfort and security in feeling engaged, supported, developed and secure in one’s current role and organisation.
If HR had a dream, it would be to have a workforce of fully engaged employees. Not so that they can put their feet up, but so that HR professionals can stop fire fighting and start working proactively. Here are a few examples:
Recruitment: With reduced labour turnover resulting from an engaged workforce, HR can avoid recruiting for the same role(s) over again, redirecting their focus to introducing new, impactful roles and ensuring that the team structures in place support the business goals.
Employee Relations: Engaged employees are exponentially easier to manage than disengaged, disgruntled ones and it’s more rewarding too. Rather than spending hours trawling through grievance hearings and disciplinary procedures (both of which will be reduced considerably in a fully engaged workforce) HR can operate a proactive approach to managing employee relations by identifying areas of opportunity to further increase engagement levels. Win, win.
Employer Branding: Engaged employees can be great ambassadors for your business. Social media has blurred the lines between personal and professional, making it more likely that people will talk/post about their employer in a public forum. Great news if the chatter is all positive, but of course, this can seriously backfire if employees become disengaged and vent their frustration to the world!
Benefits: Engaged employees are loyal to their brand and not primarily motivated by pay, opening up the opportunity to reward them in other ways. Cue some out of the box thinking by HR looking for new and exciting ways to reward staff through recognition and non-financial benefit schemes.
So, there you have it – the definitive 360 degree viewpoint on why creating a positive and engaged workplace culture, alongside an enabling and solid business strategy, really is the winning formula all round. Not just for the ‘feel good’ factor, but for real, actual results.
And that’s exactly why The WinningFormula can help your employees and your whole organisation to perform better together. Designed with every aspect of your business in mind, The WinningFormula provides a holistic assessment of your organisation; demonstrating where the missing links are that could prove the secret to unleashing discretionary effort, improving employee engagement, unlocking potential, and creating a true alignment between your people and your vision. Our online questionnaires can be sent business wide, or to specific teams. We’ll convert the resulting feedback into reports that tell you, direct from the hearts and minds of your employees, exactly what would make their jobs more fulfilling, more productive and more engaging – be that through changes to the strategy, the way it is communicated, the prevailing workplace culture, or simply the physical environment in which they work. You can trust in our combination of psychometric knowledge and web based technology expertise to deliver an engagement assessment that is seamless, hassle free, and piercingly insightful. We’ll tell you exactly what your people are thinking, and we’ll give you recommended and prioritised solutions. The rest, as they say, is up to you.