What Happens When Employee Engagement is Neglected?

Valerie is currently the CEO and owner of Valerie Martinelli Consulting, LLC. in which she offers Life, Leadership, and Career coaching for women as well as various Management and Human Resource consulting services such as program development, management, and evaluation, human resource audits, and employee handbook and other policy developments.

A topic that has been discussed a lot this week in the office with my clients is employee engagement and business results. Employee engagement is the degree to which employees demonstrate commitment, belief in organizational values, pride in their employment, and motivation to excel. When organizations prioritize employee engagement, they are investing in the retention of successful employees and helps boost the organization’s overall level of performance.

Employee Productivity Data & Its Purpose

Let’s look at some data on employee productivity to see why it should be prioritized.

  • Productivity improves by 20-25% in organizations with connected employees. (Source: The McKinsey Global Institute)
  • Employees who exercise their strengths on a daily basis are 8% more productive and 6x more likely to be engaged. (Source: Gallup)
  • Teams with high employee engagement rates are 21% more productive and have 28% less internal theft than those with low engagement. (Source: Gallup)
  • High performing employees have three things in common: talent, high engagement, and 10+ years of service within the company. (Source: Gallup)
  • Employees who are engaged are 27% more likely to report “excellent” performance. (Source: Gallup)
  • 57% of employees who said they were very stressed at work felt less productive and disengaged, while only 10% of low-stress employees reported feeling this way. (Source: Tower Watson)
  • Work overload decreases productivity by 68% in employees who feel they don’t have enough hours in the day to complete their tasks. (Source: Cornerstone)
  • Businesses with a strong learning culture enjoy employee engagement and retention rates around 30-50% higher than those that don’t. (Source: Robert Half)

This data clearly establishes the business case for employee engagement, yet some employers have absolutely no idea how to ensure that their workforce is fulfilled and happy. Employees that are engaged, invested in, and enjoy their careers are more likely to stay in their positions longer. Each of my clients to date have left their jobs due to the culture, poor leadership, or lack of engagement in their organization. None of them have stated that they disliked their job functions. This illustrates that employee engagement plays a major role in decreasing turnover rates. So, how should employee engagement be measured within organizations in order to be meaningful and successful?

Stagnation does not just kill careers- it kills businesses as well.



Predicting Key Performance Outcomes

Organizations cannot accurately predict any type of performance outcomes unless they know what they will be measuring consistently. According to Gallup, there has been a well-established connection between employee engagement and nine performance outcomes, which are:

  • customer ratings
  • profitability
  • productivity
  • turnover (for high-turnover and low-turnover organizations)
  • safety incidents
  • theft
  • absenteeism
  • safety incidents
  • quality (defects)

Employee engagement is important even in an active or a tough economy. Engaged workers produce into what the organization is about and drive towards making a difference. This is why they are typically the most productive workers. Researchers have studied the differences between engaged and actively disengaged employees and teams. Those that scored in the top half on employee engagement nearly doubled their odds of success in comparison with those in the bottom half.

Companies with engaged workforces report higher earnings as well. This should not come as much of a surprise as highly engaged employees and workforces are more productive with decreased levels of turnover.

The Metrics Matter

When you speak to a job seeker who is frustrated with the fact that they would, in all likelihood, enjoy their position more if their employer spent time and resources actively engaging them, and investing in their growth and advancement. There is only so much that can be learned within a role before an employee will begin to feel bored, overworked, stagnant, and disengaged. And from my experience, this is the tipping point in which they will no longer remain loyal and will begin to start to actively search for a new position in an organization that values them and their trajectory. Companies who lack this type of willingness to engage their employees essentially lack the willingness to evolve and innovate as well. Engaged employees are much closer to the solutions that the best ideas that companies need in order to compete in a lively economy and marketplaces. Stagnation does not just kill careers- it kills businesses as well.

I was meeting with a client this morning and she was telling how her boss wants her to do cold calls. My client isn’t trained in sales nor does she have a sales background. She works in insurance. In this type of instance, her employer would be best served by an employee who is experienced in this area – unless he wanted to invest in some type of training for my client. Anyone who has worked in sales knows that it can not only be cutthroat, but your organization is relying on you for results. Without proper training, an employee cannot be successful. As you can imagine, she’s feeling quite disengaged and actively looking for a new job. If her employer – and others like him- had a better understanding that this type of spending actually helps to control costs. After all, 58% of employees say poor management is the biggest thing getting in the way of productivity (Source: Society for Human Resource Management) and actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 to $550 billion per year in lost productivity (Source: Gallup).

When employers and businesses are ready to see the light, they will learn that actively engaged employees are more productive and more likely to become an advocate for your brand. By improving engagement, productivity, and communications your brand will be strengthened, and your workforce will be better aligned to the organizational mission, values, and have an increased ability to drive consumer loyalty and impact revenue

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