Employee Engagement: Making Business Better

Have you ever heard the phrase, “If you love w you do you’ll never work another day in your life.” Well then, you’ve heard of employee engagement. Why does it matter to you? Article after article cites employee engagement as a key element in business success. As a potential candidate in the job market knowing what engagement is, how it affects results, and how to encourage it, will set you apart.

Engagement Defined

Employee engagement goes well beyond job satisfaction. Engaged employees are passionate about their work and show a commitment to go beyond role expectations to succeed (Pickard, 2009). Engagement goes beyond simply being happy in your job; it is a complex combination of organizational culture, leadership, management, communication, and company reputation. There are multiple levels of employee engagement including: engaged employees who feel a connection to the organization, unengaged employees who are “checked out,” and actively disengaged employees who are more than unhappy but acting out their unhappiness in unproductive ways (Lockwood, 2007). An employee who is truly engaged has the opportunity to work to his/her full potential.

Business Results

According to research done by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), employees who are engaged do 20% better in their jobs and are 87% less likely to leave the organization (Lockwood, 2007). How have companies realized the benefits of these statistics? Below are some examples.

MolsonCoors: Engaged employees were less likely to have lost time safety incidents saving the company $1,721,760 in safety costs in 2002 (Lockwood, 2007).

Caterpillar: The construction-equipment maker documented $8.8 million in annual savings from decreased turnover, absenteeism, and overtime. Output from an Asian plant increased 70% in four months showing a $2 million profit increase and 34% increase rise in customer satisfaction (Lockwood, 2007).

Sainsbury: Breakthrough performance in sales, service, inventory availability, and attendance are just some results seen by England’s grocery chain. Their top 10 performing stores in engagement efforts outperformed those with the lowest engagement scores (Pickard, 2009).

From these examples alone it can be concluded that engagement has an impact on the revenue and expense side of the business.

Getting Engagement

Engagement is a simple concept to understand, but much more complex to deliver within an organization. Organizations with engaged employees have strong values, decentralized decision-making, clear communication, a culture of transparency, and strong relationships between leaders, management, and employees. In fact, the behaviors of managers that encourage engagement have commonalities. Following is a chart from the article “Employee Branding” by Jane Pickard (2009).

Behaviors of engaging managers

  • Communicates and makes clear what’s expected
  • Listens, values, and involves the team
  • Supportive, backs you and the team
  • Target focused
  • Clear strategic vision
  • Shows active interest in others
  • Good leadership skills
  • Respected

Behaviors of disengaging managers

  • Lacks empathy, interest in people
  • Fails to listen and communicate
  • Self-centered
  • Doesn’t motivate or inspire
  • Blames others, doesn’t take responsibility
  • Agressive
  • Lacks awareness
  • Doesn’t deliver

Teams who are engaged show clear sub-cultures of high performance and happiness. How engaged are you?

Works Cited

Lockwood, N. (2007). Leveraging employee engagement for competitive advantage: HR’s strategic role. SHRM Research , 1-11.

Pickard, J. (2009, November 5). Employee branding. People Management , 18-22.