Don’t ignore an HR initiative that can raise profits by 6 percent
Employee engagement is an elusive, yet critical, factor in running successful businesses. When employees don’t have a personal connection to their work, they won’t make the important and sometimes subtle decisions that separate mediocre performers from stellar performers.
I ran across a helpful listing of the latest statistics on the state of employee engagement and some tips on how to improve it. The Employment Blawg by Manpower Group’s Chief Legal Officer, Mark Toth, includes the following disturbing statistics:
• Only 29 percent of employees feel fully engaged during their workday.
• Disengaged employees have worse health and personal problems than workers who feel a deep connection to their jobs. For example, employees with low engagement levels have more heart attacks and are hospitalized more often. Their negative attitudes on the job affect personal and family relationships.
• Most disengaged employees don’t recommend their company’s products, resulting in lost sales and branding opportunities.
• Disengaged workers are more likely to leave their company. That increases costs related to turnover and hiring replacement workers.
It’s clear that employee ambivalence raises costs and affects the bottom line. But what can employers do to start raising employee ownership? Toth mentions a few specific actions organizations can take to lift employees out of a malaise.
• Offer focus. Employees with a clear vision are less likely to become distracted.
• Grant flexibility. Flexibility is one of the top three engagement factors, according to a study by BlessingWhite. One of the most powerful flexibility factors is virtual work, which results in higher productivity and a greater sense of well being.
• Evaluate your meeting habits. Toth says only half of meetings are useful and with workers spending 744 hours each year in them, there is lots of room to give workers back time they could use more productively.
If you still are not convinced that employee engagement has to be at the top of your to-do list, here’s a telling statistic: Companies with above-average worker engagement have 6 percent higher net profit margins, according to Towers Watson. Now that’s a program that offers bang for your buck.