As executives and managers in organizations, we don’t need research and statistics to tell us that engaged employees are better performers. We have witnessed firsthand how engaged employees are happier, more involved, and ultimately, more productive. They are less likely to be chronically late or absent. They are also our organization’s biggest advocates. We all know how important it is to have engaged employees.
The research evidence supporting our observations is overwhelming. Consider these employee engagement facts from Gallup when comparing top quartile engaged companies vs. bottom quartile:
Engaged employees have:
- 48% FEWER safety incidents
- 41% FEWER quality incidents
- Absenteeism is 43% LOWER
- Customer ratings are 10% HIGHER
- Productivity is 21% HIGHER
- Profitability is 22% HIGHER
The research and the studies prove that engaged companies outperform their competition. They have even reported that disengaged employees cost the country somewhere between $450 and $550 billion each year. And yet many are skeptical about employee engagement surveys. If you are one of these people, there is a reason why. Traditional engagement surveys measure the outcomes of engagement.
Consider your body’s health. There are a lot of tests a health practitioner can run to measure how healthy you are. Blood pressure and heart rate are a few indicators of good health.
Engagement surveys measure the indicators of employee engagement. It isn’t possible to directly treat the indicator to solve the root cause. Let’s say you have a fever or a headache; you might take Tylenol to relieve the symptom. You may feel better for a while, but the underlying cause had not been addressed. The same can be said when trying to improve an indicator of poor employee engagement. You may enjoy temporary results; however, the root cause will not have been dealt with. Employee engagement scores may go up a bit, but they will not improve for the longer term.
While these surveys validate how significant employee engagement is, they do little to help us achieve it. We don’t see a comparison between a time when the organization suffered from low employee engagement and when it was improved. What actions did they take to drive engagement? Where is the research that shows how these studied companies measure employee engagement?
We all know how critical employee engagement is, but how many truly understand what it means and how to gauge it? How do we rate passion for the work? How do we put a numerical value on camaraderie, accountability, and loyalty? Is it determined by their attendance record or the quality of their work?
Because many employers define employee engagement as the employee’s level of work-related happiness – is it really just a matter of asking how satisfied they are?
Let’s all agree that employee engagement is crucial to an organization’s productivity and profitability. However, employee engagement surveys are only measuring symptoms. And the research is only validating something we already knew.
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