A critical distinction that will determine your strategy!
Recent studies show that only one employee in three is “engaged in the business”. 50% of employees would take another job if they could, and job satisfaction is at its lowest level since measurement began in 1987.
Employee engagement is not simply being “happy”. What drives employees to be engaged (innovative, loyal, productive, effective, cohesive, committed to business outcomes) is much more than feeling “happy”. A Marine Platoon in Afghanistan is not happy, but they are extremely committed and engaged in their work. As senior business leaders, we must not lose sight of our primary mission… to engage and lead a group of employees to specific business outcomes.
- Truly Engaged employees have better morale are more motivated to perform
- Truly Engaged employees will stay with the company, be advocates of the company and its products and services, feel like true stakeholders, and have a sense of loyalty in a competitive environment
- Truly Engaged employees are extremely effective at cutting costs
- Companies with true engagement average 20-40% more profit than without
- Engagement provides a high energy, team oriented working environment
- Engaged employees serve as brand ambassadors of the organization
Is there a crystal clear, unmistakable linkage between greater employee engagement and improvements in company cost structure and/or profits? Or is that linkage only a vague, indirect, or hoped for outcome of employee engagement? There should be tangible evidence of improved business performance – financial performance – otherwise efforts to engage are not decisive steps to achieve concrete goals but only a feel-good initiative.
In a nutshell, it is to align employee self-interest with the self-interests of the company, in an intentional, disciplined, objective manner. Your ability to create and sustain a culture of true individual and team engagement is highly dependant on the incorporation of these practices within your organization:
•Proper leadership structure
•Universally known and understood definition of performance
•Real time measurements that matter.
• Operating plans that enable, and are focused on, the pursuit of clearly defined objectives – daily, weekly, monthly, and annually
• Monthly variation in compensation linked to business results
True employee engagement is a serious and intentional leadership initiative with fundamental structural requirements. Don’t confuse happy and content with engaged. It could cost you millions.