How Employee Engagement Affects Productivity and Your Bottom Line
Our latest Share |Learn | Inspire event focused on productivity and was the sequel to the previous week’s engaging your leader fishbowl session – this time it was senior leaders doing the listening at generous hosts Squire Patton Boggs in central Birmingham.
Exec Director of Engage for Success Cathy Brown began by describing how research shows that about a third of people working in the western world remain disengaged at work.
Greater Birmingham Engage for Success Network members heard last week about the importance of using data to demonstrate the effectiveness of employee engagement. Cathy spoke of the clear correlation between engagement and important metrics such as sickness absence and productivity. Looking into the future Cathy talked about the increased importance of engagement in a more fluid, less deferential world where organisations will need to be more orientated than ever to consumer preference. Further she warned, with artificial intelligence and automation potentially depopulating the workplace, Cathy encouraged leaders to focus on the Four Enablers of Engagement to automatically take care of the human side of their business.
Costs Of Disengagement
Members also heard how focusing on the hidden costs of failing to engage can be a helpful way of demonstrating the benefit of investing. Ramez Moussa, Partner at Squire Patton Boggs and host for the event, took us on an imaginary journey into the dystopian world of the disengaged workplace. A workplace where disenchanted staff muddle along at one third of capacity yet find the time to send a depressing and stagnating ripple effect to colleagues. A business with high recruitment and retention costs compared to more engaging competitors – engaged staff are 87% less likely to leave an organisation. There is even evidence, Ramez revealed, that disengaged staff are literally a danger to themselves at work given that some studies show the disengaged are more likely than the engaged to have experienced an industrial injury.
Taking us into the real world of employment law, Ramez described the way legal disputes concerning employment often have a root cause in disengagement. Counter-productive, costly ‘capability’ hearings can become commonplace and organisations succumb to grievance proceedings, growing long-term sickness, tribunal claims and myriad costs. Carrying these deadweight costs on the balance sheet when the cultural, practical and revenue generating benefits of engaging with employees are obvious is plainly wrong. From a cost benefit perspective, every leader should draw the obvious conclusion: taking employee engagement seriously is a must.
Part Of The Day Job
Engagement Coach Amrit Sandhar moved from the why into the how in sharing his insight gained working with some of the biggest and best companies in the UK. Chiming with Cathy’s earlier points about the changing environment, delegates told Amrit that, if not built into strategy, employee engagement can sometimes be forgotten amid the increased sense of urgency we all face.
Why do we all say “I had a great day today – I got through all my emails?” argued one contributor. “Instead, we should be focusing each day on what we need to prioritise.” Group discussions also talked about not just working hard but engaging so that we work hard with the right focus.
“Employee Engagement is meant to be part of the day job,” reminded Amrit who said in his extensive work he found that “…when engaged employees are bought in, productivity is high and customers are happy.”
Engaging In Smaller Businesses
He encouraged managers and leaders in smaller businesses to:
• Constantly look for those human signs and indicators to understand how engaged your people are.
• Concentrate on performing the leadership role – as this correlates most strongly with good engagement metrics in larger companies.
• Remember that leaders who seek to establish and communicate the strategic narrative for the business are both energising and engaging.
Engaging Teams And Millennials
To achieve sustained engagement at the team level, he added that the challenge is to give people, especially younger people, clear rules, a sense of purpose, a sense of progress and regular feedback. This was heartily endorsed by one younger delegate: “Millennials like me want feedback, structure, opportunity and guidance. Give me constant clarity and feedback all the time and I will respond to that.”
Drawing the event to a close Elliott Mason from the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce talked about their growth and people campaign. This current drive recognises that people focus and engagement is key to SMEs wishing to develop skills, innovation and productivity.
Thanks are due once again to generous hosts Squire Patton Boggs who provided superb facilities and refreshments for all attendees.
Examples Of Delegate Feedback
“The speakers were absolutely fantastic.”
“Marvellous, really engaging.”
“Very informative and well presented.”
“Well conceived session.”
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Fiona Anderson, Valuing You