Engaged employees are every company’s dream
After all, who doesn't want an employee committed and passionate about their work in ways that advance the mission of their company? They are more productive, have fewer on-the-job accidents, less unplanned days off, and lower turnover rates. This ultimately translates into better customer experiences, stronger brands and greater bottom-line profits. All in all, this is the ultimate vision of employee engagement programs.
Above my desk hangs a plaque, given to me by a former boss the day I was appointed to management. The inscription reads, “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with the results.”—George Patton.
Patton understood on a gut level what we now have empirical evidence to back up: when your people are empowered and engaged, they will be committed to their work in a way that drives real results.
Consider the study done by Taco Bell which found that the 20% of its stores with the highest rate of employee retention showed 55% higher profit than the 20% of its stores with the highest employee turnover.
Why is it so difficult to improve Employee Engagement levels?
If we are to believe estimates that a mere 15-to-30 percent of American workers are “engaged,” then businesses face a daunting challenge. What can be done to engage the remaining 70-85 percent? Some companies have answered the call by pulling out the perks (pun intended), offering employees everything from free massages and facials to time off. While that's all good, indulging employees is no substitute for engaging them. In fact, according to a study from Gallup, engaged employees who took less than one week off from work in a year had a 25% higher overall well-being than their actively disengaged associates who took six weeks or more of vacation time!
A better approach to driving engagement is to create an atmosphere where the emotional and cognitive needs of the employee can be met. If you want them to give you their heart and soul then you better find a way to touch theirs. This atmosphere must include educational and personal development opportunities, a positive work environment with work/life balance, supportive leadership, as well as a strategically-designed recognition and rewards program, incorporating both intangible rewards (praise and encouragement) along with tangible rewards.
Work with your employees to find out what will motivate them, and then design a recognition and rewards program that links these things to specific desired behaviors that build your brand and further your company’s goals. Remember one size doesn’t fit all, so be sure to address generational issues when designing your program.
Proof of the positive impact of engaged employees is overwhelming. Companies looking to catalyze their brand and drive productivity and profits to new levels simply cannot ignore the call to implement an employee engagement strategy. Those companies that remain committed to these programs even in tough economic times will be better poised to weather the storms and emerge stronger than ever when conditions improve. Check out our resource library for more information on Employee Engagement and Employee Recognition.
About the Author
Deb Broderson comes to Perks with 30 years of diverse experience leading channel marketing, marketing operations and program management teams within the technology industry. Deb has provided strategic direction to Fortune 500 clients, developed and executed global, multi-channel, go-to-market strategies and created worldwide field marketing organizations. Deb has worked on both the agency and client-side of the business, providing a well-rounded perspective to client challenges. Deb was honored as one of the Top 50 Channel Chiefs in North America by CRN.More Content by Deb Broderson