Note: This article is an excerpt from our new ebook, “The Employee Engagement Dilemma: Why Happy Employees Aren’t Always Engaged – And What You Can do About it.” To download and read the full ebook, click here.
The research is clear: engagement levels have a direct impact on a company’s bottom line. In fact, disengagement results in $450 billion in lost productivity each year. It also leads to the following:
- Higher absenteeism rates
- More safety incidents
- Decreased customer satisfaction
- More quality defects
- Increased rates of theft
- Reduced retention rates
To bring that figure closer to home, consider this statistic from Gallup: a single disengaged worker costs their organization $3,400 for every $10,000 in salary. When you consider that 17 percent of employees are actively disengaged (these are the worst offenders in the “not engaged” category), it becomes pretty clear that employee engagement is an issue that needs to be taken seriously if employers are going to achieve their highest levels of success.
It’s no wonder why employee engagement has become one of the top global business initiatives in recent years.
The Top Drivers of Employee Engagement
To improve engagement, we have to better understand some of the factors that positively contribute to an employee’s engagement level. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) studied this extensively and found that engagement had less to do with financial compensation and more to do with their work and the employee’s relationships within the organization.
With this in mind, the top contributors they found were:
- Relationships with co-workers
- Opportunities to use their skills and abilities
- The meaningfulness of their job
- Relationship with immediate supervisor
- A feeling that they’re contributing towards the organization’s business goals
- The culture of the organization
Now that we better understand some of the top contributors to employee engagement, let’s dive into the ways we can positively impact these areas of our organizations.
Engagement Area #1: Corporate Culture
When we think about culture, we often think about things such as dress code, flexibility, work environment and the employee benefits package. While these are all incredibly important features of an organization’s culture, however, they are more a product of the culture the organization created than a definition of the culture itself.
So, then, what is culture?
It’s the feeling you get from an organization –and the feeling you get from the employees who work there. This feeling permeates the organization and can be felt and seen everywhere: through its collaboration, creativity and the friendships fostered along the way.
To get even more specific, corporate culture is a reflection of your organization’s “why."
What is Your Why?
Your mission – or your “why” – is the reason the organization exists, and the reason you and your colleagues show up for work each day. It gives you purpose (beyond collecting a paycheck) that brings a higher meaning to your work.
If your organization doesn’t yet have a mission statement, it’s worth spending some time developing one. This statement should concisely describe your “why” so that both prospective and current employees clearly understand what they’re working towards each day.
As you might recall, “meaningfulness of the job” was also a key driver of employee engagement. By spending time thinking through your organization’s mission, and creating a statement around it, employees will have greater clarity around what their role in the organization is – and how it contributes to the overall mission of the business.