Employees represent the brand, the image, and core values of an organization. Those same employees are also responsible for carrying out the strategy and achieving the business objectives that have been defined by leadership. All of that becomes a lot harder to accomplish when they are disengaged and a lot easier when they are. So we pose the question…how valuable is it to ensure employees are engaged?
Some say employee engagement is the emotional connection that an employee feels for his or her organization, and that connection influences him or her to exert greater discretionary effort to his or her work. If this so, then employee engagement is a competitive advantage for any organization. It’s that discretionary effort which gets folks to go above and beyond the call of duty; it’s what will keep them committed in good times and bad, its part of a winning climate, and more. Words are cheap, so how about this, engaged employees perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to leave an organization. Apply those stats to your company, what do you see?
Don’t assume that since “the job market is so bad, my employees have no other place to go, and so we’re ok.” Employees sticking around (retention) are not engaged employees, it’s not getting the best performance from your people. Regardless of your retention rate, employees can have low engagement, and low engagement impacts performance and commitment, individually and collectively. So don’t think for a moment that just because there’s nowhere to go, that they’re so grateful to just have a job and that this is enough. Oh, and in case you haven’t thought of it already, someday, believe it or not, there will be other places for them to go. And go they will.
Your company is not immune. Engagement impacts performance and commitment now and later. It takes time to improve and build engagement, don’t wait until you think you need it to begin working on it. Measure employee engagement with a valid survey, now, then analyze the data and develop an action plan to improve engagement. Inoculate your organization before the tide turns because when the job market is booming again, your employees will flee so fast you’ll think your company has a disease.