Rodger Jones

Senior Strategist

How seven key staffers demonstrate the business case for engaging employees

Sometimes, fairy tales do come true. Or, rather, moments of truth can be gleaned from fairy tales. Seven princess’ assistants who whistle while they work, despite an onerous queen and a seemingly unsolvable coma on the horizon, have taught us a thing or two about employee engagement.

Kevin Kruse, Forbes contributor and New York Times best-selling author, defines employee engagement as the intellectual and emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. Engaged employees possess a high level of enthusiasm and dedication to their work and often go beyond what is expected of them. This commitment goes well beyond whistling, and as a result, researchers focus on the strong relationship between employee engagement and business performance. Marketing leaders who understand employee engagement as a brand asset can affect the company’s bottom line.

The business case for engaging employees

For the full infographic, see “Why Employee Engagement Matters” on SlideShare.

Gallup defines three types of employees in its research:1

  • Engaged employees are passionate and feel connected to the company. They help in moving the company forward.
  • Nonengaged employees put the time but not the effort or energy into their workdays.
  • Actively disengaged employees tend to “act out unhappiness at work,” undermining engaged colleagues’ efforts.

According to the Gallup 2013 State of the Global Workplace report, there is a strong correlation between top-quartile employee engagement and positive business outcomes. Work units in the top quartile also saw significantly fewer issues:

  • Less turnover (25% lower in high-turnover organizations, 65% lower in low-turnover organizations)
  • Less absenteeism (37%)
  • Fewer safety incidents (48%)
  • Fewer quality defects (41%)

Disengaged employees cost money

Companies that function with a majority of disengaged employees are losing money — and investors. Through an analysis of 50 global companies, a 2012 Towers Watson study revealed that companies with low engagement scores had an average one-year operating margin just under 10 percent. Those with what might be considered high “traditional engagement” had a somewhat higher margin of 14 percent. Companies with the highest “sustainable engagement” scores had an average operating margin of 27 percent.2

The business case for engaging employees | Bader Rutter

For the full infographic, see “Why Employee Engagement Matters” on SlideShare.

Clearly, nonengaged employees also cost a company money. Gallup estimates active disengagement costs $450 billion to $550 billion per year in the United States alone as a result of high absenteeism, turnover, workplace accidents, quality issues and increased health care costs. In addition, for publicly traded companies, disengagement results in fewer earnings per share.3

We know teamwork and engagement when we see it — no whistling, singing characters required.

Evidence of engagement’s impact on the bottom line is a call to action for marketers to activate a strong internal brand as a tool to usher in profitable change. Learn the steps to internal employee activation today by downloading Internal Brand Activation: How to Align and Guide Employees.

The smart organization tailors internal practices to foster passions and activate employees, turning the average business leader into a hero.

Reilly R. Five Ways to Improve Employee Engagement Now. Gallup Business Journal. January 7, 2014.

How Does Change Affect Employee Engagement? Towers Watson website. https://www.towerswatson.com/en-US/Insights/Newsletters/Global/Sustainably-Engaged/2015/how-doeschange-affect-employee-engagement. Published January 2015. Accessed August 1, 2016.

Gallup Inc. State of the Global Workplace. http://www.gallup.com/services/178517/state-global-workplace.aspx. Published October 2013. Accessed August 1, 2016.

Photo credit: dlg_images via Foter.com / CC BY

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