Employers can take some heart in the knowledge that employee engagement sits near an all-time high of 34%.
It’s a sign of overall improvement but the flip side of that coin should still give you pause. After all, that same statistic also means that 66% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged.
You might wonder, “What’s the big deal about engaged employees? The work gets done, right?”
That is a kernel of truth in that thought. The work gets done. The real question, though, is about how well that work gets done.
Engaged employees don’t simply do their work, they take things up a notch. So, let’s dig in and see what you really get out of engaged employees.
Baseline Productivity Goes Up
One key sign of employee disengagement is absenteeism. Workers who don’t care about their job or actively despise it will miss more work. Offer paid sick time and those employees will probably use every second of it.
Consider it from the employee’s perspective. If your employee hates their job and their spouse says, “Let’s both skip work and watch Netflix all day in bed,” it’s not a hard sell. That employee will develop an immediate case of something infectious and call into work.
All of those missed days reduces organizational productivity levels. Say that you employ 100 people and 66 of them blow off work an average of three days a year. That’s nearly 1600 lost hours of work.
Even if those employees showed up and phoned it in on those days, it would still equate to a tremendous amount of extra work finished annually.
Engaged employees don’t call into work. There’s a good chance they’ll take less time off than other employees. If most of your employees are engaged, it inevitably boosts your baseline productivity
Discretionary effort is the extra work employees put in beyond what’s required to help out their team and further their career. Disengaged employees put in no discretionary effort. They work exactly hard enough so that you won’t let them go.
That extra energy they don’t put into the job gets saved for other things, like a personal hobby or finding a position at another company.
Engaged employees make a habit of going above and beyond. They come into work with fresh ideas. They stay late and finish that project.
There’s no easy way that you can quantify discretionary effort because it looks different on every employee. What you can count on is that your business gets more done when you’ve got engaged employees.
Turnover cuts into any company’s productivity and profit in many ways.
The loss of a trained employee means that their work gets dumped onto the remaining employees. That slows down those other employees as they try to meet new deadlines.
The loss of an employee can also demoralize the people they work with, especially if that person was a high-performer. Other employees can read it as a sign that the company is in trouble or just a lousy place to work.
Recruitment and interviewing soak up time and money. Then, you must account for lost productivity during the onboarding period. In fact, some researchers estimate that finding a suitable replacement can cost you twice an employee’s annual salary.
It’s no surprise that disengaged employees leave. Engagement cuts down on turnover.
People who like their jobs and find them fulfilling generally only leave if they must. For example, an engaged employee might leave if their spouse gets a dream job somewhere else.
One of the things that can cause disengagement is the sense that you’ve dead-ended professionally. There’s no apparent room for advancement, so why bother?
Offering professional development lets you keep those employees invested in your company. Even if you can’t promote them right now, they can expand their skill set. Just as important, those expanded skills might qualify them for a different, better position in the company down the road.
For the already engaged employee, it’s a perk that makes you like the place you work a little bit more. Plus, employees with more skills can accomplish more. That also boosts productivity and profitability.
Boosting Employee Engagement
Engaged employees invest emotionally in your business. In order for that to happen, they need something they can care about.
Here’s the catch: Even if all you care about is boosting profit every quarter, that won’t work for your employees. The one possible exception is the people who work on Wall Street.
People invest in ideas and dreams. Your business must likewise invest in one or the other to capture your employees’ engagement.
Before you panic, you don’t need a world-changing idea. Social mission companies already get lots of applicants. What you do need is a driving idea people can understand.
Let’s say you make literal nuts and bolts. What possible driving idea could you build into that business? Here are just a few ideas:
- Safest Company in the Industry
- Number 1 Company in Your Industry/State/the World
- Most Environment-Friendly Company in the Industry
Employee engagement isn’t just about ideas, it’s also about actions. As often as not, any number of policies or practices at a company make employee lives harder.
Talk with your employees, either one-on-one or via surveys, and ask what they would like to see change. Then, you must act on some of those ideas.
Whether it’s loosening up vacation restrictions or offering parental leave after a child’s birth, you’ll win a lot of goodwill.
Get More Done With Engaged Employees
Although you can’t put hard numbers on it, engaged employees add to your overall productivity and bottom line.
You see less absenteeism with engaged employees. They offer a greater discretionary effort. Plus, they reduce turnover.
You can boost engagement in several ways.
You can offer professional development. Implement employee requested benefits/changes. You can also provide them with a company idea that can invest in emotionally.
Training Amigo helps companies build and support a work culture of well-being with our cloud-based platform with data and analytics. For more information, contact us today.