Engaged employees have become an increasingly important priority for executive managers that we work with around the world, and business leaders know that high-performing employees are necessary if businesses are to grow, and sometimes even survive. They understand that fully engaged employees can increase the pace of innovation, productivity and profitability. At the same time they can retain their talents to a greater extent and drastically reduce their costs for recruitment.
Many management teams undoubtedly recognize a great need to increase employee engagement in their organizations, but lack practical techniques to work towards the objective. Harvard Business Review recently published a report in which more than 500 business leaders were interviewed on the topic of engagement. The report confirms that a number of best-in-class companies have seen their competitiveness increase significantly with the establishment of metrics and processes for effectively measuring how employee engagement affects the company’s performance and how using this information to drive improvement efforts can affect company results.
Among these best-in-class companies the following patterns were identified:
- They avoid routine surveys. Leading companies dedicate resources to develop critically important and distinct questions that go far beyond the concept that “Satisfaction”. The data is then thoroughly analyzed in the quest to find the real reasons why things work or doesn’t work, and where in the organization you can find hot spots or greater dissatisfaction. Senior leaders in these companies then use the information to guide strategic decision-making.
- They work systematically and diligently to ensure that the company’s goals are known and well communicated to every level in the company. Top executives set and communicate goals, middle managers are responsible for breaking down the goals to suit their business areas, and the employees are given the right conditions and tools to succeed in delivering against the objectives.
- They analyze the correlation between employee engagement and business-critical metrics and use the information to drive the improvement efforts which affect critical business metrics like profitability as well as customer loyalty and NPS.
Many companies that we work with are acutely aware of the amount of work needed to increase employee engagement in their organizations. Many of them also believe that it is complex to measure the relationship between engagement and other business-critical indicators such as profitability, customer loyalty and market share. It may require a decent effort by the company, and focus and dedication from management, to connect the company’s performance with employee engagement. However, there’s a great opportunity to gain a competitive advantage for companies who actually do it, and do it right.