Employee Engagement: Increasing Organizational Success One Company at a Time

Posted by Allan Steinmetz on 6 February 2014

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

According to a recent extensive study conducted by Harvard Business Review (HBR), employee engagement is becoming a top priority for senior executives making 2014 the year for employees. Gathering data from companies all over the world, HBR has discovered that around 71% of people believe that employee engagement is a critical component to having a successful organization.  As a result, top executives across the globe are pumping the breaks to reevaluate the way they do business.  Rather than focusing all of their attention on incremental revenue, smart companies are turning to their employees for innovative growth. 

Recent studies have continued to show the positive effects that proper implementation of employee engagement programs can have on a company.  The study conducted by HBR found that only about 24% of employees are highly engaged at work.  This number clearly shows that employee engagement has not traditionally been a key component of business strategies.  However, with so many recent studies on employee engagement, it seems as though 2014 will be a year of change in this respect.  According to HBR, a highly engaged workforce can ultimately result in corporate growth, positively affect the bottom line, increase innovation, reduce hiring and retention costs, and create higher productivity in the workforce.  With such potential for extremely positive results, it is no wonder why leaders are beginning to turn their attention toward the well-being of employees. 

Now that we know what employee engagement can do, we need to learn how to go about creating a proper plan.  According to the recent study conducted by HBR, there are four key factors necessary to improve employee engagement.  These factors include:

1)      “Recognition for high performers”

2)      “Individuals have a clear understanding of how their job contributes to strategy”

3)      “Senior leadership continually updates/communicates strategy”

4)      “Business goals are communicated company-wide and understood”

It’s important for leaders to consider these four factors and develop a strategy around those.  It is clear from these factors that one of the biggest concerns in regards to employee engagement is communication.  Leaders need to learn to properly communicate with employees through the company to make them feel appreciated and as though their work is making a difference.  According to this study, leaders tend to be more optimistic on how engaged their employees really are.  This is due to a lack of communication with employees and middle management.  To obtain that highly engaged workforce, this gap needs to be closed to create a sense of appreciation for employees and so they are aware that their work actually makes a difference.  

Other ways to foster engagement with employees include top executives giving some decision-making authority to employees, passing some power and responsibility to employees throughout the company, receiving feedback from customers in regards to their work, and allowing employees to make their own judgments with more important tasks.  All of these combined will make employees feel appreciated, as though they are growing personally and within the company, and as though their work is actually making a difference.

As discussed, a highly engaged workforce can dramatically change corporate performance on many levels.  Take the time to review your engagement plan and see what you can do to make your employees feel more engaged.  Start small and work your way up.  A small step can be as simple as providing rewards, recognition, and feedback for their work.  Your employees are your brand; make sure they get the attention they really need!

"The Impact of Employee Engagement on Performance" from Harvard Business Review can be found here.