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Why It Is Important to Have Engaged Employees?

Monday, May 23, 2011
posted by Lee Cockerell 5:37 PM

In my book  Creating Magic I give a long list of ways to make sure employees are engaged and committed to their job. Here is an intereting article on the subject. www.LeeCockerell.com….Lee

By Derek Irvine – Derekv Irvine is senior vice-president of global strategy for Globoforce. He is based in Dublin, Ireland.

BusinessWeek.com reader Derek Irvine on the importance of engaging employees strategically and
authentically

As someone whose job it is to advise companies on employee engagement, I was
fascinated to read “Making Employee Engagement Fashionable” by the
CEO of Gucci recently on BusinessWeek.com. As I was moved to comment on the column,
strategic recognition is the key to fostering a truly engaged workforce.

As the recession drags on, company leaders are looking for any solution to boost
morale, increase productivity, and help gain competitive advantage. Employee
engagement is rapidly becoming the answer for many organizations, though many
remain confused about the benefits of employee engagement, what it is, and how
to foster it in their organizations.

Why should you care if your employees are engaged? The research on the bottom-line
benefits of employee engagement is clear: Towers Perrin has found that
companies with engaged employees boosted operating income by 19% compared with
companies with the lowest percentage of engaged employees, which saw operating
income fall 33%. What does that mean in real dollars? For S&P 500
companies, Watson Wyatt (WW) reports that a significant improvement in employee
engagement increases revenue by $95 million.

Productivity Boost

The effects of engagement on employee productivity, retention, and recruitment are
no less astonishing. Watson Wyatt further found that companies with highly
engaged employees experienced 26% higher employee productivity, lower turnover
risk, greater ability to attract top talent, and 13% higher total returns to shareholders
over the last five years.

Additionally, highly engaged employees are twice as likely to be top performers—and miss 20%
fewer days of work. They also exceed expectations in performance reviews and
are more supportive of organizational change initiatives.

So you’re convinced you need to get your employees more engaged. But what does
that mean? The definitions of employee engagement seem endless and include
increased line of sight, greater commitment, and willingness to give additional
discretionary effort.

Instead of trying to define employee engagement, I want to know what an engaged
employee looks like, how they behave while at work, and how to replicate that
in the organization. One definition of an engaged employee is one who gives
additional discretionary effort. That doesn’t go far enough. That additional
effort, willingly and happily given, must be put toward something that matters
to the company.

The most worthwhile engagement is seen in employees who happily want to give
additional effort and know where to apply it. This combination of action and
line of sight results in an engaged employee who willingly works harder to
deliver against your company’s strategic objectives in their own daily tasks.

Say “Thank You”

Now that we’ve explained why you should care about employee engagement and defined
it, there’s still one catch. Do your employees know your strategic objectives?
More important, do they have any idea how their daily work impacts the
achievement of those objectives?

In my experience very few line employees can even cite the company’s objectives,
much less articulate how their work helps achieve them. But it has never been
more urgent for every employee to understand precisely this connection.

You need to clearly communicate the needs of your company (e.g., your strategic
objectives) and show employees how their individual, specific efforts help the
company achieve those objectives. How? It’s simple: Say “thank you.”

During a down economy, when companies need employees to give more discretionary effort
to achieve critical objectives, strategic employee recognition specifically
acknowledges actions and behaviors that align with company values and help
achieve those objectives, encouraging employees to repeat precisely those
behaviors needed for the organization to succeed.

Recognition is based on fostering an environment in which employees want to perform, then
letting managers and even peers acknowledge exceptional effort and praise
deserving employees. All employees need recognition for their efforts and
validation that their work is appreciated—now more than ever. If the
recognition is for demonstrating a company value or achieving a strategic
objective, employees begin to see how their individual efforts contribute to
company success.

Strategic recognition is by far the most positive and effective way to ensure that
employee effort is maximized, aligned with company objectives, and reflective
of company values.

BusinessWeek.com reader Derek Irvine on the importance of engaging employees strategically and
authentically

 

 

 



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