Every business leader in the world is familiar with the concept of employee engagement. As a concept, it has steadily gained traction and popularity within companies and with good reason. It is becoming an increasingly important factor in the success of businesses today. But just how does employee engagement add value?
It is a question that we repeatedly come across with our clients and in the wider HR world. There exists some ambiguity about the tangible benefits of employee engagement, which is perhaps not surprising when you consider the sheer volume of traffic discussing the topic. Generally speaking, the benefits of employee engagement can be split into three broad categories: employee, organisation and customer.
What is employee engagement?
Engagement is like a passion. Just like other passions in life – such as sport, food, reading – engagement at work has three defining characteristics:
- Time flies and people forget they are working
- Work gives employees energy; it doesn’t drain
- Employees feel motivated and want to do their work everyday
Experience has taught us that the perfect combination for organisations is when employees are engaged and committed. Simply being engaged in one’s work means there is little connection with both the business and the direction it is headed in (for instance think of a doctor more concerned with his/her patients than the hospital he/she happens to work at). If the opposite occurs, companies are missing out on the added value that engagement brings if employees are just committed.
Passion for work, combined with an organisational fit and support for objectives simply make an unbeatable combination. Just imagine what you could accomplish in your business if you could strengthen the two.
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Employees who are engaged in their work and bring passion into the work place put more effort into their work, are more productive, make more effective use of resources, act as the company’s advocates and are happier at work.1 A simple but relatively important additional added value of engaged employees is that they do not partake in counterproductive behaviour.
For organisations, employee engagement increases employee retention and loyalty. Highly engaged employees are less likely to leave and are less inclined to be tempted to look for jobs outside of the organisation. In hazardous industries engagement has also been correlated with increased safety levels. Perhaps most importantly, engagement has been linked to higher levels of profitability and business performance.2
Customers also benefit from employee engagement. Not only does customer satisfaction increase in the presence of engagement, but customers are also taken better care of by engaged employees. The result of which is that both customer retention and spending are enhanced.
Engagement has an array of benefits for businesses, their employees, customers and leaders. The bottom line is that engagement positively impacts business performance. In an increasingly competitive world, businesses need to stay agile enough to stay ahead of the competition and engagement is the key to this.
1. Bailey C, Madden A, Alfes et al (2015), Health Services and Delivery Research, No. 3.26. Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library;
2. Markos & Sandhya Sridevi (2010) International Journal of Business and Management Vol. 5, No. 12
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