The most common definition of an organization’s success is its profit or revenue levels, or market share percentage. In the pressure and excitement to reach business targets, the key driver to all aspects of business success is often overlooked. This key driver which is what provides the real stimulus to the organization is its employees. They are the ones that make the products or offer customers the service. Essentially, they are the face of the brand. Employee productivity -individual and group- is what translates to organizational success. It is also a fact supported by decades of research that this productivity is related to the level of employee engagement.
This then throws up an important human resources question: How does employee engagement correlate with employee productivity and what is the implication of this correlation for the success of business?Fortunately, answers to this question exist. We found this through a combination of practical experience and an extensive analysis of time trusted literature. In this article, we summarize the answers to this question with available evidence.
The Wells Fargo and Best Buy Examples
We present two examples to highlight how Employee Engagement drives business success. Eric Mosley in an article described the story of Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo successfully measured employee engagement, using a tool that they termed the “happy-to-grumpy” ratio. In a survey of its employees, the bank collected and reported data on engagement levels. It also studied what motivated staff, with a focus on team member engagement. Analysis of the remote factors behind the data provided insight into parallels between projects and time periods. It linked internal drivers to business outcomes. The bank found a strong connection between high employee engagement scores and increased employee productivity as well as customer satisfaction.
The story of how Best Buy found similar results is even more intriguing. Best Buy had been tracking and monitoring its employee engagement and customer satisfaction levels separately. Eventually, they began to evaluate both measures together. The company started to explore how employee engagement and customer satisfaction related to one another. They wanted to make a case for strong investments in strategic employee engagement initiatives. So, they asked the question: Does higher employee engagement lead to higher customer satisfaction, which in turn translated into more sales? They found that indeed higher employee engagement scores did lead to better store performance.In fact, higher employee engagement results in higher focus on customers’ needs and a higher motivation to cater for these needs. According to The 2010 Harvard Business Review, the company discovered that for every 10th of a point it boosted employee engagement, its store witnessed a $100,000 increase in annual operating income.
Taken from Insync Surveys
The examples above clearly answer the question that has was earlier posed. There is a strong correlation between employee engagement correlate with employee productivity, and this correlation has a significant impact on business success.
The Lack of Engagement
What still remains shocking is the proof of lack of engagement in the workplace. In Gallup’s research, Annamarie Mann and Jim Harter report that only 32% of employees in the US are engaged. These figures drop drastically because worldwide, only 13% of employees in the workplace are engaged. In the past decade, there has been a lot of research works both published and unpublished which sought to relate productivity to employee engagement. All the investigations conclude by discovering that increased levels of employee engagement result in increased levels of productivity and more. One of the reasons behind the stagnant levels of engagement levels across the globe is a failure by organizations to realize the connectivity between production and engagement. Instead of directing attention towards improving engagement, they measure engagement. From our experience, that just doesn’t cut it. We have come to appreciate means of improving engagement. When engagement is improved, employees’ workplace needs are met or even exceeded.
The knowledge of the strong correlation between productivity and engagement then raises perhaps the most important question for senior management. The question is: How can business leaders, managers, CEOs, etc. tailor employee engagement initiatives to target increasing employee productivity.
Employee Engagement as key driver towards a more Productive Workforce
We highlight some steps that companies can apply to achieve this below. These steps are adapted from Eric Mosley’s article in combination with our own practice and research.
1. Determine what engages employees: Common knowledge has it that a happy person is a productive person. The same applies in the workplace. When employees’ needs are reviewed, revised and improved, employees are happy to go over and beyond the call of duty. As every person has a unique view on how to be more engaged, simply ask the employees what exactly engages them and what they need to be more productive. For instance; Do you know what are the most important characteristics of their ideal workplace? We’re sure that the answer will help to build a workplace where employees can be more productive.
2. Create an engagement baseline: An engagement baseline must be established. This serves the purpose of showing the status of employees’ Engagement in the company. It also ensures that there is level-set against which future success, such as increased team productivity, can be compared.
3. Regularly and consistently measure employee engagement: This ensures that the engagement program remains targeted. Measurement is done preferably Live and on team-level. Measurement indices may include reasons for recognition; program reach, and budget spend.
4. Act on latest measurement: Don’t stop with just measuring the level of engagement. This is just the beginning. Empower employees to speak up about the latest measurements continuously throughout the year and allow them to present ideas on how to become more engaged, and therefore more productive. This will invite employees to be creative and show a deeper understanding and appreciation of corporate entrepreneurship. Eventually, the presented key initiatives will make the organization more agile, customer centric and sustainable.
5. Analyze and utilize results: It is important that measured results be analyzed to ascertain trends and compare performance results. Trends that may be assessed include improvements in success metrics over baseline, productivity improvements in areas of increasing employee engagement, etc.
6. Report adequately to the target audience: Let employees know of the program efforts and successes. Also, allow them to keep track of their own engagement levels 24/7 in relation to the productivity of their team and organization as whole.
In conclusion, please note that any statistic that has got anything to do with company performance has employee engagement as the central focus. Enterprises that improve employee engagement do not just notice an improvement in productivity but in all sectors. Engaged employees give more than just productivity!