Business and organisations function best when they make their employees’ commitment, potential, creativity and capability central to their operation. Clearly, having enough cash, and a sensible strategy, are vital. But how people behave at work can make the crucial difference between business and operational success or failure.
Employee engagement strategies enable people to be the best they can at work, recognising that this can only happen if they feel respected, involved, heard, well led and valued by those they work for and with.
Engaged employees have a sense of personal attachment to their work and organisation; they are motivated and able to give of their best to help it succeed – and from that flows a series of tangible benefits for organisation and individual alike.
It is of course not that simple. There is no one agreed definition of employee engagement.
Employee Engagement is about creating opportunities for employees to connect with their colleagues, managers and wider organisation. It is also about creating an environment where employees are motivated to want to connect with their work and really care about doing a good job…It is a concept that places flexibility, change and continuous improvement at the heart of what it means to be an employee and an employer in a twenty-first century workplace.” (Professor Katie Truss1 ) “
A positive attitude held by the employee towards the organisation and its values. An engaged employee is aware of the business context, and works with colleagues to improve performance within the job for the benefit of the organisation. The organisation must work to develop and nurture engagement, which requires a two-way relationship between employee and employer.” (Institute of Employment Studies2 )
“A set of positive attitudes and behaviours enabling high job performance of a kind which are in tune with the organisation’s mission.” (Professor John Storey3 )
An employee might feel pride and loyalty (attitude); be a great advocate of their company to clients, or go the extra mile to finish a piece of work (behaviour). Outcomes may include lower accident rates, higher productivity, fewer conflicts, more innovation, lower numbers leaving and reduced sickness rates.
It correlates with performance
Levels of engagement matter because employee engagement can correlate with performance. Even more significantly, there is evidence that improving engagement correlates with improving performance – and this is at the heart of our argument why employee engagement matters to all organizations.
It correlates with innovation
Gallup indicate that higher levels of engagement are strongly related to higher levels of innovation. Fifty-nine per cent of engaged employees say that their job brings out their most creative ideas against only three per cent of disengaged employees.11
Outcomes of engagement
Engaged employees take an average of 2.69 sick days per year; the disengaged take 6.19
Seventy per cent of engaged employees indicate they have a good understanding of how to meet customer needs; only 17 per cent of nonengaged employees say the same.
Engaged employees are 87 per cent less likely to leave the organisation than the disengaged. The cost of high turnover among disengaged employees is significant; some estimates put the cost of replacing each employee at equal to annual salary.
Engaged employees advocate their company or organisation – 67 per cent against only three per cent of the disengaged. Seventy-eight per cent would recommend their company’s products of services, against 13 per cent of the disengaged
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