Employee engagement

by Hayley Oats and Vandy Massey

Why should we engage our employees?

Is there really anything to this employee engagement stuff?

In a simple word – yes!

Several studies on this issue have been carried out, and these indicate the following: employee engagement leads to

  • A reduced turnover in staff and therefore recruitment costs
  • An increase in the number of high-calibre applicants
  • Lower absence rates
  • A 20 per cent increase in staff productivity (according to ‘Driving Performance and Retention through Employee Engagement’, Lloyds Morgan Corporate Leadership Council, 2004)
  • Better customer service
  • Greater efficiency
  • An increase in bottom line revenue
  • Better brand experience and message
  • An increase in discretionary effort and lower overtime costs
  • Fewer/no staff complaints and disciplinary/capability issues.

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many other benefits to employee engagement, depending on the nature of the organisation.

Example

Cambridge County Council has successfully implemented working practices to facilitate employee engagement with 18,000 employees, as a result of which the council has improved their business and customer service. They sum up the importance of employee engagement with this simple statement: ‘18,000 ambassadors are better than 18,000 assassins!’

How do more engaged employees benefit the organisation?

Employees are the organisation’s interface with customers and clients, and the people they deliver services to. Engaged employees feel more loyalty to the organisation, its brand and values and act to protect it by working to promote the business, providing excellent customer service and doing their utmost to retain and attract more customers.

  • With 20 per cent more discretionary effort, employees work more efficiently and deliver more than their passive, apathetic colleagues.
  • Engaged employees are 87 per cent less likely to leave the organisation than disengaged ones and have low absence levels, therefore recruitment and absence costs are reduced.
  • Engaged employees support their colleagues and actively share knowledge, negotiating faster learning curves and therefore improving productivity and efficiency.
  • Employers want engaged employees because they deliver improved business performance.

What are the benefits for me?

Imagine you arrive at work and find that your team are already busy working away and there’s an excited chatter in the air, though you have arrived early! You open your inbox to find emails all thanking you and your team for your amazing service. These just aren’t emails from any customers; these are from customers who keep coming back to you, time and again!

A manager with an engaged team will experience the above.

In short, these are some of the other benefits:

  • Higher team productivity
  • Less time spent on people issues
  • More team stability
  • Team success
  • Team growth
  • Less sickness absence in the team
  • Less paid overtime – reducing the pressure on your budget
  • Team flexibility
  • Increased discretionary effort from team members
  • More passion and energy in the team
  • Better customer experience, resulting in repeat custom and great feedback
  • Increased motivation.

In addition to these, managers of engaged teams find that the team are more efficient and effective at solving work problems and any challenges that arise.