You’ve probably heard of employee satisfaction and employee engagement, but what’s the difference? A satisfied employee is happy with their job, but an engaged employee feels invested in the organization, is motivated to perform at their best, and goes above and beyond to contribute to the organization’s goals.
Here are four ways employee engagement translates to business success.
4 Ways Employee Engagement Benefits the Organization
Before we dive into the merits of engaged employees—a great predictor of organizational success—let’s be clear: creating an environment that helps people feel engaged looks different in every organization. Even within the same industry, one organization’s values, leadership practices, and expectations are going to be different from its competitors.
While a flexible employee-engagement strategy is critical to success, it’s important to remember that the benefits of a highly engaged workforce are consistent no matter an organization’s industry or culture.
1. Organizations with Engaged Employees Have Better Financial Health
We know high employee engagement is correlated with higher average revenue growth, net profit margin, customer satisfaction, and earnings per share.
Engaged employees feel a sense or purpose and ownership that drive them to be efficient and creative. In other words, invested employees act like owners. They communicate openly about challenges, want to be part of the solution to create a better workplace, and act with the organization’s best interest in mind. They also experience an emotional connection to their workplace—they’re not simply collecting a paycheck. With committed workers, your goals and priorities become theirs.
2. Engaged Employees Are More Productive
Spectrum Health is an organization in Western Michigan with a mission to provide excellent patient care, which begins with engaged healthcare providers. Using an employee engagement platform, Spectrum solicits continuous input from employees and makes them part of the decision-making process. Employees are empowered to innovate, make changes, and ultimately improve the way they care for patients. Not surprisingly, Spectrum has won hundreds of awards and is consistently recognized as one of the nation’s top health systems.
High-performing companies strive for high employee engagement because they understand that engaged employees often identify the best solutions to address sticky business challenges and customer needs, in turn driving organizational success. For example, many roles have frequent customer interaction, making these employees best positioned to unearth buyer needs, guide buying choices, and deliver quality customer service. No matter the role, energized, committed employees are much more likely to go the extra mile for customers and the organization.
3. Organizations with engaged employees have higher employee retention
Improving employee engagement is a critical strategy for organizations that want to address employee turnover. Disengaged employees are 12 times more likely to leave their jobs over a one-year period than highly engaged employees. Disengaged employees may not form a strong connection with the organization, translating to less effort and more desire to leave when a better offer arrives.
Even your best employees may not truly be engaged. They might produce great work, but if they’re not invested in their role and the organization as a whole, you may be at risk of losing them. Not only is turnover costly, but also when an organization’s best people leave, it tends to create a domino effect. Organizations with high employee engagement are often letting their employees do what they do best. If your high-performing employees don’t feel challenged, or don’t see growth opportunities internally, they may look for other employment that will.
For example, Mimecast realized the importance of employee engagement, especially in the hypercompetitive cybersecurity industry. They found that their managers were not adequately equipped to act on employee engagement, so Mimecast implemented an employee engagement platform. This allowed the HR team and managers to quickly leverage employee-survey results for action planning. The survey results uncovered a need for more clarity around career opportunities, so managers took the initiative to implement new competency models and career ladders. With a clearer career path, Mimecast employees are more engaged, positioning the organization for success.
The opportunity to build employee engagement starts immediately—in the onboarding experience. New hires who have a poor onboarding experience are eight times more likely to be disengaged at work. While it’s typical for new hires to have significantly higher engagement scores than their tenured counterparts, 40% of employees who had a poor onboarding experience reported feeling disengaged after just three months and wouldn’t recommend the organization to others, according to a Glint study.
These insights emphasize the importance of taking a holistic approach to the employee experience, from onboarding to exit, and key points in between. Employee engagement can change over time, at key stages in the employee lifecycle, and across employee groups. With these fluctuations in mind, organizations can measure employee engagement and identify critical points where there is an opportunity to improve engagement and increase retention.
4. Employee Engagement Means Fewer Safety Incidents
Another unintended consequence of disengaged workers is less commitment to promoting a safe environment, which causes day-to-day operations to suffer. Employees who are not focused on their work or not committed to doing it the right way can be a contributing factor to more work-related injuries and safety incidents. This not only endangers other employees, but it also likely costs an organization time and resources to fix—with the possibility of slowing operations and impacting the customer experience. On the other hand, employees who are emotionally committed to an organization are less likely to experience a safety incident.
United Airlines is an excellent example of how employee engagement can help build a safer environment for workers. The airline administers a comprehensive employee feedback platform that ties employee engagement to the top five operational business metrics, including safety. Data indicates that employees responding unfavorably on key engagement drivers are 50% more likely to experience an injury than those reacting favorably.
The result is that predictive power has increased four-fold. United Airlines can now predict when an employee is going to be injured 33% of the time. This predictive power allows the organization to be proactive and implement increased safety precautions where and when needed. Ultimately, this makes United Airlines a safer place to work—a key advantage in an industry that demands the highest levels of safety.
Build a Better Workplace with Engaged Employees
When considering a course of action for creating a fully engaged workforce, remember that no two businesses are alike. Your organization’s recipe for success is unique, and increasing employee engagement requires knowing what organizational attributes lead to your preferred business outcomes.
Take time to analyze your requirements and build a tailored strategy that’s right for you—it’s well worth the effort. Increased productivity and profits, decreased absenteeism, higher rates of employee retention, and a safer workplace all contribute to a happier, more sustainable, and more profitable work environment.
The Business Transformation Network has shared this article in partnership with Glint.