March 31, 2017

Business Slow? Invest in Employee Engagement


Let’s get the simple explanation out of the way: Engaged employees are more productive. We’re talking major increases. A study by Gallup found “companies with an average of 9.3 engaged employees for every actively disengaged employee in 2010-2011 experienced 147 percent higher [earning per share] compared with their competition.”

Still not sold? Gallup also found that work units in the top quartile in employee engagement outperform bottom-quartile units by 22 percent in profitability and 21 percent in productivity.

All companies face financial challenges and wish to remain fiscally ahead. Business is about making money, after all. Blame the economy, investors, regulations, or a combination of the three, but at some point or another, business owners will be looking for a way to give their budgets a break.

While considering these savings, we hear the outcry of our employees. Disengagement levels are rising, and oftentimes, the solutions we’re offered just cause more budgetary problems.

But here’s the good news: The ROI of investing in employee engagement is real, and it’s within every business leader’s grasp.

The Bottom Line and Employee Engagement

There are numerous articles out there that discuss how employee engagement helps workers, but at the end of the day, we need to know what benefits it holds for organizations themselves.

As it turns out, investing in employee engagement doesn’t just boost your company culture. Engaged employees can perform better than your competitors do, which means your company will likely perform better financially overall. Studies have shown that organizations with high employee engagement levels can outperform those with low employee engagement levels by as much as 202 percent. Another study found that highly engaged companies have five times higher shareholder returns over five years.

So, how can you support employee engagement in order to reap these benefits?

1. Increase Communication

Begin by making it clear that managers and supervisors need to be involved in planning and executing employee engagement initiatives. If alignment is off at any point in the leadership chain, you may lose out on skilled talent.

2. Keep Managers in Mind

Your skilled talent includes those people who lead the employees you’re trying to engage. Managers and supervisors should receive continued training and appreciation so that they never feel stagnant in their positions. Not only will this keep you leaders performing to the best of their ability, but it will also ensure better performance among employees: People who work for engaged managers are 59 percent more likely to be engaged themselves.

3. Focus on Strengths

According to Gallup, “Teams that focus on strengths every day have 12.5 percent greater productivity, and people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job.”

4. Appreciation Goes a Long Way

This is the most obvious route by which organizations can increase engagement. That’s because the No. 1 reason American employees leave their jobs is a lack of appreciation.

Remember that appreciation isn’t about expensive onsite cafeterias and big-budget perks. It can be as simple as thanking employees for a job well done, providing volunteering opportunities, and offering opportunities for skill development.

A version of this article originally appeared on the iRevü blog.

Michael Heller is the CEO and founder of iRevü.

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Michael Heller has 20+ years of experience in strategic human resources, talent management, and technology consulting. As an HR executive at Washington Consulting, Digital Management, and Deltek, Michael led teams to develop innovative human capital management programs and initiatives. Previously, Michael held a variety of positions at American Management Systems and Booz Allen Hamilton where he executed on talent acquisition, total rewards, performance management, strategic HR partnerships, and philanthropy strategies. Michael serves the community as a board member of Teardrops to Rainbows, an organization dedicated to supporting the families of children with cancer. Michael has a master's degree in human resources from Georgetown University and earned his bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Connecticut. Michael resides in Gaithersburg, Maryland, with his wife and daughter. He enjoys cooking and college basketball.