A vast majority of employees say they are disengaged or not engaged, creating an unproductive—or, worse, toxic—work environment.
The August 2009 Gallup Employee Engagement Index reported that only 33 percent of workers are engaged in their jobs, 49 percent are not engaged, and 18 percent are actively disengaged. The Gallup Organization defines the categories as follows:
Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.
Non-engaged employees have essentially “checked out.” They sleepwalk through workdays. They put in time but don’t approach their work with energy or passion.
Actively disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what engaged co-workers accomplish.
Gallup researchers, who base the Employee Engagement Index on a survey of nearly 42,000 randomly selected adults, estimate that disengaged workers cost U.S. businesses as much as $350 billion a year.
While troubling, these figures could also be viewed as an opportunity to re-engage a large percentage of disengaged workers—and reap financial benefits. Other research shows that companies with highly engaged employees perform better: Gallup’s 2009 analysis of 199 surveys found that business units scoring in the top half on employee engagement double their odds of delivering high performance compared to those in the bottom half. Those at the 99th percentile are nearly five times more likely to deliver high performance than those at the 1st percentile.
In a subsequent study in January of this year, Gallup researchers found that companies in the top 10 percent on employee engagement bested their competition by 72 percent in earnings per share during 2007-08. For companies that scored beneath the top quartile, earnings fell 9.4 percent below their competition.
And in a September 2009 study of 50 multinational companies, the London office of Towers Perrin, now Towers Watson, documented the impact of engagement on financial performance. The report found that during a span of 12 months, companies with high levels of engagement outperformed those with less-engaged employees in operating income, net income growth rate and earnings per share growth rate.
“Our research shows that the connection between employee engagement and business performance is [a stronger] indicator than any other measure of employee attitude and business performance,” explains Julie Gebauer, managing director at Towers Watson in New York. It “makes a difference in terms of dollars and cents.”
Reports such as these have piqued the interest of executives seeking to move the needle of engagement in their favor. HR professionals are now bombarded with a multitude of sales pitches for survey tools, models, books and technology—all promising to deliver improved employee engagement.
Yet “Employee engagement is not an expensive undertaking,” says David Zinger, a consultant based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
To read the complete article on cutting through the hot air about engagement to find factors that motivate your employees, follow the link below: