Research is confirming the interconnectedness of engaged employees and profitable companies, although it may be impossible to determine which comes first -- the engagement or the productivity. Too many companies, however, put up roadblocks that hamper engagement.
By Kristen B. Frasch
It's pretty commonly understood that engaged employees and productive organizations go hand in hand. It's also pretty commonly agreed that it's difficult to determine -- in a chicken-or-egg scenario -- which comes first, engaged employees or productive and profitable work environments.
So it comes as no surprise that three recent reports -- from Gallup, Towers Watson and the Hay Group -- look at how intertwined and interdependent the two forces really are.
In interviews with close to 7,000 adult American workers at the end of 2010 and the first half of 2011, Washington-based Gallup found employees who are engaged in their work are about twice as likely (43 percent) to report their organizations are hiring as those who are actively disengaged (21 percent).
By the same token, workers who are actively disengaged and emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace (30 percent and 20 percent, respectively) are far more likely to report their organizations are letting people go than those who are engaged (13 percent).
Gallup's employee-engagement index is based on worker responses to 12 actionable workplace elements linked to performance outcomes, such as productivity, customer service, quality, retention, safety and profit.
But are engaged employees creating profitable environments in which hiring is active? Or is the productivity and hiring activity of a successful company creating engagement?
In a study co-authored by Patrick Kulesa, global research director in New York-based Towers Watson's organizational survey practice, that engagement-performance phenomenon is aptly referred to as "a virtuous cycle."
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