Employee engagement: why does it matter?

‘A CEO was asked how many people work in his company. “About half of them,” he responded’.

Bet that made you laugh or, at the very least, crack a wry smile. But what this joke highlights is an important aspect of organisational performance which can make or break a business.

In this instance, the CEO is the poor protagonist and his employees the idle antagonists. But what if the tables were turned? What if those ‘idle’ employees were only distanced from their work because they weren’t engaged in what they were actually doing? Suddenly, that CEO doesn’t seem as hard-done by, does he? In fact, the joke is on him.

Employee engagement is crucial to any organisation. When employees are engaged, they’re more committed to their work, more dedicated to their organisation, and more driven to reach new levels of success. More engagement equals better performance. And less engagement leads to disheartened team members and stalled organisational growth.

Given that UK productivity has stagnated since 2008/9, only around a third of UK employees are actively engaged at work, and 20 million workers are not demonstrating their full capability or realising their potential, employee engagement has never been so important. It’s imperative that senior managers engage their employees so they continue to perform and drive their organisations down the rocky road to success.

Employees are regarded as an organisation’s best asset, but, as Evan Rosen notes in her book The Culture of Collaboration, they are underused. This is because many organisations operate (however consciously) on a command-control basis, in which employees are seen as mere tools whose jobs are to carry out the orders of senior management. But employees aren’t tools – they’re individuals who can contribute a wealth of ideas and insight. It’s up to managers to find ways of unlocking this potential.

Engage for Success’ David MacLeod and Nita Clarke found that there are 4 common themes to facilitating successful employee engagement. These are:

  1. Strategic Narrative – clearly communicating the organisation’s story: where it came from, what it’s about, where it’s going
  2. Engaging Managers – recognising that managers are key to employee engagement; by acting as coaches they are able to stimulate engagement amongst their team members
  3. Employee Voice – encouraging employees to share their thoughts and opinions; they should/need to be recognised as crucial to the organisation
  4. Integrity – constantly reinforcing the organisation’s values – they need to be demonstrated throughout the organisation on a daily basis.

If these 4 themes are adhered to, employees will be up-to-speed with and more committed to their organisation’s goals, have better relationships with their line managers and feel valued within the organisation. And they’ll be more engaged!

Here’s something to think about – isn’t it significant that the word ‘company’ is used to connote both an organisation and the act of spending time and engaging with others?

PRINT® works to increase employee engagement by fostering deeper understanding and improved communication at all levels of an organisation. It shines a light on our Unconscious Motivators – the driving force behind our behaviours. And knowing this gives lots of ‘aha’ moments that help people to create and foster better and more productive working relationships.

For more information on how PRINT could benefit yourself or your organisation, email hello@discoveryourprint.co.uk, visit our website and social media, or sign up to our mailing list. If you’d like to bring PRINT’s benefits to organisations and businesses, we offer Accreditation courses enabling in-house coaches and learning & development professionals to become certified PRINT coaches.