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Studies have shown that companies with highly engaged staff have greater profitability than those with disengaged workers – so how can we understand this link, and use it to our advantage?

There are a couple of important planks of employee engagement that must be recognized. Firstly, an engaged employee is one who is passionate and highly involved in their work and gains a sense of fulfillment from what they do.

Anyone can be passionate about their work – whether a surgeon, an office manager or a waiter. If they truly care about and enjoy what they do, and believe that their work is important, then they will derive satisfaction it.

But it takes more than this to make up the puzzle of employee engagement. The worker must also be satisfied and content with their working conditions and environment, and feel respected and cared for by their organization.

Together these two factors drive engagement for an individual. Gallup’s recent State of the American Workplace study shows that on average in US companies, 30% of workers are engaged, 52% are disengaged, and 18% are highly disengaged.

Gallup puts the cost of these disengaged workers, in terms of lost productivity, at between $US450-550 million each year.

So, let’s now look at the 30% of workers that are engaged, and how they contribute to better outcomes for your business.

When you have a high proportion of engaged employees in your workforce, a spin-off effect will be that you enjoy low rates of attrition or staff turnover. People will stay with the company because they are happy where they are.

This is a major cash saver for your business because the fewer resignations you incur, the less time and money you spend hiring and training new people.

You will also find that your customers receive a high level of service because your staff members are dedicated, enthusiastic and strive to deliver good work.

Happy customers are loyal customers who will continue to come back, again and again, to spend their money with you, adding to your bottom line.

You may also benefit from word-of-mouth referrals to increase your customer base, above and beyond your own advertising.

Employee engagement is also strongly correlated with higher productivity. As your productivity increases, work will be completed faster, leaving time to take on additional work, drive output, and boost sales.

(A note of caution – although higher productivity creates an obvious opportunity to give additional work to your staff, tread carefully on this path. If you overload these hard workers with too many tasks, they will burn out and the level of engagement and productivity you’ve been enjoying will start to fall away.)

Ultimately, building an engaged workforce will allow you to grow your business by expanding your customer base and making more profit which can then be invested back into the organization.