By Jo Harley, Managing Director at Purple Cubed
There’s an enduring question in the press and within many boardrooms around the links between a highly engaged workforce and the bottom line benefits. Some still cite employee engagement as this decade’s management ‘fad’.
In our latest research ‘Engage, Enable Empower the powerhouse of organisational strategy’ 70% of respondents saw a clear link between employee engagement and productivity. Not one CEO thought there was no link and 72% said they have a strategy for being more productive.
And don’t just take our word for it. The Corporate Leadership Council found 71% of companies with above average engagement performed above sector average, specific examples include RSA Insurance Group who improved communications (with employees speaking to an additional 800 people per year) and Marks & Spencer showing higher sales and lower absence.
So the evidence is clear, the more engaged the people, the more productive the organisation. Yet 86% of board directors admit they are not developing adequate strategies around engagement; it’s no wonder we’re not seeing the benefits that can be achieved.
Perhaps the issue is to do with ambiguity is around what engagement actually means within an organisation and what needs to happen in order for this to have an impact and productivity to rise?
The naysayers will tell us that an engagement survey isn’t worth the paper it’s written on (or the code it’s programmed in) and we’d agree, as far as actually engaging an individual. What it can do, in conjunction with focus groups, is give you a quick temperature check as to the areas that need addressing along the employee journey which will form the beginnings of a strategy.
To get it really right, we’d recommend:
- Every leader to take accountability – it can’t be an HR initiative
- Put a ‘people plan’ in place – a blueprint for ‘how we do HR here’
- Digitise the bits you can, people expect it and the business needs it
And adopt our tweet size definition of what Employee Engagement means:
“The right people doing the right things, exceeding expectations enthusiastically”
By keeping it simple and ensuring it’s within your EVP or people promise, the results will come. After all, if you don’t know what it is you are implementing or driving forward it’s very hard to measure the impact of doing it well…