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DEAR WORKFORCE

Increasing Engagement Programs

Engagement is not a priority for our organization. What can be done to increase the buy-in of senior leaders on the need for engagement programs?

—We Care: Execs Not So Much, talent coordinator, science and education, Denver, Colorado

September 16, 2013
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Dear We Care:

Simply put, your organization has missed a golden opportunity.  Before showing you why and what might be done to correct this ignorance, I’d like to clarify that the effort should not be directed toward an engagement program, but rather toward employee engagement itself. Many organizations institute engagement programs, only to find themselves lost in meaningless and ineffective action-planning and survey measurement. The smart best-in-class organizations recognize that engagement is an undying journey of accountability and continuous improvement, not a “check-off-the-list” program.

To become the best in the business, it is essential to employ the best people. A phenomenal team of dedicated employees is truly the foundation for supreme organizational success. A culture of employee engagement draws the most talented employees to the workplace, empowers them, and sustains an environment in which they are more likely to stay. Such a culture is marked by engaged employees who share a strong desire to be part of the value the organization creates.

Engaged employees possess an intellectual commitment and emotional bond (e.g., pride, passion, enthusiasm) to their employer, an eagerness to exert extra discretionary effort and stellar creativity, as well as a willingness to accept some personal ownership for their own level of Engagement, all leading to maximized outcomes for customers, the organization, and themselves. Engaged employees are likely to recommend their organization as an employer of choice, as well as promote the organization’s products and/or services.

The bottom line, employee engagement matters. Our research shows that engaged employees are:

  • Ten times more likely to feel good work is recognized.
  • Ten times more likely to feel senior management is concerned about employees.
  • Eight times more likely to feel their supervisor encourages their growth.
  • Seven times more likely to feel they receive regular and useful performance feedback.
  • Four times more likely to be satisfied with their job.
  • Four times less likely to think about leaving the organization.

The latter statistic is even more compelling since employee turnover costs the American economy over $300 billion per year. Here are some other persuasive factors you can bring to the doorstep of your senior leaders who lack the passion about and for employee engagement:

Engagement drives greater compliance with workplace-safety rules and thus fewer workplace accidents and the corresponding disability and death-cost disbursements.

Contrary to some of the recent misinformation reported in the press, engaged employees are the better performers. To assert that the disengaged employees are actually better performers is simply ludicrous and against the years of solid scientific research. Why would 89 percent of the engaged employees receive the top performance rankings if they were not the best performers?

Managers in the healthcare industry know how engagement actually saves lives. Americans are five times more likely to die of a hospital-borne infection than they are of a homicide, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – largely due to healthcare workers failing to wash their hands or to wash them properly. Several years ago, HR Solutions released a study showing that there was a nearly perfect correlation between employee engagement and hand-washing compliance. Conversely, disengaged employees are not policy compliant and thus, are contributing to hundreds of thousands needless hospital deaths.

Finally, if at the end of the day your senior leaders care so little about the people-related benefits of employee engagement, then “show them the money.” About 15 years ago, a first-of-its-kind study by The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania proved that the most engaged companies – those in the top 10 percent – were three and one-half times more profitable than the companies with average engagement levels.

SOURCE: Kevin Sheridan, author of Building a Magnetic Culture, Winnetka, Illinois, August 18, 2013

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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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