The Importance of Employee Engagement

The concept of “employee engagement” has become increasingly mainstreamed into management over recent years and the reason for that is because it is actually a fundamentally important concept for employers.

“Engaged” employees are those who go the extra mile for their employers. They are reliable, dependable, interested, hard-working and bring discretionary effort to their roles. They want to play an important part in the business that they work for, can usually be relied upon to deliver consistently good results and can assume best intent in any given scenario. They take less sick leave than their disengaged counterparts. They respond to feedback, and enhance the business’ interests by being overall a positive influence in the workplace.

So some of the benefits of having engaged employees is easy to identify and really quite obvious. Having staff members who are prepared to work hard and who are committed to the organisation they work for is clearly an attractive proposition. Not insignificantly, from a small business’ perspective, reducing the need to deal with sporadic sickness absence alone may well be critical to a business’ success.

But exactly how important is it to have engaged employees? Is there actually a tangible link between levels of employee engagement and the financial performance of a business?

Many studies have taken place over recent years to look closely at this. And the overwhelming consensus is that there is a significant link between the levels of employee engagement within an organisation, and that organisation’s financial performance.

Having engaged employees dramatically improves a business’ financial success and productivity. On the other hand, many studies have revealed quite how devastating the impact of having a disengaged workforce can be. Put simply, a largely disengaged workforce does not just fail to produce financial benefits for an organisation; it can actually cause a decline in operating income and can adversely affect a business’ profitability.

Understandably, employers are busy. There are often too few hours in the day to complete all the tasks that need to be done. It is easy to ignore internal issues, hoping that they will go away, or improve by themselves, and it is difficult to devote precious management time into looking at human resource issues such as how engaged your staff really are.

But the reality is that investing some time into looking at these issues could yield significant rewards. For employers of any size, there is a resource at your fingertips in the form of the employees who work for your business and substantial benefits could flow from maximising the potential of those employees, and enabling them to perform to the best of their ability.

So the next time you are faced with a disgruntled member of staff, take the time to see whether a different approach could perhaps bring better results for your business. Encouraging and enabling your disengaged employees might enable you to tap into a huge resource of potential, and it is certainly worth considering.

Remember that simple things can raise levels of engagement in an organisation. There are other ways to incentivise, motivate and reward staff which are not necessarily financial. The rewards could be significant. And remember also that if performance or commitment does not improve, then employers are not powerless to deal with those issues, and should act appropriately in trying to bring about improvements with good legal advice and support.