Making Employee Engagement a Priority
Every business owner knows that building and maintaining a great team is an important part of a successful business. The value of retaining well-trained, committed employees who are invested in their jobs and the company cannot be overstated.
“Employee engagement should be a priority for business owners,” says Adriane Harrison, Director of Human Relations for Printing Industries of America (Booth 3802). “The cost of disengagement can be very high.”
Measuring the benefit of engagement and harm of disengagement can be difficult. Gallup has calculated the annual cost of disengagement in the U.S. at $450–550 billion, primarily resulting from lost productivity such as inefficiency, increased employee sick time, costly mistakes, and a higher probability of separation. The financial impact of employee engagement becomes evident, even if companies cannot assign hard numbers to these metrics. Engaged workers have at least doubled the odds of having success in their jobs. Yet, according to Gallup, only 33% of workers are engaged. At the other end of the spectrum, 51% report being “simply disengaged,” while 16% are “actively disengaged.” Actively disengaged workers pull down morale for everyone.
How to engage employees has been analyzed for the better part of 15 years. Taking the data and analyzing it through the lenses of psychology, workplace experience, and common sense distills it to three main elements of engagement: Mission, Relationships, and Impact.
Several concepts underlie all three of those elements. Foremost among these concepts is communication, which builds the critical concept to fostering relationships between employees, managers, and their peers. It provides the unifying bond between management and employees. Communication is the most important element underlying the employees’ sense that they have an impact with the company. Whenever possible, give employees a voice by requesting and adopting suggestions. This lets employees know their importance. In addition, communication will link the employees’ impact to the mission of the company by identifying each person’s role in upholding and venerating it.