Employee engagement has been the hot topic among HR professionals for the last 12 months and its importance should not be underestimated. But what exactly is employee engagement? Some people believe it to mean employees being happy at work, however there is far more to it than that.
Many employees appear happy in their job role, showing up each day without fail and never making a fuss, but are they willing to go that extra mile for the company? A truly engaged employee has an emotional commitment to their job, is passionate about their work and really cares about company success. These are the people that will often go above and beyond their daily duties, stay late of their own accord to meet deadlines and are less likely to take a day off sick.
Why is employee engagement important?
Engaged employees are up to 21% more productive than those who are less engaged.
There are numerous benefits to having an engaged workforce, despite this, according to research almost three quarters (73%) of UK workers feel ‘disengaged’ 1. Not only does it create a happier and more pleasant working environment for your employees, but there are also several advantages for your organisation.
In no particular order, here are our top five benefits of having engaged employees:
1. Higher staff retention rates
Retaining your top employees is a key objective for any successful business. After going through all the effort of unearthing the best talent, you want to make sure you don’t lose them to a competitor. Engaged employees feel a greater sense of loyalty and are 87% less likely to leave an organisation than their disengaged counterparts.
There is also a financial benefit to reducing your staff turnover. When an employee leaves your company, studies have shown that it can cost up to 33% of their annual salary to replace them, not to mention the loss in productivity while new staff undergo training and get up to speed with their new role.
2. Less absenteeism
Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust saw sickness absence decrease by 12.3%, generating savings of £510k.
Engaged employees are passionate about their job and are more committed to seeing the company succeed, therefore, they are less likely to take days off sick or turn up late. In fact, a case study showed that following the introduction of their engagement and benefits programme in 2016, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust saw sickness absence decrease by 12.3%, reducing the Trust’s cost of sickness from £9.08m to £8.57m, , generating additional savings of £510k.
3. Improved productivity
Reports show that an engaged workforce is a more productive workforce. In fact, according to a poll by Gallup, engaged employees are up to 21% more productive than those who are less engaged. They work harder and do more than expected because they love what they do and when an employee is enthusiastic about their job, they’re more likely to want to do it well.
4. More profitable
With increased productivity, comes increased profits – well in theory anyway. Engaged employees are more efficient and more committed to ensuring the success of the business, and when your workforce is working to the best of its ability then the results will show. The quality of work produced increases, which leads to happier customers and then hopefully more referrals. It’s a simple cycle, but one that is often overlooked.
5. Promotes company culture
And last but by no means least – having an engaged workforce also encourages a better company culture. People who are engaged in what they do are not only easier to work with, but they actively promote the company values on a day-to-day basis. This not only makes the workplace a more pleasant environment but is also a great attraction when recruiting for new talent. We all know, word of mouth is great way to advertise your business and who better to promote this than your current employees.
So how can you improve employee engagement? There are many ways to increase engagement levels within your organisation – they can be as simple as acknowledging when an employee has done a great job, to introducing or enhancing a company-wide rewards and benefits programme.
Offering a technology scheme for your employees not only provides an opportunity for them to the latest consumer electronics that they may otherwise not have been able to afford, but also allows them to improve their digital skills and access online courses to help their career progression.