Employee engagement is now the number one greatest issue businesses are faced with today. The world has an employee engagement crisis, with serious and potentially lasting repercussions for the global economy.

Though companies and leaders worldwide recognise the advantages of engaging employees – and many have instituted surveys to measure engagement – employee engagement has barely budged in well over a decade.

Gallup has been tracking employee engagement in the U.S. since 2000. Though there have been some slight ebbs and flows, less than one-third of U.S employees have been engaged in their jobs and workplaces during these 15 years. According to Gallup Daily Tracking, 32% of employees in the U.S. are engaged – meaning they are involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace. Worldwide, only 13% are engaged.

Gallup’s WorldPoll 2016 Survey is even more alarming as it reveals that the percentage of UK employees feeling engaged at work has plummeted to just 8%, down from 17% in 2012. In other words, about one in 12 British employees are highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplaces. These employees psychologically “own” their work, helping move their organisations forward by driving performance and innovation. The bulk of employees in the U.K. –73% — are classified as “not engaged,” meaning they are psychologically unattached and putting little energy or passion into their work. The remaining 19% are “actively disengaged,” resentful that their workplace needs aren’t being met and likely to be acting out their unhappiness on the job.

There’s little doubt that the lack of intrinsic motivation signalled by low engagement scores affects labor productivity. Gallup researchers regularly conduct a “meta-analysis” of recent workplace studies to estimate the relationship between employee engagement and other conventional indicators of business health. The 2016 meta-analysis, which included more than 82,000 business units in 73 countries across 49 industries, found that units in the top one-fourth of engagement scores were 17% more productive and 21% more profitable than those in the bottom one-fourth.

Engaged employees help produce favourable business outcomes in many ways, including though higher retention rates, lower absenteeism and more positive relationships with customers and coworkers. They are more productive largely because they feel valued and well-supported by their organisations — particularly by their immediate managers — and their work aligns with their natural abilities and personal developmental goals.

On average, a fully engaged workforce has:

  • 22% higher profitability
  • 21% higher productivity
  • 10% higher customer engagement
  • Up to 65% lower staff turnover
  • 37% lower absenteeism

Great leaders realise that the key to improving engagement is to create an inspiring culture, share an inspiring vision and empower team members to contribute positively to the business. When employees feel listened to and valued and also share a passion for the business purpose then incredible things are possible. In my experience team members don’t thrive and contribute their best in a dictatorial environment. They need to feel ownership and take responsibility for their operations – and this is only possible when clear expectations are set and they are held accountable for their actions.

Great leaders understand the importance of consultation and coaching to get employees on board, whilst also acknowledging that they too must walk the talk. If you want your employees to be more engaged as a leader you need to be authentic, transparent and vulnerable. You need to go out of your way to build relationships with others and reward performance. At Engage and Grow we help companies activate 12 engagement keys to make this happen, and the results are typically increases in employee engagement levels of between 250-350% depending on the type and size of the business.

Wouldn’t you like that for your business? If so join me on Weds 22nd November when I will be hosting a free webinar on How To Make Every Team Member A Profit Centre For Your Business. It will radically change your views on the power of engagement and how creating a great business culture is imperative if you are to boost productivity and profitability.

Julia Felton (aka The Business Wrangler) is a thought leader, author, international speaker, business strategist and Horse Assisted Educator. She works with ambitious, forward thinking business leaders who want to challenge the status quo and grow their business to the next level through developing skills that enable them to lead on-the-hoof, in todays uncertain environment.

As the Chief Experience Officer at Business HorsePower, she helps business leaders wrangle (round-up) all their business resources – plans, people, processes and personal leadership – so everything becomes aligned in its own business ecosystem. The results are leaders that have impact and influence and businesses which are purpose-driven, productive and profitable.

Julia’s innovative programmes are inspired by nature and her herd of horses, where no time or energy is wasted. Everything works in perfect harmony as an ecosystem. However, as Julia experienced during her 20 plus years of leading global teams and building a multi-million dollar business unit, this is rarely the norm.

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