Employee engagement - A compelling proposition for business

Engaged employees are those who are fully 'present' in the performance of their work roles. That is to say that they actively utilise their full cognitive, emotional, and physical capabilities in the execution of their work and their work role. Not surprisingly, leadership efforts to build highly engaged work teams provide enormous opportunity for improvements in business performance improvement as well as benefitting the well-being of employees. There are compelling reasons make employee engagement a workplace priority.  

Quick Poll

At work I feel able to channel my energy and talent into the things that are going to make the biggest difference to the success of the organisation.
Every day
Most days
Some days
Never !!

Reason #1 - High correlation between employee engagement and business performance

With a strong correlation between employee engagement levels and business performance, the difference between highly engaged workplaces and disengaged workplaces is very large. Research published by Towers Perrin - ISR (2008) showed that on average there was a 19% rise in operating income over a 12 month period for companies with a 'highly engaged' workforce, compared with an average fall in operating income of 33% for companies with low engagement scores. Research published by Kenexa Research Institute, similarly showed that organisations with highly engaged employees achieve twice the annual net income of organisations whose employees lag behind on engagement. A further study as part of the same research, showed that organisations with highly engaged employees achieve seven times greater Total Shareholder Return (TSR) over a 5-year span than organisations whose employees are less engaged. Other major researchers working in this area report similar findings. Employee engagement impacts all aspects of organisational performance, whether it is productivity, creativity, problem solving, quality, or customer experience related.  

Reason #2 - Enormous potential for improvement

Enormous potential for improvement exists given the dismal level of engagement in most organisations. On average, around 24% of employees are disengaged, with around 35-40% are in the ambivalent zone. Imagine the positive impact on business results and workplace culture if something could be done to fully engage even just 1/3 of a company's ambivalent employees.

Reason #3 - High engagement levels are sustainable, self-sustaining and healthier

Kahn's 1990 research into engagement found that engaged employees immersed in their roles tend to work tirelessly - almost unaware of the effort (similar to the notion of flow). A highly engaged workplace is also a healthier workplace as well. Maslach, Schaufeli and Leiter in their well respected research on job burnout, defined employee engagement as the antipodes of burnout. The positive correlation between employee engagement levels and employee well-being is also evident in much of the research undertaken in recent years on the subject of employee engagement. 


"Organisations that have high levels of employee engagement out perform those who don't by a country mile.  Dismal levels of employee engagement on average, provide enormous opportunity for business performance improvement as well as enhancing the quality of work life and well-being of employees. If you are interested in performance or in quality of work-life you really need to look at employee engagement."

Scott Constantine - Organisational Development Consultant - Insight, Change & Performance


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