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The Business Case for Employee Engagement

Posted by Bator, David at Friday, 03/23/2012 11:00 am
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I wrote an article recently about the difference between employee satisfaction and engagement and by extension, the difference between assessing employee engagement and addressing it. It’s inspired some interesting conversation in various communities on LinkedIn.

One participant wondered aloud whether we’ve done a good enough job of making a business case for engagement? It’s a great question and the short answer is no.

Employee Engagement By The Numbers

One of the reasons executives don’t pay enough attention to engagement as a subject is that the industry statistics – that 66% of employees are disengaged or that 60% are actively looking for work – are shades of grey, immaterial to the work they do.

Keith Ayers has a different spin on the “math”. He notes that while a disengaged employee may be giving only 50% effort, we still pay them 100% of their salary. This means that a significant portion of our payroll is pure cost.

If the average salary of an employee in a 500 person organization is $50,000 then the annual cost of disengagement is over $8 million and $34,200 a day. Do I have your attention?

Opportunity Knocks

Instead of dwelling on the doom and gloom, I want you to think of another cost: opportunity. What would your world look like if instead of just studying your employees through your annual survey, you spent the time to actually engage them in conversation about what they care about? What if you involved them in decisions that affect their life at work and the welfare of the company at large? What if you empowered them to connect with each other, recognize one another for great work and truly collaborate? What could those sorts of employees do?

If you’d like a peek at how some of our customers have walked this walk, Let’s Talk.