Why Bother with Employee Engagement?

Why should you bother with employee engagement – especially now when so many other concerns fill your plate? In this Forbes article, Douglas Conant, CEO of Campbell Soup put it simply and well:
“I saw that of all the measurable elements related to culture building, engagement correlates closest to shareholder returns. We can use engagement as a tool to measure our progress in building a high-performance culture and to set higher standards for our leaders. To win in the marketplace, we believe you must first win in the workplace. I'm obsessed with keeping employee engagement front and center and keeping up energy around it."
Conant’s approach is in line with Towers Perrin’s as outlined in Closing the Engagement Gap as well as the results we’ve seen with our own customers -- frequent, timely, personal and (importantly) accountable recognition and appreciation of employee efforts leads to improved market and financial performance.

As Conant continues:
“I understood that Campbell as an organization needed to demonstrate its commitment to its people before they could be expected to demonstrate their own extraordinary commitment to it and its success. Learning to celebrate success is a key component of learning how to win in the market. On a personal level, I send out about 20 thank-you notes a day to staffers, on all levels.”
Conant reflects what many are anticipating from the MacLeod review of employee engagement, due out anytime now. As Greg Aitken, head of human capital strategy at the Royal Bank of Scotland, said in anticipation of this study:
“If an organisation wants to come out of the recession and attract the best staff, then employee engagement has to be a factor they focus on. It’s a strategic imperative. Employee engagement directly affects customer service, financial performance and the future well-being of the organisation.”
Are you on board with the financial and organizational benefits of employee engagement? Is engagement a strategic initiative in your organization, relegated to an annual employee survey with no measurable actions, or ignored entirely? In any of those scenarios, what do you think the impact is on employee morale, productivity and behavior?

1 comment(s):

At July 19, 2009 7:13 AM, Richard Parkes Cordock said...

The MacLeod report is now out, and one comment from it sticks in my mind, which talks about employee engagement surveys. The comment is this: “No one ever got a pig fat by weighing it”.

Employee engagement surveys are clearly an important part of the overall process of getting employees more engaged, especially at the beginning, but real engagement comes from actually engaging with your employees and managers.

Employee engagement is the holy grail in business, when you can truly get your employees and managers to love their work, believe in their company, and put the needs of their prospects and customers at the forefront of their thoughts, then you will start to see a direct improvement on your revenue and profits.

But, to get that level of engagement requires leadership and management to 'take the time to engage' with employees. Engagement is a two-way connection, just as it is in a marriage between man and wife. When companies take the time to engage with their staff, the rewards which flow to them will be at a level they have never before seen.