Dispelling Employee Engagement Myths

Dispelling Engagement Myths

Dispelling Engagement Myths

Over the years, conversations with scores of HR and operating executives have convinced us that employee engagement is a huge driver of value, and worth of measuring.  But there are myths to dispel—

Myth 1:  Engagement metrics aren’t linked to financial/operational value

Despite the fact that 96% of Fortune 500 companies conduct employee surveys and 99% of HR leaders see engagement as a worthy pursuit, it’s hard to find good data on value-add.  Clearly, some results are stunning:

  • 6-7 figure increases in operating income (Best Buy®)
  • 8-figure cost savings from decreasing turnover (Sysco®)
  • a 52% gap in operating income between high- vs. low-engagement companies (professional service firms)

However, there are few studies that show a cause-and-effect connection between survey actions and financial impact.  As we continue to study long-term results with our own clients, we promise to report our findings to you.

Myth 2:  Employee engagement is too hard to change

Some employees never change, typically the 20% who are actively dis-engaged.  Many of these people are perpetually-disgruntled, pessimistic whiners.  The best way to deal with this group is to identify them and guide them out of the organization.  On the other hand, a large portion of partlydisengaged employees are caught in limbo, temporarily alienated by poor supervision or organizational practices.  They are desperate for information, resources, or a skilled leader.  Sometimes it takes very little to unleash the engagement that is already in them.  For instance, we have found that if we identify low-skill supervisors and provide them with intense training/coaching, their staffs show amazing increases in performance and retention.

Myth 3:  It’s too hard to follow up on surveys, so why bother?

The sad truth is that most survey results are shoved in a desk drawer.  Indeed, follow-up is hard.  It can also be scary, for instance if an HR Director is expected to singlehandedly drive more accountability into an organization.  On the positive side, if the top leader and senior team are truly committed to creating fundamental change, then follow-up is straightforward.  An example of a simplified plan with guaranteed ROI:

  1. Coach the senior team to understand the data and an action plan
  2. Communicate general results to the whole workforce, giving them a notch more candor than they expect
  3. Select three high-priority problem pockets to fix
  4. Publicly celebrate three pockets of excellence

“Employee engagement first. It goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”           —Jack Welch, Former CEO, General Electric

If you would like to know more about improving employee engagement at your company, please call a senior consultant with Ember Carriers at (513) 984-9333 for a complimentary consultation to discuss your company’s needs.

Web: www.embercarriers.com|Twitter: www.twitter.com/embercarriers|LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/mhladio

Source: Neil Witmer, Pinpoint Performance Blog, Witmer & Associates

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