Is Employee Engagement the Key to Business Success?
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because prioritizing employees benefits entire organizations.
By Poornima Apte
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Empowering employees breeds much more than positive sentiment. According to Gallup’s 2018 State of the Global Workforce report:
A highly engaged workforce leads to 17 percent higher productivity and 21 percent higher profitability.
And the benefits don’t stop there. The same report also found that organizations with a highly engaged workforce experience between 24 percent and 59 percent lower turnover. Put simply, creating a better work environment improves employee performance.
By offering employees avenues for greater engagement, companies foster both employee satisfaction and organizational success. These can be small changes, like nurturing positive workplace relationships, or larger efforts that help employees grow both personally and professionally.
JPMorgan Chase’s Leadership Edge program, for example, provides continuous learning and professional development opportunities for managers across the company to help them become stronger, more impactful leaders. The initiative arms managers with the tools they need to lead best-in-class teams, develop talent and enhance employee engagement, as well as achieve their individual career goals. In fact, a recent study on the impact of Leadership Edge demonstrated that program participants are better at coaching, providing feedback and creating an inclusive environment.
But taking an employee-first approach doesn’t mean focusing exclusively on management training programs. Companies can also engage employees by providing easy-to-implement employee benefits, such as encouraging new hires to test-drive a variety of departments or offering telecommuting options. It’s about building a foundation of trust — and a supportive culture from the top down — that leads to higher levels of employee satisfaction.
Just look at Ruby Receptionists, a virtual phone-answering company that was recently named one of the best small workplaces by Inc. Magazine and has nearly doubled in size in less than one year. Key to this impressive growth was the prioritization of the company’s employees, which includes offering benefits like five-week paid sabbaticals. These periods of paid leave have been linked to long-lasting stress relief and an increase in overall well-being by Tel Aviv University and City University of New York researchers.
Companies of all sizes are following suit. In fact, several multinationals are making headlines for incorporating considerable employee benefits. Netflix, for example, offers unlimited paid time off so employees can focus on output rather than hours clocked. Additionally, Google invests in its employees both personally and professionally, highlighting reimbursable activities such as coding courses and guitar lessons on its internal career page. Such incentives boost employee engagement and loyalty in the short term, while helping improve profitability and efficiency in the long term.
The global workforce of the 21st century demands a new paradigm where employees feel valued and supported. And an employee-driven culture provides opportunities for engagement that lead to a deeper commitment and desire for success — a win-win for employees and employers alike.
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- Poornima Apte, OZY Author Contact Poornima Apte